Adobe released simultaneous updates this week for Lightroom CC (desktop and mobile) and Lightroom Classic, with a number of new features and enhancements. The biggest feature is an expanded set of profiles for rendering raw files with camera-specific styles and artistic effects.
At their simplest, profiles are the initial transformation of tone and color characteristics to a raw image (before editing), and Adobe historically has applied a default profile (Adobe Standard) to every raw image processed in Lightroom. If people knew about profiles—which was rare—it was most often to apply a camera-specific profile to a photo inside Lightroom. These additional profiles would correspond to the image settings you would find in your camera; my Sony A7RII, for example, has built-in profiles, with names like Deep, Clear, Portrait, Landscape, and I could apply those profiles either in-camera or in Lightroom Classic. Adobe would add those profiles to Lightroom as part of regular Camera Raw updates, and those profiles were tied to the camera used to take the photo.
Profiles have been around for some time, buried at the bottom of the Lightroom Develop panel, in the Camera Calibration pane. With this latest release (Version 7.3 for Classic users, Version 1.3 for Lightroom CC users), Adobe has moved the profiles to the top of the Develop panel, added a new set of Adobe Raw and Creative profiles, and implemented a new interface for accessing them. You can also create custom profiles (you can download the SDK here, but be warned, this is not for the faint-hearted).
As always, there are plenty of places you can go to look into the details and specifics of the Adobe updates. Your best bets include:
- Our good friend Matt Kloskowski is pretty excited about the profile enhancements, and does a great job of demystifying profiles, talking about why he thinks they’re better than presets. His Digging Deeper FAQ is also worth reading.
- Adobe’s Julianne Kost has specific app posts (with video) about the update: for Lightroom CC Mobile, Lightroom CC, Lightroom Classic, and Adobe Camera Raw (which also gets the profiles enhancements). She includes all of the features found in the update, major and minor.
- Victoria Bampton, the Lightroom Queen, also has deep dives into the updates for both Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC users. I’d start with her Lightroom Raw & Creative Profiles post, which has all you need to know about them.
- There is a slight structural change to preset files in Lightroom Classic 7.3, and the Lightroom Killer Tips blog has a thorough explanation of what happens to existing presets when you upgrade to Version 7.3, with a couple of neat tips as well.
With these Lightroom enhancements, you’ll be seeing lots of people releasing profiles over the coming months. Matt has some free profiles for download on his site via the links above, as well as a few for sale, and our friend Brian Matiash has a free Nature Tones profile set available on his website.