5 things to start processing in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

On Radozhiv, I rarely write about photo processing, but this time I still want to share five basic settings / manipulations that I do for each photoimported to Lightroom (Lightroom).

5 steps to lightroom

5 steps to lightroom

I use several versions of Lightrum that are simultaneously installed on my computer running Window OS. Different versions have slightly different functionality, or different methods for implementing the same functions. Depending on the situation, I choose the version I need. Here are screenshots based on the rather old version of Lightroom 3.7. I have all versions of Lightroom without Russification, since for me this is not important.

For a long time working with the program, I developed my own algorithm for working in Lightroom, which I use almost always. My 5 simple tips will help as much as possible only for those who shoot in RAW format and display photos in batches.

For thoughtful development of each RAW photo separately, I recommend using the original (i.e. native) software. For example, for a Nikon system, this View NX, Capture NX, View NX-i, Capture NX-D.

0 (zero point). I import RAW files.

The essence of the action: prepare the workspace for further file manipulations.

This is the zero, additional point from which work with Lightroom always begins. To start processing photos, you must first import them into the program. I use a fast and primitive upload: I just drag all the files into the Lightroom window and press the 'Import' button. I always import from a directory on my hard drive. If you import from a USB flash drive, the import process will be delayed, since the program will most likely first copy all the source files to its special directory.

Import has its own peculiarities. When photos are imported into Lightroom, you can sometimes notice how the preview picture (thumbnail) changes its color, saturation, exposure. This is due to the fact that each RAW file contains not only the original information about the image, but also many other additional data. One such data is thumbnails of photos for quick viewing. Roughly speaking, a JPEG thumbnail is embedded in the RAW file, which is used to quickly view the captured photo on the camera display. This JPEG thumbnail is based on the settings set by the camera. While importing photos into Lightroom, the program shows JPEG thumbnails ripped out of the RAW file. After trying to view the photo closer, Lightroom builds (renders) a new image directly from the original raw data using its own presets. The presets of Lightroom and JPEG thumbnails do not match, which is why the original picture changes before our eyes.

Unfortunately, it is very, very difficult to get from Lightroom an exact repetition of all camera settings. In fact, it is impossible to repeat all the camera settings. Only native software can display a RAW image on a computer in full accordance with what can be seen on the camera's display. But in order to minimize the differences between how the picture looks on the camera display and in the program window, I recommend disable all additional functions in the camerathat enhance the image. For Nikon, this is primarily about Active. D-lighting.

All improvements must be made with Lightrum.. It makes sense to use the on-camera functions to improve the image only when shooting in JPEG format, or if RAW files will be processed using native software.

After import, you can add tags, tags, correctly catalog a series of pictures, and set up the sorting of photos in the feed.

Also, you can import immediately using a specific preset, in which you can write the settings below.

After importing into Lightroom

After importing into Lightroom

1. I set the camera profile.

The essence of the action: basic setting for the most correct / beautiful rendering of the source RAW file.

The setting is located at Develop -> Camera Calibration -> Profile -> select the desired profile

In order for the image formed in Lightroom to be as similar as possible to the one displayed on the display of the camera, Lightroom needs to specify the correct profile of the camera. In short, the Camera Profile is a picture control mode that is set on the camera (neutral, saturated, monochrome, etc.).

This is the key point. The correct camera profile allows you to significantly improve the visual perception of the picture. Finding a good profile for a specific camera is very, very difficult.

Usually Lightroom has a set of basic profiles: neutral, saturated, landscape, portrait, etc. These profiles very weakly correspond to similar profiles that are set on the camera.

You can do the search for a profile for your particular camera yourself. Usually, third-party developers are involved in creating profiles. I am sure that for a large number of cameras to find a good profile will not work. In this case, you will need to select the profile that you like as much as possible.

An existing profile can be modified, namely, adjust the color shift in the shadows, offset and saturation of each of the three main channels. After that, you can create a custom preset by writing only changes related to Camera Calibration into it (when creating a preset, select only the 'Calibration' checkbox).

How to save a preset is described here. During import, you can immediately indicate the use of this preset. In the future, the profile of the camera will be applied to each photograph.

Camera profile

Camera profile

2. I set the lens profile.

The essence of the action: get rid of the imperfections of the lens.

The function is set as follows Develop -> Lens Corrections -> Profile -> Enable Profile Corrections

Everything is simple here. By choosing a lens profile, you can completely get rid of some of the lens flaws. In general this setting allows you to completely cure vignetting and distortion. Also, here are treated chromatic aberration lens. Lightroom has an extensive database of lenses, with which you can "cure" any of them.

If the lens used is not in the list, then you can manually correct these parameters, and then write the result to a preset, which can be applied to all photos.

After this setting, the distortions introduced by the lens should be leveled.

Subsequently, the lens profile will be applied to each photograph.

Lightroom. Lens profile.

Lightroom. Lens profile.

3. Optimize and expand the capabilities of the camera and lens.

The essence of the action: make the most beautiful / desired image through basic manipulations with exposure and color.

Everything is very simple here. Usually I select one key photo from a series or even from a whole shoot and adjust it according to the main parameters:

  • Increase DD - restoration of highlights and shadows (Highlight recovery, Fill light, Dark)
  • Tune colorfulness (Vibrance)
  • Saturation
  • Clarity enhancement
  • Sharpening
  • Noise reduction

The main thing here is not to overdo it... I try to make the photo “neutral-positive” so that all further manipulations are already based on the original “normal” image.

Important: the level of this or that setting strongly depends on the used camera and directly shot frames. For example, I clearly know and understand how strongly this or that slider in Lightroom affects the RAW files of my cameras, and I need to get used to the new camera and the processing of its RAW files.

In the future, these settings will be applied to each photo.

Conventional manipulations

Conventional manipulations

4. I will synchronize all the images with one key photo.

The essence of the action: bring all images under one basic look.

After all the previous manipulations, I sync all the photos with the changed settings. This is done very simply. In the 'Develop' section, all photos in the feed are selected (CTRL + A) and the 'Sync' button is pressed. In the sync menu, I click the 'Check All' button and then uncheck the 'White Balance' (White Balance), 'Crop' (Crop), 'Spot Removal' (Spot correction). The captured parameters do not need to be synchronized, as each photo has its own individual white balance, cropping and spot correction / restoration.

Synchronization is part of batch processing. At the end of it, all photos are adjusted to similar settings.

Lightrum Sync

Lightrum Sync

After this manipulation in the Lightroom tape, all the photos are more or less brought back to normal. The previous four paragraphs allow you to “bring the image to zero” - to save it from the disadvantages of the lens, camera and squeeze the capabilities of the RAW file to the limit. After carrying out these four manipulations, you can already start real fine processing and prepare the image for the final stage, which the client will see.

5. I crop all the photos.

The essence of the action: fix framing flaws - align the horizon, crop the photo with the correct location of details in the frame, cut out key parts of the photo.

Unfortunately, cropping one photo, and applying the crop to all the photos in the tape does not work. After synchronizing the basic settings I crop all photos. During the framing operation, I also selectively delete unsuccessful images from the Lightrum tape.

Important: I highly recommend cropping photos with fixed aspect ratios. The proportions of the classic frame are 3: 2. After cropping, all photos have the same aspect ratio and are no different during viewing. If this is not done, then after cropping, you can get photos-squares, strongly elongated stripes. This is not consistent with the overall style of the tape photos. In addition, during printing, with a 100% probability, parts of the frame will be cropped or filled with white space. Typically printed in standard sizes, which also correspond to 3: 2 proportions. For almost every shoot, I print photos, or mount a photo book, it is very important for me to observe the proportions after cropping. To preserve the framing proportions in Laitrum, just click on the padlock icon.

After cropping and removing unsuccessful frames, I get a “licked” set of photos in my tape, with which you can carry out further manipulations.

Crop in Lightroom while maintaining the original aspect ratio

Crop in Lightroom while maintaining the original aspect ratio

Important: i call all specified actions'Get Zero ', since these simple manipulations allow you to look at the image, devoid of basic imperfections, raw, neutral, like a blank sheet, looking at which you can already carry out further fine processing.

I believe that these manipulations can improve the quality of the original image by 30%. The remaining 60% is the finalization of the image using Adobe Photoshop (Photoshop, not Lightroom).

In my practice, it often happens that after completing just these five points, you can already get a version of the image that can satisfy both me and my clients. Most often, processing is limited to only these five points, if you do not need to retouch photos (eliminating skin imperfections, working with plastic, artistic color correction, etc.).

For me, the most difficult thing in processing is after bringing all the photos from the series / shooting into a digestible form - to choose the best ones for their fine refinement.

6. Export all photos (bonus item)

The essence of the action: get a finished result that can be viewed by any user / client on any device.

In this case, export is the process of exporting photos from RAW format to a format that is suitable for further processing or viewing. If I plan to do nothing else, I export to a pop JPEG format. If I plan to further refine the photos in Adobe Photoshop, then I use the 'TIFF' or 'DNG' format. Recently, laziness has attacked me, I do not use TIFF and I export all photos immediately to JPEG.

Eventually My photo-processing process is divided into two stages: processing in Lightroom and processing in Photoshop. Lightroom - for basic settings, recovery of "spoiled" pictures, batch processing of a tape of photos. Photoshop - for the final "finishing" photos, retouching, manipulations with layers, masks and more.


I am convinced that the photographer should have a clear plan of action, a clear concept, a well-thought-out methodology with step-by-step actions for processing photos. The developed technological process greatly accelerates and simplifies the processing and delivery of finished material to the customer.

Total. My basic processing constructed as follows: import -> set the camera profile -> set the lens profile -> expand the capabilities of the camera / lens -> synchronize the selected settings -> crop -> export... Again - this is the basic process, the basis from which my processing begins.

Thank you for attention. Arkady Shapoval.

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Comments: 121, on the topic: 5 things with which I start processing in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

  • Sergei

    First, thanks for the info Ark…. Good customers, photos, models, money ……

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Thank you :) I would have extra 20-30 hours in a day and life would have been better

  • Vladimir

    Thanks, informative. Although I do not use LR. :)

  • Paul

    Here, thank you !!! Very useful information, read with pleasure.

  • anonym

    Why increase the sharpness in lightroom, if you are going to cut further in Photoshop? For me, if you go on with Photoshop, then do the sharpness in Photoshop. Otherwise, after the first command, the "curves" all the halos will come out

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Everything is quite simple. Lightroom draws sharpness directly from the buyer. If you export to typhoid or jeepeg, then the sharpness in Photoshop stretches already from a debayerezed picture, which is worse. Also, not all photos will then be processed by Lightrum, as indicated at the beginning of the article, I use this method when I plan to batch process.
      + In LR you can achieve a balance between sharpness and noise reduction. Shumodav with RAW-files allows you to achieve more detail than the subsequent noise reduction in Photoshop from typhoid or jeep.
      Yes, and this is my technique, which I got used to and optimized it for my purposes. For other purposes, there may be other operation / processing algorithms.

  • Alexander Malyaev

    Lightroom for developing with Nikon is kind of not very good ...?
    Can someone describe the algorithm of actions for batch development in CaptureNX with export to tiff and further batch development in Lightroom? What adjustments should be made to the raw nef at the CaptureNX stage (except for distortion correction), and which are later to Lightroom?

    PS Now I'm developing in CaptureNX, I'm finishing in Photoshop - well, but for a long time. You can't do that with episodes.

  • Sergei

    Arkady, what RAW settings do you use in the camera settings - lossless or uncompressed compression? Is there a difference in post processing?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The difference is minimal. The question is covered here. https://radojuva.com.ua/2012/08/12-bit-raw-vs-14-bit-raw/

      • Sergei

        Thank you, I certainly read your article about RAW settings, I thought maybe what has changed in the digital world.

        • Arkady Shapoval

          Something will really change when they release a camera with 16-bit ditches. Theoretically, then the difference between 12 and 16 bits when drawn from shadows and lights will be visible to the naked eye.

          Clever guys somewhere once cut out 14 bits of data from 12-bit ras (filled them with zeros) and showed what was left of it. And very little remained - only faint contours and a minimum of detail. There is, of course, an advantage, but even 12 bits is quite enough for easy conversion to “primitive” 8-bit JPEG.

  • Gene jb

    A lot of interesting things, but ... Lightroom, for example, seems to me to process images worse than DPP. In particular, this applies to noise. In lightroom, it is standard, as in all programs, but in DPP it actually removes it.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      DPP is praised by many. But does DPP seem to be just for Canon CR / cr2?

      • Michael

        Namely, only for Canon. Nice program.

  • Michael

    I have a similar algorithm of actions, however, I do it all in Photoshop - Lightroom wildly slows down on the tablet. They still have the same camera raw. After processing in Camera RAW, I immediately batch convert all photos to JPEG with noise suppression and sharpening in Photoshop using Action. Then I just look at the photos on the big screen and mark those that require individual refinement and bring them up.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      By the way, yes, who did not know, ACR and Adobe Lightroom use the same engine (process) of debayerization. Although, in Lightroom, it seems, the engine can be selected manually.

  • Edward

    Arkady, thanks for the review.
    Special thanks for the explanation with the preview.
    When I just started studying LightRoom, I just can’t understand why it first shows a beautiful, rich picture, and then turns it into gray and dull something.
    What was amazing - FastStone immediately showed a bright picture.

    Then I loaded the camera profiles, it became easier.
    I continue to master LightRoom, it was interesting to read about your processing process.

  • anonym

    If in the future I plan to modify the photos in Adobe Photoshop, then I use the format 'TIFF' or 'DNG'. Perhaps it doesn’t make sense to export to 'TIFF', 'DNG' is an extra file on a disk from Lightroom, you can directly enter Adobe Photoshop for further editing and open the file immediately in Lightroom with changed settings in TIFF format, saving space.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Yes, that’s also possible. I'm just used to the fact that after the processing stage in the Republic of Latvia I already have all the photos for further revision (after export). For example, the next day, you can immediately start picking any photo in Photoshop without starting LR. Of course, exporting takes both time and disk space.

      • Valery A.

        Please tell me, what color space should I use in the camera - sRGB or adobeRGB?

        • Arkady Shapoval

          This is a difficult philosophical question. The camera will tell you adobe is for professional processing on a computer, and srbg is multi-purpose space. If you do not know what adobe is for, then definitely put the usual sRGB. I am using sRGB.

          • Valery A.

            Thank you for the answer and informative lecture.

          • Michael

            And one more small addition: sRGB is a standard for viewing images from a browser. So if you don't want to print, it's best to store your files in sRGB.

      • anonym

        You can simply put a red or yellow label in Lightroom - which will mean for further processing in Photoshop, and apply a filter for further viewing.

  • Anatoly

    Something Radozhiva turns into a really yellow press ...

    • Arkady Shapoval

      nothing, the 'HUE' in the yellow channel needs to be shifted slightly and the yellow will not be yellow at all.

  • Oleg

    Thank you!

  • anonym

    Very interesting, for more such reviews. Thanks.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      This is an article) but I understood the hint)

  • pchel

    Generally gorgeous! All on the shelves and understandable even to fragile minds. No water and extra info clogging the beginner’s head!
    This is what I missed - the impetus to understand the _system_. Usually rules on a computer with minimal changes - sometimes adjust the contrast, horizon, tighten shadows. Sometimes it took a lot of time inaccurately, it was not clear why to start.
    A similar technique can be applied to any batch processing software. Thanks!
    I look forward to posts with examples of cases where there is a need for further edits, special cases, handling rare situations.
    Thank you!

    • pchel

      No wonder they say that the best article is an article, after which you immediately want to immediately start doing something (sawing, planing, repairing, running to the store to buy, and finally, editing all the old RAVs!)

      • Arkady Shapoval

        Well, the article is actually about very simple, primitive settings in Lightroom, with which my processing begins. I just ran into the fact that people start poking around in the LR not with the basic “alignment” of photos, but immediately go into presets and take super-acid photos with the settings “twisted” absolutely mindlessly.

        • pchel

          Keep it up! A systematic approach is the most correct one. In fact, there is not a single extra word in the article. So it should be, from scratch - and on the shelves.
          Everything, even tomorrow and to work, now I put LR to practice the methodology. Hands combed.

  • Valerii

    I Lightrum somehow not very. Here is the native ViewNX and in Photoshop, this is it! Colors work better.

    • fotika

      photoJus uses the same camera module equal. the colors when developing a ravah will be the same as in LR.
      and NX native imitates JPG immediately inside the camera, because it seems that it's better.

      • Valerii

        I agree with you and my lightroom is now updated and I like the tools in it, but somehow it did not go. Conducted an experiment, processed the image in LR and through a couple of hours the same raw image in V-NX, fully converted. As a result, I liked the latter more.

  • Peter Sh.

    I use Lightroom constantly, much more than Nikon's native software.
    Due to the specifics of shooting, you almost always have to fight against noise (not to be confused with grain), and he copes with them simply with a bang. Basically, I use a color neutralizer (or whatever it's called there) to clean up Nikon’s beloved yellow-green noise in the shadows. It is precisely in this way that the effect of felt-tip coloring does not come out at the end of the process, and grain remains. I highly recommend it.

  • Anton

    Everything is written correctly. Itself has long developed for itself such a processing algorithm. I just started doing without lightroom right away I start work with a photo shop or rather from a raw camera. Have a great shot!

    • BB

      When the expense of one photo shoot goes to thousands, then you will understand the delights of LR))

  • Alexander Malyaev

    After reading the article, I decided to check everything again (what if what has changed in three years), played the same nef-ki in DxO 10.5, Lightroom 6.5 and CaptureNX 2.4.7 (all before applying filters), and was very surprised: Lightroom turned out to be very, very close to CaptureNX, and DxO embellished it - made the image a little juicier and more contrasting, histograms confirmed. Perhaps I'll take a closer look at Lightroom again. Thank you, Arkady!

  • Dude

    All these lightrooms and photoshops are certainly good only until you know about DxO Optics Pro 10.4.0, as soon as you recognize this program and try, you won’t be interested in anything else. All these plastic faces and strange noise, color distortion, etc. With DxO Optics Pro 10.4.0, all this is in the past. For example, tinting the skin in Photoshop is so long and boring in this program, everything is simple and fast, then in the Kapchura plugged in a little and you have a beautiful face, the main texture is natural, the face seems to just get younger .Could demonstrate all this but such a size to What you can insert here will not allow you to see all the charm of reincarnation.
    Try and feel the real quality.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      One here recently told me that GIMP is our everything, and Photoshop is nothing. But the reality is that the prevalence of Photoshop, the number of lessons on it and its absolutely limitless possibilities will keep people using Photoshop for a long time. For example, can DxO Optics typeset a book? Or DxO Optics can work with layers?
      Rav-converter, such as LR or xO Optics, in principle cannot be compared with Photoshop, these are programs for different purposes. What they have in common is that they can all work with images.

  • Dude

    DxO Optics Pro 10.4.0 and all of your Photoshop are smoky aside.

    • fotika

      Photoshop program is very versatile, it is stupid to compare DX or NX kapchur. And if you get smart, then capture one pro have some fun together (if you have a cool SF).

  • Dmitriy

    Thank you!, Informatively, for the camera profiles, a special thank you.

  • Vladimir

    A really useful article for beginners, I really missed this 3 years ago, thanks

    • Lynx

      um .. have you been waiting for an article on the basics of working with lightroom for three years ??? O_O

      • Vladimir

        no, trial method and experience = good teachers

        • Lynx

          Well, it's just the very first steps in the lightroom, described in any initial manual, I'm trying to understand how I can work in it for 3 years and consider this article (for completely newcomers) useful.

          • Vladimir

            read carefully, I missed this article 3 years ago, I had to poke myself in the sliders,

            • Lynx


  • Eugene

    Arkady, thanks for the informative article that made you reconsider your amateurish approach to lightroom. Is there a similar article on photoshop planned in the future, or is it already secret information / know-how with which workshops and master classes are usually arranged?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Yes, there is no secret information. There is a whole lot of techniques for Photoshop, depending on the type of photography and the task at hand.

  • Pastor

    The article is excellent, very clearly and step by step everything is described. It will be very useful for beginners. Just super article, it should be in the top 5 articles joyful :)

  • Alexander

    I read the full article, and was pleasantly surprised that the technology developed by trial and error for 80-90% coincides with yours.
    As always, everything is written sequentially, accessible and technically competent! Thanks!

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English-version of this article https://radojuva.com/en/2016/03/5-main-lightroom-settings-yui/comment-page-1/