How to Customize Lightroom Classic’s Default Develop Settings (v9.3) 

Adobe Lightroom Classic

This post was updated to include new features (including ISO Adaptive Presets) in  June 2020. -jk

Lightroom Classic – Raw Defaults

Lightroom Classic’s Raw Defaults options (Preferences > Presets)  provide a much easier and more intuitive way to assign and manage the default rendering of your raw files across multiple camera models. For example, you may want to change the default rendering setting (such as apply a custom camera profile, change the amount of sharpening, or enable lens profile corrections), on all of the images that you import from one camera model, but not from another. The new Raw Defaults enables you to set custom defaults instead of having to first import files and then change settings. Note: Raw defaults are also applied when/if an image is reset if the image is already in your catalog.

Raw Defaults can be applied universally (across all cameras), or customized by camera model, ISO speed, and even serial number. To apply the same Raw Defaults universally, use the Master drop-down menu and select from either Camera Settings or Preset.

• Choose Camera Settings to honor picture styles or profiles settings that you’ve set in-camera and preserve the “as shot” look whenever possible (Creative Styles for Sony, Picture Styles for Canon, Film Simulations for Fuji, or Picture Controls for Nikon).

• Choose Preset to apply a Develop Preset as your Raw Default settings.

You can apply one of Lightroom’s Default presets or create your own (with version 9.3, Lightroom installs nine different combinations of Profiles/Lens Correction/Noise Reduction options which can be applied as Raw Default settings).

If you want to create and use your own preset(s), you will need to first create the preset. Then, select Preferences > Raw Default in order to apply it. To create a preset, see “How to Create a Preset in Lightroom Classic” and “Creating and Working with ISO Adaptive Presets in Lightroom Classic” below.

• To return to Lightroom Classic’s default settings, choose Adobe Default.

To set different Raw Defaults for each camera model, enable “Override master setting for specific cameras”. Then, select the desired camera from the Camera drop-down menu.

Use the Default drop-down menu to choose between Camera Settings or Preset. In the example below I have selected a preset from the Defaults group that applies the Adobe Landscape profile, Lens Corrections, and Noise Reduction.

After selecting either Camera Settings or a Preset, click “Create Default”.

The Camera Model and the Default applied are displayed in the box to the right making it easy to keep track of multiple camera’s with different settings applied. To reset, change, or delete a Default setting, click the downward facing chevron to the right of the camera model/default and select the desired option. Note: after selecting a different option you will need to click ‘Update Default” to accept the changes.

Once Raw Defaults are set, all newly imported files will be rendered using the custom Raw Defaults. Lightroom will not change or auto-update any settings on images that were imported prior to changing the Raw Defaults preferences.

To customize the defaults for multiple cameras of the same model, enable “Show serial number”.



How to Create a Preset in Lightroom Classic

With the new set of Default presets, many photographers will not need to create their own custom preset. If however, you have a different combination of sliders that you prefer to apply as Raw Defaults, here’s how to create a preset:

• First, make the changes to the photo that you want to include in the preset. In the example below, I’ve changed the Profile to Adobe Landscape, enabled Remove Chromatic Aberration and Enable Profile Corrections and slightly increased the amount of Texture, Clarity, and Vibrance.

• Then, click the Plus (+) icon on the Presets panel and choose Create Preset…

• Give the preset a name, select a Group to place it into, enable (check) the settings that you want to be saved as a part of the preset, and click Create. The preset will then be available for you to select as a Raw Default (Preferences > Presets).


Creating ISO Adaptive Presets in Lightroom Classic

In Lightroom Classic v9.3, you can create ISO Adaptive Presets which allow a single preset to apply different edit settings to different photos depending on their ISO settings. For example, you can create an ISO Adaptive Preset that applies different levels of noise reduction or sharpening to high ISO verses low ISO images. Creating your own ISO adaptive preset is really only necessary only if you prefer different values than  Adobe’s default settings.

With ISO adaptive settings, you only need to assign the values to two or more images from the same camera. Those values will be interpolated based on the actual image’s ISO. Lightroom ships with four Adaptive ISO presets – specifically designed to be applied as Raw Defaults which apply different Noise Reduction values based on the ISO of the image.

To create your own  ISO Adaptive Preset, do the following:

• Select two or more images, with different ISO values that were taken with the same camera. (That’s the only way in which an ISO adaptive preset is meaningful and practical).

Left image ISO = 100, Right image ISO = 2500.

• Edit the setting for the images as desired.

Luminance was increased slightly for the 100 ISO image (left) , while both Luminance and Color were increased for the  2500 ISO image (right).

• With the images still selected, click the Plus (+) icon on the preset panel and choose Create Preset.

• In the New Develop Preset dialog, select the desired settings to include in the preset and be sure to enable “Create ISO adaptive preset” under ISO Settings. Note: as ISO adaptive presets aren’t visually different, you may want to include ISO as part of the name or place the ISO adaptive presets in their own preset group.

• Click Create to make the = ISO Adaptive preset. Note: If two or more images, with different ISO values, are not selected, “Create ISO adaptive preset” will be disabled. When applying the preset,  Lightroom Classic will automatically interpolate the correct amount of noise for images with different ISO values.

Click here for more information on Raw Defaults from the engineering team.

Adobe Lightroom Classic

Posted on 02-11-2020


  • By dfhgd - 7:44 AM on February 11, 2020  

    The Import dialog still has an option to apply a preset on import. What happens if this is set differently than the setting in this new dialog?

    • By Julieanne Kost - 2:54 PM on February 11, 2020  

      Custom raw defaults are applied on import (first). Then, any preset that you had selected in the Import dialog is applied (second). So, for example, you had set your raw defaults to apply the Adobe Landscape profile, and applied a preset on import that applied the Adobe Portrait, since the preset is applied after the default settings, the image would have the Portrait profile assigned to it.

  • By David - 6:39 PM on February 11, 2020  

    This is a very welcome feature and a very clear description of how to use it. I just created a new preset using your instructions.

  • By ET198 - 11:10 AM on February 13, 2020  

    This new updated has created serious problems for me as I tether shoot in JPEG. Correct me if I am wrong, this Default Develop Settings only works with Raw format. Since I shoot in JPEG all my previous settings are gone or became unusable. My temporarily solution is to create a new presets and apply that setting manually. Lightroom 9.2 no longer apply the Default Develop Settings when the photo is taken/tethered in JPEG. I have a passport photo studio, we take 30-50 photos a day. Every photo we process I have to apply the new presets manually. The photo we process and print are small sizes, shoot only in jpeg helps to speed things up, save storage. Shooting in raw is absolutely unnecessary, it slows down the transfer rate and requires more computer processing power. This update has created so much trouble for us.

    • By Julieanne Kost - 1:06 PM on February 13, 2020  

      In Tether there is the ability to apply a preset upon tether capture. Create a preset containing the settings you wish to apply and select it in the pulldown menu of the Tether bar. Shooting raw is not requisite for this method of applying default edits.
      Likewise, you can add a preset when using the Import feature (but I understand that you’re tethering in this case).
      I hope that helps, -j

  • By Charles B - 7:59 AM on February 15, 2020  

    I do not understand what is being interpolated with regards to the ISO settings. I have used the previous method to set a preset for all camera ISO values, then to set defaults according to ISO for each image. I understand that this is no longer possible, but your statement above that settings will be interpolated according to the actual camera’s ISO needs some explanation.

    Thanks for the post.

  • By Bernd - 4:45 AM on February 22, 2020  

    I created different import presets for my cameras. That is a huge improvement and works fine for NR, sharpening, CAs etc. Unfortunately, however, the auto setting is not applied even though I ticked the treatment box in the presets. Since auto is done when the same presets are applied after import or the RAW files are opened directly in Camera Raw, I assume a bug in Lightroom rather than an error in creating the presets. Would be interesting to know whether others experience the same problem.