Adobe’s Camera Raw is extremely powerful. You can leverage that power to speed up your workflow using a RAW default setting for your camera. I’ve used it to get a head start my infrared processing.

Setting it up

Open a RAW file from the camera you would like to use in Adobe Camera RAW (ACR). I recommend using a file that is fairly flat without a lot of contrast. Process the file to your liking. This could include slight color changes, opening up shadows lightly and bringing down highlights slightly.

Once these settings are in place, save them as a preset. Once the preset is in place, click on the gear icon and choose RAW Defaults. In the global menu, choose the preset you just created.

Access ACR presets after registering your settings with the sliders by clicking the two conjoined circles. Then click on the three dots and use the Create Preset… option. You’ll see a New Preset window open.
New Preset window. These settings are the result of having clicked the Auto button. If you were to use this as your preset, all of the files would receive all checked settings.
These are the final settings for my infrared workflow. Note that most settings have been unchecked and Apply auto tone adjustments has been activated in their place.

Override specific settings for specific cameras. Choose your camera. If you have multiple cameras of the same model, your can check the Show serial numbers box to target that specific camera. New in ACR 12.3, you can also have separate settings for the same camera with different ISO values.

Here’s the Camera RAW preferences dialog box. Navigate to Raw Defaults in the left column.
Then, check the Override master setting for specific cameras. Select the camera model and using the master settings, work your way down to the preset you would like associated with it.

My ACR preset settings for initial black and white Infrared captures.

My settings are pretty simple. As I usually shoot a 3-frame exposure bracket, I activate the Auto button in ACR. That brings the contrast level down by opening shadows and closing down highlights. I move the Saturation slider to the left. I also set the Vibrance up to about +15.

Adobe Bridge showing images captured as a RAW file, accompanied by JPEGs that were processed to monochrome by the camera.
RAW files on view in Bridge after the preset was added to the camera in Adobe Camera RAW 12.3. All settings from the preset are applied automatically. This gives a great starting point for processing the files.

How I’m using the Default setting

I recently had a Lumix GH4 converted to infrared by LifePixel Infrared. Previously I had a Lumix G6 converted by LifePixel as well. I wanted a more robust camera body with pro features. You can add new life to almost any camera by having it converted to IR. Here are some of the images made with the G6 a little earlier this year.

When photographing with the 720NM filter while shooting IR, you end up with a magenta file. In the past I always shot RAW+JPEG with the camera set to monochrome in order to see what the files looked like in black and white. With the Default profile enabled, images are automatically converted to black and white.

On Oak Creek in Sedona, Arizona the leaves were past prime for color but rendered nicely in infrared.

Just a start

This process gives a starting point. Files can still be tweaked further if necessary in ACR before opening in Photoshop. Using Default presets also had the benefit of negating the need to shoot JPEGs along with my RAW files. I now save time in downloading and tossing them when I was finished.

The more I dig into Photoshop, the more impressed I become. We’ve come a long way baby since I first started in Photoshop Version 2.5.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob