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Lightroom Classic Import Improvements

ISO adaptive presets

Last week, we touched on one tremendous new Lightroom tool, but the latest release of Adobe’s awesome image management and RAW processing application includes many new updates, and we want to highlight other favorites. So this week, it’s all about Lightroom Classic Import improvements made to some valuable tools: the RAW Default system and ISO Adaptive Presets.

The updated RAW Defaults options allow photographers to choose Camera Settings as a default import look in order to accurately match the look set for JPEGs in-camera. That means, for instance, if you’re shooting RAW image files but viewing them in-camera with a softened portrait profile or an extra-sharp, boosted saturation profile, those camera presets will be carried through into the Lightroom Classic import. When the image file is imported, then, the default adjustments to color, contrast and sharpness will be those established in the camera.

To set the Camera Settings as the default RAW image setting, look for the Defaults heading in the Presets palette and then choose Camera Settings, found just below the Adobe Default option atop the list.

camera settings

While the ability to carry through the in-camera image settings is a great upgrade, I’m most excited about another new import feature: ISO Adaptive Presets. Available in Lightroom Classic and Adobe Camera Raw, this will allow a photographer to create a preset that includes a variety of edit settings that are applied to images differently based on the ISO of the images being imported. In practice, this means a photographer who shoots 500 images in a session across a variety of ISOs can import with a single preset that will apply, for instance, noise reduction at various levels based on the ISO of the images captured—applying less noise reduction on the images shot at ISO 100 and more noise reduction applied to images shot at ISO 3,200.

This is great news for wedding photographers, for example, or anyone who may shoot part of the day outdoors at ISO 100 and then indoors or in the evening at a high ISO such as 6,400. No more will the photographer have to go in manually to apply greater noise reduction to the high ISO images.

While noise reduction is the obvious use for ISO Adaptive Presets, photographers who are adept at thinking outside the box are sure to find even more uses for this feature. For instance, a photographer who shoots indoors under tungsten light may prefer a different level of sharpening or saturation based on the indoor lighting scenario correlated to the higher ISO.

In each case, the edits are established based on two inputs the photographer selects. Perhaps that would be no noise reduction on an ISO 100 image and level 10 noise reduction applied to an ISO 3,200 image. When you import images that fall between the two in ISOs (200, 400, 800, and so on) Lightroom will apply the edit proportionally. Smart!

Create an ISO adaptive preset

To create an ISO Adaptive Preset, edit a group of images as normal, establishing the specific settings you would like to include in the preset. If it’s noise reduction you would like to modify based on ISO, be sure to apply one level of noise reduction to low-ISO images and another to the high-ISO frames. Then, select at least two different images with at least two different ISO settings in the Develop module, click the plus sign next to the Presets heading and choose Create Preset. This will open the New Develop Preset window where you can check and uncheck which edits should be included in the preset. Most importantly, check the box at the bottom of the window next to Create ISO Adaptive Preset. If it’s grayed out and not selectable, images with different ISOs haven’t been included in the selection.

The ability to automatically apply different edits based on ISO fluctuations in a group of images makes Lightroom even more powerful for demanding photographers in search of efficiently achieving maximum image quality.

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