The How and Why of Creating Custom Camera Profiles

If you process your images with an Adobe product such as Lightroom or Photoshop then you are seeing colors the way Adobe wants you to, and not as your camera sees them.  All raw file image editing with these programs start with a profile.  Adobe, by default, assigns your images the "Adobe Color" profile.  In past versions this default was "Adobe Standard." But neither of these profiles sees color the way your camera sees color.



If you create a custom color profile for your camera in a given light, then you will end up with the most accurate color and the best starting point for your image editing.

I frequently take pictures of object after I micro adjust my lenses to see how sharp they are and if I made the correct adjustments.  The image below is such an example, but in this case I am not testing the lens sharpness but I am testing the colors of the profiles. In the image on the left I am using the custom profile I created and the image on the right uses the profile Adobe assigns, Adobe Color.  Notice the intensity of the oranges, red and the blues in the images. The image on the left matches the colors of the objects I photographed, the image on the right is kind of close. When I edit my images I would much rather want to start of with accurate color instead of “close” color. I also get better shadow details when creating a custom profile, which means I don’t have to open the shadows of my images as much, therefore reducing noise in my images.


Creating custom camera profiles is easy, especially if you are working in Lightroom. But you do need some specialized equipment, either the x-Rite Passport Color Checker or the Datacolor SpyderCHECKR.

If you are interested in learning more, about the how and why of creating custom camera profiles, watch this video.


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