How to change Lightroom’s default processing

The default processing for camera RAW files in Lightroom is a reasonable start but quite often you find yourself making the same adjustments time and time again for specific cameras.

I get that particularly with my Fujifilm X30. It’s a few years old now and has a pretty small sensor that’s prone to noise, but it’s perfect for travel and I like the way it renders scenes.

However, Lightroom’s default colour profile looks pretty flat compared to the film simulation profiles you can use instead, and it needs a bit of noise reduction and sharpening to overcome the limitations of that small sensor.

It wouldn’t take long to make a custom preset for this camera, but it’s quicker and more foolproof to change the default settings in Lightroom (I’m using Lightroom Classic here) so that these settings are applied automatically each time a raw file from that camera is imported and opened for the first time.

Read more: Lightroom CC vs Lightroom Classic CC

Sounds good? Well here’s how it’s done (you can click on these screenshots to see a larger version):

01 So here’s my ‘start’ image. The colours are OK but not great and if I zoom right in I can see that even at low ISO settings the fine detail has a granular look.

02 The first thing I want to do is attend to this noise. Balancing noise, smoothing and fine detail is a delicate art and it takes me a few minutes to find a good compromise for this camera.

03 Next, I want Lightroom to apply its Camera ASTIA/Soft profile automatically, which is a good match for the ASTIA film simulation style offered in-camera by Fujifilm.

04 Finally, I use the Develop > Set Default Settings option to make the adjustments the new default. The key point here is that these settings are only for that specific camera model – very useful!

There are a few things to note here:

  1. Make sure you apply ONLY those adjustments you need before you save the new defaults; otherwise you might get image-specific exposure, colour and white balance adjustments being included.
  2. Don’t worry if you make a mistake or change your mind – you can simply re-save new default settings over the previous ones, or even revert back to the Adobe defaults.
  3. Changing the default processing settings won’t modify images already open in Lightroom with the ‘old’ defaults. If you want to apply your new settings to these, just open them in Develop mode and hit the Reset button.

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