Lightroom is a fantastic piece of software used by many photographers. However by default it makes Canon RAW images look different to how they appear on the camera LCD.

I recently was asked by a photographer why their pictures looked great on the camera LCD, but when the pictures were transferred to Lightroom they looked ok briefly then looked “different”.

Lightroom like other RAW image processing applications uses their own algorithm’s for processing RAW images. This is the cause of the problem, but you can get around it quite readily.

RAW images in Lightroom

When you take a picture with a Canon EOS camera in RAW the camera will still use the camera settings to process the image to generate the view on the LCD screen. This means that for many photographers the LCD shows a picture with the Canon Standard Picture Style applied. Canon’s Standard Picture Style has a bit more contrast, sharpening and saturation by design. This makes for images being more directly usable right from the camera.

When an image is imported to Lightroom the program first reads the embedded thumbnail from the RAW file – the one the camera made, then Lightroom creates it’s own version using the full RAW data. Lightroom by default uses the Adobe Standard profile, this is a bit flatter, less saturated and less sharpened. Hence the image looks different.

Help is at hand, Adobe provides several camera profiles to choose from. The Camera Standard is very similar to the Canon Standard Picture Style look.

Apply the camera standard profile as files are imported

I apply the Camera Standard Profile to my RAW photos automatically as they are imported using a Lightroom develop preset.
RAW images in Lightroom - import preset

Develop settings saved as a preset can be applied to images on import

Create a develop preset

RAW images in Lightroom - preset

Go to the develop module in Lightoom, and open the Camera Calibration panel on the lower right side. Make sure that the Process is set to to 2012 (Current) and then choose the Camera Standard profile. You will see the image change quickly on screen as the new settings take effect.

Now you click the + symbol on the top of the left hand side Presets panel – circled in red – and create a new preset. Mine is called Do me first 🙂

RAW images in Lightroom - develop preset

Make sure that only the Process Version and Calibration boxes are checked when saving the preset


So that is it… a quick simple tip to make the RAW images in Lightroom look similar to the camera LCD screen.

If you use other Picture Styles such as Landscape then the other supplied profiles are there to help you out too.