I recently shot some pictures with a Nikon D300 in raw. When I downloaded these raw files into Lightroom 2.5 the brilliant colors that I saw on the camera changed to dull within Lightroom. It actually happened as I watched, one after another, the pics on lightroom changed from brilliant to dull after the download was complete. This does not happen when I shoot jpeg fine and download.
Thanks for the great question Skip! The answer to this question has everything to do with the difference between an unprocessed raw file and a processed jpeg. With a jpeg file the saturation level has been set in camera, but with the raw file enhancements like contrast and saturation have not yet been established. For more on the difference between a raw and a jpeg file click here.
For all of you out there with this problem here is an easy solution. In Lightroom take a raw file into the Develop module. Now scroll all the way down to the bottom of the right hand panel. Starting with Lightroom v2.4 the Adobe engineers snuck in an unheralded fantastic new feature called “profile.”
Within this box choose something like the landscape or the portrait profile. Try landscape if you are looking to add more a lot more punch and saturation into your image. I call this profile button the “starting point” for my raw files.
For more information and a helpful tip check out this video tutorial.
(If you would like to help in the efforts to move this awesome new button up to a more prominent position within the develop module interface please click here and tell Adobe what you think.)
Check out this great article from Ian Lyons on Camera Raw Profiles and on Customizing your Camera Raw Defaults for more useful tricks.