I tend to use LUT-based profiles mainly for special effects

A few months ago Adobe added the ability to integrate colour lookup tables or “LUTs” into Camera Raw profiles, where they can be used in Lightroom.

Now you can quickly produce looks and styling that previously required you to spend a little time working in Photoshop, and I tend to take advantage of this interesting new capability mainly for special effects like the picture on the right, for instance. I don’t do this kind of thing much, but it’s nice to have.

While the snake oil preset vendors will gladly sell you “artistic” profiles, I always wonder why any creative person wouldn’t want to create their own.

Making these LUT-based profiles is documented in the Profiles SDK, which is well-written but is a little obscure. The method involves using the Camera Raw dialog box and is fiddly and perilous, so I don’t think Adobe intend humans to use it! But it is possible.

This is a quick recording that takes you through

  1. creating a simple LUT in Photoshop
  2. creating a new LUT-based profile
  3. defining that it should appear in a group
  4. giving it flexible options for applying it
  5. seeing it back in Lightroom
  6. applying it to a whole shoot

It’s only a quickie, so there are minor jumps where I’ve edited out little bits of me “faffing around”, and I’ve not gone over the text annotations – so forgive any typos. It’s best watched full screen – and it’s meant to be silent!


If you want the LUT-based profile I created in the video, here it is – B&W posterize.

To get it into Lightroom and other Camera Raw environments, unzip the file to somewhere like the desktop, then use Lightroom’s Profile Browser where there’s an import command. It should be shown in the listing, and you can then delete the copy on the desktop.