With your 5D3 raw files, what's your lightroom develop workflow?

Started Apr 19, 2014 | Discussions thread
toomanycanons Forum Pro • Posts: 12,417
Re: The Order that Works for Me

MiraShootsNikon wrote:

The Photo Ninja wrote:

Do you use the camera calibration tab? First, second, last? Which setting do you use?

What other tweaks do you use on the majority of images?

My basic routine: Spot / Retouch --> Exposure --> Contrast and Tone --> Color --> Sharpen / Detail.

Step-by-step, that means that on Import, I:

[1] Brush --> Clone / Heal. I do this first because cloning / healing is most responsive before you've accumulated a stack of edits the system needs to churn through to render them.

[2] Crop / Rotate.

[3] Camera Calibration --> Profile: I pick the look I want to start with, which often corresponds to the camera mode I shot with.

[4] Basic --> Exposure: I adjust to suit.

[5] Tone Curve --> Point Curve, Custom, RGB: I set the black point, adjust the white point, and create a tone curve that gives me the contrast and general tone I want. Usually I use the target adjustment tool to set and level the points.

[6] Gradient and/or Brush --> Exposure: I dodge / burn any selective areas to suit.

[7.1] Basic --> Shadows: infrequently adjust to suit (usually between 0 and +15)

[7.2] Basic --> Highlights: infrequently adjust to suit (usually between 0 and -15)

[7.3] Basic --> White Balance: adjust to suit.

(I almost never touch the contrast or the black and white sliders, mostly because I already set these points more definitively when creating my tone curve.)

[8.1] Basic --> Saturation: adjust to suit--get a baseline color level.

[8.2] Basic --> Vibrance: adjust to suit--tweak the baseline I set with Saturation.

(I almost never touch the Clarity slider. I think that what it does in either direction is gimmicky and ugly.)

[9] Tone Curve --> Point Curve, Custom, Channels: here I adjust the individual channel curves to hit the image's final color. Often I'm just setting black / white / mid levels for the red, green, blue curves to get true black, true white, etc., but for many fashion images I'll also tone / crop shadows or highlights, or create a cross-processed look, here.

[10] HSL --> Hue: any quick final color adjustments to suit.

(I almost never touch Saturation or Luminance.)

(I also almost never touch Split Toning. I tend to do my black-and-whites in NIK Silver Efex Pro.)

[11] Brush --> any detail adjustments: brightening eyes, adjusting eye color, selective sharpening of facial features and wardrobe details.

[12.1] Detail --> Sharpening, Amount: pull positive just to "cut" through any AA filter haze, not to actually add acuity.

[12.2] Detail --> Sharpening, Radius: pull to match your lens's smallest projected airy disk over your sensor's pixel grid. I.e., if your lens projected pin-point sharpness that corresponds to one-and-a-half of your sensor's pixels, your radius is 1.5. Back when I was shooting a Nikon D2Hs with massive pixels, I almost always set this below 1. Now, with the 5D3's much smaller pixels, I'm usually around 1 - 1.3.

[12.3] Detail --> Sharpening, Detail: pull to add deconvolution sharpening. Again, I'm not trying add acuity I didn't capture, just trying to maximize what the sensor got. Usually between 28 and 35.

(I don't touch Masking. I think masking your RAW pre-sharpeneing gives photographs an uneven, "choppy" texture. I also don't ever really use Noise Reduction. I'd always rather take the noise than lose the acuity.)

[13.1] Lens Corrections --> Basic: check Enable Profile Corrections and Remove Chromatic Aberration

(Sometimes I will back down the Lightroom default lens vignetting correction and keep a little of the lens's natural fall-off.)

[13.2] Lens Corrections --> Manual: correct geometry to suit, if necessary.


Holy Carp, man.  That's some list.  Enough to scare away a newbie for sure!

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