Do you use Lightroom CC or Lightroom Classic CC? I suggest you quit ignoring the update message your computer keeps showing you and update that software pronto!
Today, Adobe announced a software update that can speed up your editing process and create beautiful new looks. This update has several changes – the biggest is an expanded Camera Profiles feature. The latest version of Lightroom, for those of you keeping track, is 7.3 as of April 3, 2018.
I’ve used Camera Profiles forever and written about them as the first step you should make in any edit. Those of you who shoot Raw will understand what they are for. Have you ever noticed that when you import a Raw photo into Lightroom, it doesn’t match the photo you see on the back of your camera’s LCD?
That’s because your camera’s LCD shows you a JPG. All JPGs have a profile applied, and you can control them on your camera in the Picture Styles menu, which might be called something different on your camera. You can usually choose styles like Portrait, Landscape, Black & White, etc. These styles don’t change your shooting settings – they control how much contrast, saturation, sharpening, etc. are applied to your photo after it’s taken.
Even if you shoot Raw photos, the preview that you see on the back of your camera is a JPG with a Picture Style applied to it.
Lightroom’s profiles were meant to approximate the look of those on-camera styles so that your Raw matches the JPG appearance that you see on the back of your camera. They were also designed to ensure consistent looks between photos taken with different cameras.
Before today’s update, you could choose among Adobe Standard and the Camera Matching profiles. The Camera Matching profiles you could choose from changed depending on the camera that took the photo. Adobe Standard was supposed to be a clean slate to begin your edit on.
But with today’s update, you’ll find many different profiles to choose from, including a wide variety of clean and creative edits. Some of them are the clean state you need to begin a detailed edit, and others might be all you need for a quick filter style.
Want to know more? Keep reading to learn how to install this update and how to use the new features.
How to Update Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC
Begin by closing Lightroom, Photoshop, or Photoshop Elements, if you have them open.
Next, click on the Creative Cloud icon on your taskbar. It might have a red dot indicating that updates are available.
Click on the 3 vertical dots at the top right corner of the Creative Cloud app and select Check for updates.
After it completes, scroll down until you see Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC with Update buttons next to them. Click on the button next to each of them and let them process.
When the update is complete, you’ll see an Open button next to the program you’d like to open. Click on it to launch the software.
Lightroom Classic CC Update: The New Profile Panel
In Lightroom Classic CC, you’ll find the new Profile interface near the top of the Basic panel in the Develop module.
Before I talk about how to use these new profiles, you should know how profiles work. Unlike presets, which apply a set of memorized edits to your photo, profiles are not editable. For instance, a preset might increase contrast, saturation, and darken the highlights. You could tweak any of those settings after applying the preset.
Profiles, however, map the Raw pixels to certain colors and tones. You can’t adjust the mapping, but you can adjust the strength or opacity of the profile as a whole.
The Profile defaults to Adobe Color, as you see in the screenshot above. Click on the arrow to activate the drop-down menu, where you’ll find these choices.
Adobe created 6 new Raw profiles and describe them like this:
Adobe Color was designed to greatly improve the look and rendering of warm tones, improving the transitions between certain color ranges, and slightly increasing the starting contrast of your photos. Since Adobe Color is the new default (but only for newly imported photos), it was designed to work on the widest range of photos and ensures that regardless of the subject, your photo will look great.
Adobe Monochrome has been carefully tuned to be a great starting point for any black and white photograph, resulting in better tonal separation and contrast than photos that started off in Adobe Standard and were converted into black and white.
Adobe Portrait is optimized for all skin tones, providing more control and better reproduction of skin tones. With less contrast and saturation applied to skin tones throughout the photo, you get more control and precision for critical portraiture.
In other words, reds and oranges have less contrast and saturation in Adobe Portrait.
Adobe Landscape, as the name implies, was designed for landscape photos, with more vibrant skies and foliage tones.
Adobe Neutral provides a starting point with a very low amount of contrast, useful for photos where you want the most control or that have very difficult tonal ranges.
Adobe neutral is the cleanest of clean slates to begin your Raw edit.
Adobe Vivid provides a punchy, saturated starting point.
In some cases, pulling down the drop-down menu doesn’t show all 7 presets. Use the following technique to find them. (I assume this is a bug that will be fixed soon.)
But those new profiles aren’t the most exciting part. Click on the Browse button to see a whole new world of profiles.
You’ll see the following sections:
- Favorites: click on the star in the upper right corner of any profile to add to or remove from this Favorites Group
- Adobe Raw: this group contains Adobe’s 7 profiles that I listed above.
- Camera Matching: these are the profiles designed to match your camera’s JPG styles and change depending on the camera you use.
- Profiles: This group contains 3rd party presets that I’ve installed in the past. You might or might not have any in this section or even the section.
- Legacy: Same as Profiles.
And here’s where the creative profiles come in. The next 4 sections contain 45 different looks that you can apply to your photos. Use them as the starting place for any edit, or use them on their own for photos that need only a creative touch. You can apply these creative profiles to non-Raw photos (JPGs and TIFFs) as well as Raws.
After applying any of the profiles from the last four sections, you can adjust its strength or opacity using the Amount slider.
The cool thing about these profiles is that hovering over any of them will show a preview of how it looks on your photo.
(Screenshot courtesy of Adobe.)
You can also choose whether to display the profiles in a grid, as a list, or as large thumbnails.
After you’ve selected your profile, click the Close button at the top right-hand corner of the Profile panel. You can always go back and change your profile selection without overwriting any of your other photo edits.
Other New Features in the Lightroom Classic CC Update
The Dehaze slider reduces the appearance of atmospheric haze or fog that sometimes gets in your photos. Due to its usefulness, Adobe moved it up to the Basic panel to make it more accessible.
Lightroom also has a larger Tone Curve now. It allows for more precise edits.
In addition, Lightroom’s face detection will work more accurately now. If you’ already used the facial recognition feature, you have the option to rerun the face-detecting engine to find faces Lightroom might have missed the first time around.
What’s New in Lightroom CC?
Lightroom CC is the cloud-based version of Lightroom that runs on mobile devices in addition to computers.
You can now access these same profiles in Lightroom CC, whether you are on a computer or a mobile device. You can find them at the top of the edit panel.
I’m super excited about this new release. I see more creative edits in my future – if they are this easy, I won’t be able to resist!