What is Lightroom doing to my photos and how do I make it stop?

I shoot raw images with an EOS50D. I load them off the card using Lightroom 2.0. Then I start paging through them. The first time I see a photo it’s a plausible, nice neutral tone. Then Lightroom thinks for a few seconds while displaying the message “Loading…”, adjusts something, and the whole photo is suddenly a lot redder than it should be.

How do I tell Lightroom not to do this? Whatever it’s doing, it’s screwing with the proper color balance of the photos. The photos seem clearly better before Lightroom mucks with them. I can usually get back to some semblance of what the photo should be by adjusting tone and temperature and such in the Develop mode; but why should I have to? The photos started out fine until Lightroom mangled them. Any ideas?

5 Responses to “What is Lightroom doing to my photos and how do I make it stop?”

  1. Paul McGavin Says:

    This is well documented on dpreview.com and other photography forums. I assume you are shooting in raw format

    Raw files include a jpeg preview which reflects your in-camera settings. When Lightroom first imports your raw files, it uses this jpeg preview until it can read the raw data and replace it with a preview based on the raw data. The problem is that this second preview is not based on your in-camera settings, but on whatever defaults you have set for Lightroom.

    You have three options to get better results:

    1. Once you learn your camera well and the right settings for your shooting conditions, you could just shoot jpeg and use Lightroom for cropping and minor tonal settings. The jpeg you start with will reflect your in-camera settings.

    2. You can download camera-specific presets for Lightroom that approximate your in-camera settings so your starting point from raw files will be much closer to the jpeg preview you first see.

    3. You can use the free raw converter from Canon (DPP, I believe) to process your raw files. This will respect your in-camera settings.

    Hope that helps

  2. Aapje Says:

    ” Try applying the develop setting ‘zereod’. ” is what they say here:


  3. Elliotte Rusty Harold Says:

    I agree that the issue is likely that I prefer the JPEG color balance to the “developing” performed by the raw conversion. Thus the next question is how to get Lightroom to match the JPEG corrections when developing the raw files. According to the Adobe FAQ, “the CM profiles are NOT expected to match the embedded in-camera JPEG, especially if you have established custom in-camera settings.”

  4. Paul McGavin Says:

    Following up. From the Adobe FAQ you cited . . .

    “In general, there are 5 CM profiles per Canon DSLR, one for each of the default Canon Picture Styles. These five Picture Styles are called Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, and Faithful. The CM profiles will match the Canon Picture Styles with all Canon sliders (i.e., Contrast, Color Balance, and Saturation) set to their default values of 0.”

    1. Take note of your current Canon Picture Style, including any customizations you may have made
    Shoot a well-known subject, lit well in RAW + JPEG mode.
    3. Import both the RAW file and the JPEG file into Lightroom.
    ZSelect one of these Picture styles

  5. Paul McGavin Says:

    Ooops. My Toddler pushed the post button before I was finished . . .

    4. Apply one of the Picture Styles to the Raw file
    5. Use Lightroom’s Develop Module’s sliders to make the Raw file look like the JPEG file
    6. Save these custom settings as a preset.
    7. Apply this preset to all other similar photos.
    8. Lather, rinse and repeat by selecting other profiles as a starting point for Landscapes, Cityscapes, etc.

    That should get you going.

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