I sat down at my computer to start recording a video tutorial for my buddy Glyn Dewis to include in his video podcast. He asked me to talk about my post professing of live concert photos in Lightroom and what steps I go through. As I sat there thinking about the best place to start and which concert I was going to use as an example I realized that one of the main elements to my post processing in Lightroom needs to be done before any actual importing is even done. I thought it would make a great blog post here and then when you see Glyn’s podcast, you would know what I was talking about.


Lightroom has the ability to apply preset adjustments to your images on import, and here is where it goes from good to great. Lightroom can apply a different set of adjustments depending on the camera used to take the photos. This is a HUGE time saver especially if you use more than one camera on a shoot. I use a Nikon D4 as my  main camera and a Nikon D700 as my second body. I also have a Nikon D5200, a Nikon D2X, a Nikon P7000 that all still get used periodically. Each camera can have a unique set of adjusts applied when the images are imported and it’s pretty easy to do.

All the screen captures are taken from Lightroom 5, but this also works for Lightroom 4. If you are still using a version of Lightroom that is older than 4, upgrade.

STEP 1: Open Lightroom and Open a New Catalog. You will end up deleting the catalog in the end, so don’t worry about it too much.


STEP 2: Open Preferences and in the presets panel make sure that the Make defaults to camera serial number and the Make Defaults specific to camera ISO setting are both unchecked.


STEP 3: Now you need to import 1 image from every camera you want to set a default for. For me, thats the Nikon D4 and the Nikon D700, my main camera body and second camera body.


STEP 4: The next step is to adjust the image in the way you want as a baseline for all your images taken with that camera.


For the Nikon D4, used to take most of my concert images I like to increase the clarity and the blacks. I also make sure that the noise reduction is set. The Nikon D4 has very little noise at the higher ISO settings so it doesn’t need a lot of noise reduction. For the Nikon D700, I increase the noise reduction.


You can adjust these any way you want. I have them set for for what I shoot the most, concerts.

STEP 5: Once the image is edited with the settings the exact way you want them, click on Develop > Set Default Settings… This will now save the current settings for that camera.


  • STEP 6: Repeat the process for any cameras you have.


  • STEP 7: Now when you import any photo into lightroom, they will automatically have these adjustments applied. The bonus is that these adjustments will also be there when you open a file in Camera Raw. You can now delete the catalog.

This whole process takes just a few minutes but can save you a ton of work in the long run.