Lightroom Classic: Black and White auto-mix and other unwanted adjustments

  • 2
  • Problem
  • Updated 1 year ago
  • (Edited)
Summary: I can turn off the “smart” features in my cameras, but it’s getting harder and harder to turn them off in Lightroom. Can I get some help with this?

When opening a RAW file, Lightroom must make some decisions. I understand that. These decisions need to be different from one camera to another. That makes sense. What I don’t like is when Lightroom, when opening an image, makes different color and tonality decisions on different images from the same camera. It is not easy to disable this behavior.

Black and White auto-mix is one example. Making different color mix decisions on different images from the same camera is the default behavior for Lightroom when I ask it to turn a color image into black and white. There are workarounds, but this is the way Lightroom chooses to behave. This behavior makes Lightroom, which I have been using since before version 1, less useful to me.

In the past, I could stop Adobe from applying auto mix as the default by checking a box in the settings. Now Adobe has taken away this checkbox. It looks to me like Adobe wants to gradually make their auto adjustment features on by default and hard to turn off.

Instead of replacing the auto color-mix button, I would like Adobe to fix the general problem this is part of. I would like a button to turn off all of Adobe’s image specific changes of color and tonality. Call the checkbox, “Image specific adjustments by default.” Unchecking this box would develop all images from the same camera the same way. When opening a photo or when switching to black and white, no “smart” changes based on the individual image would be applied.

In the list of things unchecking this checkbox would do, I would include turning DefaultBlackRender off. When DefaultBlackRender is on, Adobe applies different tonality to different images from the same camera. The only way to change this setting is by modifying the Camera Profiles. Before I learned about this feature I did not understand what I was seeing in the blacks in my images. I don’t think there is anything about this in Adobe’s help files. One more line in the Camera Calibration: Profiles section of Lightroom would have saved me a lot of time and trouble.*

I see Adobe’s lack of notification of the state of the DefaultBlackRender auto adjustment as a mistake. I also see it as another indication of the direction that Lightroom is heading: more automatic adjustments of individual photos that are very difficult for the user to stop or even to know about.

I understand the economic reasons for this. Adobe wants to sell Lightroom to casual users, because there are more casual users than advanced users. Casual users appreciate a lot of help in areas where advanced users would rather do the editing themselves (without Adobe getting in the way). So the majority rules, I get that.

All I want is one checkbox in the preferences. I’m sure I am not the only Lightroom user who would find this helpful.


*That line would look like this:

Black Assist:   [] By Profile   [] On   []Off
Photo of Bruce McLaughlin

Bruce McLaughlin

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Posted 2 years ago

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Photo of Simon Chen

Simon Chen, Principal Computer Scientist

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For the case that you do not want Lr's adjustment controls to be adaptive to the image content, you can consider setting the process version of those photos to PV 2010.
Photo of Bruce McLaughlin

Bruce McLaughlin

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Thank you for the quick reply. That's an interesting option. I am looking for something that I could use on all of my photos going forward. I think going back to 2010 tone controls would be difficult. The inability to use negative numbers in the Recovery slider (boost the Highlights) is one thing that I would miss. There may be others.
Photo of Stefan


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This is one of these days where I return to this post in search for a solution. Why do you not just provide this switch. It is a real pain in the neck to reset all the auto black and white. I am doing concert photogrpahy and this means extrem light. Lightroom almost always gets it wrong. Even doing the black and white mi reset for one image and then syncronizing everything and switching back to color does not work. LR applies auto bw again. Frustrating.