Join Now Sign In
Get full access to articles, free contest entries and more!

Defaults: A Double-Edged Sword

The Cons

We’re back to that thing about how Develop defaults are user- and machine-specific. This means they don’t travel with your catalog. These days, more and more photographers are taking their entire catalog with them on an external hard drive when they go on location, especially now that we have the new Smart Previews feature in Lightroom 5. So if you move your catalog around from machine to machine, you’re either going to have to manage without your defaults or figure out a way to take them with you.

With the ISO-specific default preference, it’s either all or none. So once you turn on this preference, each ISO can have its own specific preference, which is great, if you want to do something like set different amounts of noise reduction for a few specific ISOs. But what happens when you want to have your cake and eat it, too? Once you turn on this preference, if you then want to make every photo you shoot with your 5D Mark III have slightly more Vibrance or any other setting for that matter, you have to build that into a new default for every single ISO that you use!

Fig. 7

There’s no user interface for the defaults mechanism! This essentially means that you have no visibility into what defaults might currently exist on your system, or what settings they might be applying to any given import! Any default that you create is simply stored as an XMP file in the Defaults folder for the current user (Fig. 7).

The path to the Defaults folder on the Macintosh is: Users/<user name>/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Camera Raw/Defaults/.

The Windows path is: C:Users<user name>AppDataRoamingAdobeCamera RawDefaults .

It’s for this reason that I always recommend using the shift-click Reset routine before you create any new Develop default. Doing so will ensure that you’re always starting from the true Adobe defaults and not a default that may have been set up previously by you or anyone else using your computer.

Go to to find George Jardine’s tutorials on Lightroom and his blog.

Leave a Reply

Save Your Favorites

Save This Article