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

Started Apr 19, 2014 | Discussions thread
MiraShootsNikon Contributing Member • Posts: 769
Don't fear the reaper!

toomanycanons wrote:

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!

Post processing takes what it takes, ya know?

But it certainly takes waaaaaay longer to write it out or to read this procedure than to actually do it. I had to really think about it to actually explain it--it's kind of just instinct / habit / muscle memory at this point.

 MiraShootsNikon's gear list:MiraShootsNikon's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Canon EOS 5D Mark III Nikon D750 Canon EF 35mm F1.4L USM Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM +18 more
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