Over the days leading up to the 25th of December I’d like to give something to everyone who stops by my blog. These tips cover camera settings, flash, lighting, software and gear. I’ll be providing a pair of tips each day until 25th December.

#29 – Save time with optimised default processing settings

Lightroom default settings

Adobe Lightroom is the software where I organise, catalogue and process most of my photos. I’m always looking for ways to speed up the processing, so this tip is one that I use time and again. You can set default processing settings for developing your images in Lightroom, you don’t need to stick to the Adobe defaults.

Let’s take the example above and look at the default sharpening. I have the amount at 75, radius of 1.2, detail is 25 and the masking is 65. Those are in grey as they are my custom defaults, as I think that images from the EOS 5D Mark IV stand a bit more sharpening than the standard settings.

Lightroom default settings

This shot of the rose above was taken with an EOS 200D, and it has settings; amount 25, radius 1.0, detail 25 and masking 0. The defaults are different for each camera, and it reminds me that I need to change the defaults for my EOS 200D images too… I use more sharpening, but increase the masking value to restrict the sharpening the “sharp” bit of the photos.

lightroom default settings

To make this change in defaults, you need to open an image, change the settings you need to be the “new default”, so in my case that’s sharpening. Then you go to the Develop menu, and choose Set Default Settings.

Lightroom default settings

You then get the dialog box above, to let you confirm that these will be the new defaults for this camera. So if you use this and change your camera, you need to redo it. You can also reset the stored settings back to Adobe defaults this way too.

Lightroom’s preferences lets you be even more specific, and it is possible to have develop presets that a specific to a camera serial number and or to a particular ISO setting. This means that you could have some automatic noise reduction settings more appropriate for high ISO images if you need them for example.


#30 – creating soft light in hard summer sunshine

soft sunlight

Summer… seems but a distant memory, but here’s a tip to put in your memory bank. Those super warm sunny days filled with blue skies and bright sunshine, and it’s accompanying harsh shadows. Those are the days that I often choose to switch the flash off, and simply use a huge diffuser panel to bring soft flattering light to my subjects. You’ll also find that this light has instantaneous recycle time, and you are not limited with shutter speeds too 🙂

soft sunlight
The image of Xanthe Rose above shows just how close I use the diffuser panel. The one I’m using is the Lastolite 1.8m x 1.2m panellise diffuser (Amazon). I use one of the magnetic background brackets (Amazon) to hold the panel in situ, and this means it’s easy to travel with as the bracket and background support all fit in a single bag. It does help to have a fairly heavy camera bag to weight the stand down, as a 1.8m x 1.2m “sail” catches the wind pretty effectively.

Here’s a few more festive fifty tips

Festive fifty – day #19
Festive fifty – day #25
Festive fifty – day #16
Festive fifty – day #23

About the author

Full-time photo tutor and photographer. I love to share my knowledge and skills to make photos, videos and teach others. I write books and articles for photo magazines and I always have at least one Speedlite flash in my camera bag