Change Lightroom's Default Develop Settings

Last week we talked about using the Camera Profile settings to get your Lightroom Classic CC preview images to match the image you saw on the back of your camera. It’s not a long process but wouldn’t you like to make that setting the default when you import images?

You can. In fact, you can make a wide variety of Develop setting the default for any imported images. Just make sure that the adjustments that you set as defaults are something that you want to apply to ALL images.

Setting Defaults

In the Develop Module, select a RAW file and make any adjustments you would like to apply to ALL imported images. (Note: This doesn’t change images that have already been imported - it only changes those to be imported in the future.) Consider these settings…

  • Camera Profile: In the Basic Panel, select a camera specific profile - something that will better match your picture styles/picture control settings in your camera.

  • You may want to set Lens Corrections. If you Enable Profile Corrections, Lightroom will make corrections appropriate for the lens used on each images.

  • Be cautious setting any other adjustments as a default.

Once you have made your “default” adjustments, go to Develop > Set Default Settings… menu option.

To set the defaults, click on Update to Current Settings. Once that’s done, those defaults will be used for all RAW files created by the specified camera model. That’s right, the default settings are specific for a particular camera model. Makes sense since settings like the Profile are really dependent upon camera models.

But Wait, There’s More

What if you have two Canon EOS 5D Mark IV cameras? And, what if you use different settings on each of them? No problem, You can make your default settings unique for a particular camera serial number.

Go to Lightroom Preferences > Presets. In the Default Develop Settings box, check Make defaults specific to camera serial number. That will change the default settings dialog box, adding the cameras’ serial number.

Now when you Update to Current Settings you are making defaults for one specific camera.

But Wait, There’s Even More

Yeah, you guessed it. In the Preferences panel you can also check to make develop settings specific to a specific ISO set on the camera.

Now when you click on Update to Current Settings, you create default settings for one specific camera AND one specific ISO. But why?

On higher ISO settings, photographers will often make adjustments in the Detail panel to try and control noise in images shot at higher ISO settings. This is great for me when I shoot First Communion kids. I’ll have a set of images shot under studio lighting conditions at ISO 100. Then for photographs captured during the Mass, because of the lighting conditions, I shoot at ISO 1600. When they are imported into Lightroom, I have two defaults, one for my 5D Mark IV (serial number) and one for the same camera but at ISO 1600. The later has a slight adjustment for noise.

Icing On The Cake

Setting defaults in Lightroom can really speed up your workflow. And here are a few tips to get the most out of Lightroom Defaults.

  • When in the Develop Module, if you press Option (Mac) or ALT (Win), you will toggle the Reset button to Set Default. It opens the same dialog as above.

  • Don’t forget you can have different settings for different camera models, serial numbers and/or ISO setting.

  • Consider what processing you are doing on each image as a default. Some develop settings can really slow down the import process. For example, applying lens correction to every image can slow your import considerably.