Lightroom Blues

You want accurate or pleasing?

Sometimes you won’t get both. I shoot a lot of performing arts under gelled stage lighting: Color temperatures of the lighting is mostly in the 3000K range, but color gels and moving heads add a different light to the mix. Of course the colors are there for a reason: the band or light tech liked them to have that color. However, our camera has a lot harder time in spanning across the region of possible colors then our eyes do.
Some stage colors are hard to photograph. Most people think red stagelighting is hard but usually, in my experience, purple and blue can be equally hard, if not harder to fix. These sometimes lead to very weird transitions or colors “blocking up”.
While Lightroom 3 is markedly better then Lightroom 2 in some aspects, it still has a few issues. An unfixed adjustment brush bug for one, and, at least at default settings, “the Lightroom Blues” for another.

This article is about the blues

Not the color, but the feeling you get once you open certain images in Lightroom.
One of the first problems is the default DNG profile that LR uses: Adobe Standard.
While quite a bit better then the older “ACR” default, it still sucks has it’s drawbacks for this kind of shooting. As can be seen in the first two images in a previous blogpost There are more blogposts floating around on the internet, and the main problems are in the transitions, as can be seen in this excellent writeup by Todd Owen Young comparing Lightroom 3 to Nikon Capture NX-2. However there’s a bit more to it in some cases, at least with Canon Raw files.


The color this time. Or Purple. Or a mix of the two.
Why I came up with the term “Lightroom Blues” is simple: This is what happens sometimes if you use the ACR4.4 profile on a Canon Raw file with “somewhat” blueish lighting:
And no, this is not the cliping warning. It’s what the file would actually look like if exported out of Lightroom at these settings.

Marike Jager, ACR4.4 profile.
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