Set Custom Camera Defaults in Lightroom - Digital Darkroom Academy

Set Custom Camera Defaults in Lightroom

There are certain settings that I apply to my photographs all the time. They are something that get applied to literally every single one of my photos. And I hate that on every photo, I have to go to that setting, make the adjustment and then move on to the rest of my work. I would love to just tell Lightroom, “Hey Lightroom, can you apply that setting to every photo I bring in?”. Well, guess what? There is a way to do exactly that by using the camera defaults in Lightroom. In fact, you can refine that even further. Let me just show you how that can be done in this video below. Or if you prefer reading, you can continue below the video.

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What we are trying to do here is change the default settings for the photos that come in. When you bring your photos into Lightroom, if you haven’t changed anything, they get the Adobe Defaults applied to them, which is pretty much having all the settings on their zero mark. What you can do is change that.

You can apply certain settings and then make those the default. So, for example, let’s say you’re someone who only shoots at high ISOs and your photographs get a lot of noise. You would need to apply Noise Reduction to every single photo you bring in. You can set that to be the Default settings for every photo you bring in. That way, every time you import a photograph into Lightroom, by default, it will have Noise Reduction applied to it. You won’t have to manually do it for every photo.

Presets vs. Defaults

You could do something similar with Presets and have them apply at import instead of changing the defaults. But there are a couple of advantages defaults have over presets.

  • Every time you press the Reset button, the default settings will still stay. Whereas, in the case of a preset, they will return back to Adobe Defaults.
  • You can set the defaults for specific camera models and ISOs, so they will only get applied if that criteria is met. So, in one import, the Defaults may apply to only a few photos that meet the criteria. The Presets, on the other hand, will get applied to every photo being imported.

Setting Custom Camera Defaults in Lightroom

So, let’s take a look at how we can set up custom camera defaults in Lightroom. The setting that I use all the time is enabling Profile Corrections in the Lens Correction panel. I apply this setting to every single photo. So, I can set it up to be a default setting for all the photos I bring in. That way, every time a photo comes into Lightroom, by default, it will have Profile Correction applied to it.

In order for me to set up custom defaults, I would make sure to be on a photograph that doesn’t have any other adjustments applied to it; and then I’ll apply just this particular adjustment of Profile Corrections to it. This is something that I want to make the default, you could make an entirely different adjustment and make that your default.

Camera Defaults in Lightroom
Choose the settings in the Develop module panels, that you want to make the default settings.

I want to make these settings the default. How do I do that? If I press the Alt key on a PC, or Option key on a Mac. You’ll notice that as I do that, the Reset button at the bottom changes to Set Default…

setting Camera Defaults in Lightroom
Pressing the Alt or Option key will change the Reset button to Set Default

When I click on that, it’ll show me a dialog box asking for confirmation. Now, what this really is saying is that every time a photo is imported from this particular camera model, the Nikon D610, these settings (Profile Corrections) will get applied to it automatically.

setting Camera Defaults in Lightroom
If you click on Update Current Settings, whatever adjustments you have made in the Develop module will become the new Default settings for every photo you bring in.

Now, you can go and make this even more specific.

Right now, Lightroom is setting the defaults for the camera model Nikon D610. You can make it specific to a particular Nikon D610. So, only when photos are imported from that D610, only then will the settings get applied. On any other Nikon D610, they won’t.  You can also make it specific to ISO. So, only if photographs have a certain ISO, only then those default settings are activated; otherwise, you’ll be using the Adobe defaults.




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Let me show you how that can be done. I’ll go to Edit and then Preferences. That’ll be Lightroom > Preferences on a Mac. I’ll go into the Presets tab, and over there are two checkboxes right on top. Make defaults specific to camera serial number and Make defaults specific to camera ISO settings. So, let me just switch these on… and then press OK on the Preferences.

setting custom Camera Defaults in Lightroom

Now, I’ll press the Alt key to change that button to Set Default…, click on that, the confirmation message is telling me something different. It’s telling me that ONLY when your camera’s model is Nikon D610, the serial number is this and ISO is 100, ONLY then these settings will get applied. Only then will these settings be the default. If it’s a different Nikon D610 with a different serial number, they won’t. If the ISO of the photo is different, then it won’t.

Camera Defaults in Lightroom
You can make the defaults specific to the camera and the ISO.

That’s how you can set custom camera defaults in Lightroom for your photographs and I am pretty sure that if you have any specific settings that you apply to all your photos, this will speed things up for you. You don’t have to manually go to every photo and apply them.


Shajee Aijazi

Shajee Aijazi is the founder of Digital Darkroom Academy. He helps people speed up their post-processing workflow and organize their photos in a way that they don't have to waste time managing it and they can focus on creating great looking images.

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