Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2014/09/14

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Subject: [Leica] Monochrom and Lightroom, my workflow
From: tmanley at (Tina Manley)
Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2014 11:37:06 -0400
References: <>

Thanks, Jay!  That is all very interesting, especially the use of the
yellow filter and underexposure for the Monochrom.  It certainly works with
your photos!


On Sat, Sep 13, 2014 at 11:57 PM, Jay Burleson <leica at>

> My take on processing images taken with a Leica Monochrom using Lightroom.
> First off, a caution. This is currently how I work with Monochrom files
> and Adobe Lightroom 5.6.
> It works for me.
> Your mileage may vary, void where prohibited, contents may settle in
> shipping.
> I start with the camera. Shortly after I rec?d it, I did some testing with
> a color checker card under controlled conditions. I wanted to see what the
> tonal response of the sensor was in comparison to the 4x5 films I had been
> most familiar with back in the day.
> I found that the use of a light yellow filter, a #8 Wratten, gave a tonal
> response that matched extremely close to Ilford FP4+ sheet film developed
> in my favorite developer.
> So I started using a #8 yellow filter on my lenses all the time. Indoors,
> outdoors, nighttime; it never comes off, unless I use a darker one or a
> different color.
> I also have had a habit, with Leica cameras, of metering on something
> equivalent to Zone V (middle) gray, setting the shutter value, and
> recomposing, rather than relying on the meter to know what I want.
> The Monochrom is sensitive to highlight clipping; and there is no getting
> any detail back if it happens. So I am very sensitive of the highlights but
> I didn?t want to be looking at the lcd and histogram after every shot
> hoping that I didn?t overexpose.
> My recent solution to that?
> Simple. I set the camera to always underexpose by 2/3 stop.
> This works because you can raise the shadows as much as you need in post
> processing without any degradation (that I can see, anyway), and gives you
> very detailed highlights, within the limits of the contrast levels in the
> scene of course.
> Lightroom.
> I like Lightroom. I?d probably like other programs just as well but it was
> what I had and is very intuitive to me since I?d been using Photoshop for
> so many years.
> I use it backwards, though. ;-)
> Contrary to accepted books and tutorials, here is my standard post
> processing workflow:
> When I import an image I let Lightroom apply the standard +25 import
> sharpening but do no other import adjustments. The main reason for this is
> that I want to see what every adjustment does to the image; not guess that
> blanket settings will work with this particular image. A little more work
> but then I?m not dealing with thousands of images a week.
> In the Develop module I start in Lens Corrections and apply the lens
> profile and then do any manual distortion corrections and rotation I feel
> is necessary.
> Then to Detail where I will raise the default sharpening to between 35 and
> 50, and apply any noise reduction if a high iso has been used.
> Then up to Tone Curve and change the Point Curve to Medium Contrast.
> Then I will use the Spot Remover with Clone / Heal as necessary to remove
> dust or other distracting elements I deem unnecessary.
> Now to the Basic panel, when I first apply +25 to Clarity. Then I hit the
> Auto and see what Lightroom thinks my photo should look like. The vast
> majority of the time it is wrong.
> So I?ll start adjusting everything to where I want.
> *A note here regarding my ? 2/3 exposure compensation: One can raise the
> blacks and shadows of a Monochrom image by 2 or 3 full stops without harm.
> Try it.
> After that, it is onto the Graduated and Radial Filters and / or the
> Adjustment Brush for any local burning, dodging, sharpness, etc. necessary.
> Next is cropping, if desired.
> Finally I may add a little vignette using the Effects panel.
> Export.
> At that time, I will usually live with the image for a week or so, looking
> at it several times a day or making a copy my desktop background. After
> that the image is rejected, reworked in Lightroom, or posted to the web
> gallery, whichever is appropriate.
> Comments are welcome.
> _______________________________________________
> Leica Users Group.
> See for more information

Tina Manley

Replies: Reply from dennis.leicam6 at (Dennis Kushner) ([Leica] Monochrom and Lightroom, my workflow)
In reply to: Message from leica at (Jay Burleson) ([Leica] Monochrom and Lightroom, my workflow)