Camera Profiles in Lightroom and ACR - Changing the tonality

Started Dec 11, 2016 | Discussions thread
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Bruce McL Senior Member • Posts: 1,409
Camera Profiles in Lightroom and ACR - Changing the tonality

In this post I will explain how to change the tone curve on any Lightroom Camera Profile. These instructions are for Lightroom, but they should work with Adobe Camera Raw as well.

What you need to change the tone curve of a Camera Profile.

1. Adobe’s DNG Profile Editor app running on your Mac or Windows PC.

2. A text editor.

3. Time, patience and an organized mind.

Why would you want to do this? If you want a certain look to your landscape or cityscape photos and you don’t want to use develop presets to achieve that look.

There are three major steps involved: removing the existing tone curve from a Camera Profile, building a new tone curve in Lightroom, and adding the Lightroom tone curve to a Camera Profile.


Open DNG Profile Editor.

In Lightroom, save one of your RAW files as DNG. Quit Lightroom, and open the DNG file in DNG Profile Editor.

In the Options tab in DNG Profile Editor, give your profile a name. Save the .dcpr Recipe file using the same name. Something like “GH4 Adobe Standard No Curve” would work.

In the Color Tables tab, choose the Camera Profile that you want to modify.

In the Tone Curve tab, change the Base Tone Curve to Linear. Save the recipe again. In the File menu, choose Export Profile and export your profile name. Quit DNG Profile Editor.

Do not open the .dcpr recipe file again in DNG Profile Editor! Always make a copy first and open the copy.

Your new profile will have the same colors as the one you chose in the Color Tables tab, but will have no tone curve at all, or at least Adobe’s definition of no tone curve.

You must quit and restart Lightroom every time you add or remove a Camera Profile, or Lightroom will not see the change.


Continuing in Lightroom, open an image and select your new Camera Profile. Make sure all tone adjustments in the Basic section and the Tone Curve section are at zero. In the tone curve section, click the square in the lower right corner to make the region controls disappear. Select points on the graph until you have the tonality the way you want. Save that tone curve. Try the tone curve on other images, always after changing to your new Camera Profile and zeroing out any other adjustments that affect tonality. Change and save your tone curve as necessary.

When you are satisfied with your tone curve, find where Adobe stores it. The file will have a suffix of .xml. Make a copy and open the copy with your text editor.


Quit Lightroom, open DNG Profile Editor, open your DNG file in DNG Profile Editor.

In the Color Tables tab, select the new Camera Profile you made. In the Options tab, create a new name of this new, corrected profile. Something like “GH4 Adobe Standard my curve 1” would work. Save the .dcpr recipe file with the same name.

Go to the tone curve tab. Enter all of the tone curve numbers you see in text editor into the tone curve area in DNG Profile Editor. With your cursor in DNG Profile Editor, pick a point that is close to the first two numbers in the text editor. Below the graph you can manually change the numbers to match your curve. Pick a new point with the cursor, edit the numbers, and repeat until finished. Save the recipe. In the File menu, export your new Camera Profile. Quit DNG Profile editor, and do not open the new .dcpr file again.

If Lightroom is still running, quit and start again to make your new profile appear. Is the tone on your new profile perfect? Congratulations, you are finished.

If it is not, make note of changes that need to be made. Copy your most recent .dcpr file, give it a new name like, “GH4 Adobe Standard my curve 1.1” Open it in DNG Profile Editor and change the name in the Options tab! This is very important! Make changes in your tone curve, save the recipe and export the new profile. Test and repeat as necessary.



You can modify any existing profile without removing the tone curve if you want. Sometimes that is easier and more effective than starting from no curve.

If you give two profiles the same Profile Name, Lightroom will use the information in the first profile it sees, no matter which profile you select.

Adobe likes to modify the blacks when applying Camera Profiles. The blacks and shadows in your Camera Profile may not match your Lightroom tone curve, and the mismatch may not be consistent from one image to another. I go into detail on this in my next post.

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