Why Adjust on Import?


Today’s Question: Why would someone want to apply adjustments during an import [into Lightroom Classic CC]? I must be missing something here because I don’t have a clue as to what adjustments that I would want to occur across the board during an import. Can you provide some examples of what adjustments you would typically use during an import?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I think the best way to think about applying adjustments during import into Lightroom Classic CC is that you’re actually just changing the default adjustment settings. For example, Lightroom does not apply profile-based lens corrections automatically, and so including this adjustment as a preset applied during import is a convenient way of establishing your preferred default adjustment settings.

More Detail: I often hear photographers talking (sometimes in heated tones) about how they don’t want to globally apply adjustments during import into Lightroom, and how they definitely don’t want to apply any automatic adjustments. My response is that these photographers should consider that Lightroom is already applying adjustments to your photos, by virtue of providing a different baseline interpretation of your raw captures than the way the camera interpreted the image.

As noted above, one of the adjustments I apply during import is the profile-based lens correction adjustment. This enables me to have the profile for the specific lens used to capture each photo used as the basis of an automatic adjustment. Note that this means the correct profile is used for each photo based on the lens used, and that no correction will be applied to photos captured with a lens for which there is no profile available.

I also tend to include an increase in the Smoothness value for color noise correction, since I find that doing so greatly improves the quality of noise reduction.

I like to apply the Auto adjustment (found in the Basic section of adjustments) as part of my import preset, in large part because I find it provide a better preview for my photos. I can then go back and refine the specific adjustment settings for those photos I am most happy with.

Some photographers may prefer to convert all images to black and white interpretations during import, or perhaps apply a basic vignette effect. A slight “S-curve” with the Tone Curve is preferred by many, and a small boost in the value of Clarity is also popular.

Admittedly, there aren’t all that many adjustments that I feel need to be applied during import in order to modify the default interpretation of photos in Lightroom. However, I do feel that there are some adjustments that are worth applying during import through the use of a preset created in the Develop module.