An Introduction to Camera Color Profiles in Your Editing Workflow

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 90mm f2 review photos portraits (4 of 11)ISO 4001-1000 sec at f - 2.0

Though they’re a staple to the more advanced photo editors among us, Camera Profiles are a little known about feature that many folks don’t know about, understand or use. If you’ve ever looked at your camera’s LCD screen, shot in RAW, and wanted your RAW image to look exactly like the JPEG then you’ve probably also spent a long time trying to match them up perfectly only to get disappointed. It’s tough, but it’s also honestly useless to try it when the camera manufacturer often gives you exactly what you need if you use Adobe Lightroom.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 7.15.00 PM

In Adobe Lightroom’s Develop panel, you simply go down to the Process area near the bottom, click on profile and scroll through. If you’re a Canon DSLR user, then you’ve probably known about this for a while due to the flat color profiles that are available to maximise dynamic range. If you shoot portraits, Canon has a profile for that that they’ve built into the camera–same goes with landscapes. These options can be found in the DSLR’s menu system. The same goes for Sony, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Samsung, etc. But the user that this probably benefits the most is Fujifilm.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm Xt10 review final product images (3 of 4)ISO 2001-180 sec at f - 2.0

If you’re a Fujifilm camera user, then you also probably are very particular about your colors moreso than other camera users. Afterall, Fujifilm lets you shoot with a Velvia, Astia, Provia or Classic Chrome rendering depending on your camera. Replicating those colors manually isn’t easy to do, so incorporating the camera profile is the best option. Then from there you can make your individual tweaks.

Truthfully, this can help speed up your workflow, but as I’ve always said: a speedy workflow means nothing if you don’t get the image you want in the end.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm Xpert Advice Telling a story with a camera (1 of 1)ISO 2001-250 sec

When I shoot product photos for the Phoblographer using Fujifilm’s cameras, I often choose the Velvia camera profile. The product images are a series, so the profile is applied to and synced to each image that will go into the final display along with other minor tweaks like sharpness, clarity, etc. Then from there, I go through each image individually and make individual tweaks based on what my creative vision for the shoot dictates. It speeds up the workflow but it also helps me to actually create and render the images that I want in the end.

As I’ve found out on the Phoblographer’s Instagram, you folks like them too.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16mm f1.4 first impressions sample images (16 of 30)ISO 4001-20 sec at f - 1.4

But this process has a lot more applications than product photography:

  • Wedding photography: for each room or lighting situation
  • Portrait photography: for each session, look, etc
  • Food photography: for each lighting situation, color scheme, etc
  • Sports: generally you’re sticking to one color profile
  • Photojournalism: same as weddings
  • Landscape photography: you’re basically shooting everything with the same vivid color profile

These are just some of the ways this can be used. And again: while this is a great start to editing, I implore everyone to not just use it as a crutch, call it a day and export as is. Instead, exercise your creative freedom and develop something that’s unique to just you.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.