Custom Portra Picture Control for Nikon Z6 II

I like to use Capture One for post processing. On the other hand I love to explore what kind of looks I can get in-camera. And I really want to find some look that I want to use as a base look. So I did A LOT of tweaking with my Nikon Z6 II camera and processed photo after photo in search of a look that I could like. I published in my earlier post some settings that I started with. This time I wanted to explore the Portrait setting more deeply. I compared the Portrait look (Picture Control) to the Portra 400 Capture One -style that I have made earlier. And I tuned this Custom Picture Control to look like that style, not the original film (though the style has been tuned at least to some extent to look like Portra 400 film).

Nikon Portrait color profile has very much similarities with the Portra 400 colorscape. There are differences and as the Nikon Picture Controls cannot change individual colors (their hue, saturation or luminosity) one has to settle to the colors the Picture Control color profiles offer. But as I said the colors are quite close with Portra 400, at least to my eye. And so I tuned a custom curve and custom Picture Control for this look and named it as Portra 400.

This Custom Picture Control requires that the white balance shift is set approximately at A: +2 and G: -0.25 and at least I used the “Keep Overall Athmosphere” -setting. These settings give the photos a slight yellowish tint that is often associated with Portra film. And the look is to me the best when the photo is overexposed around +0,7 EV. All other settings and the custom curve are in the file you can download >here<.

Here is a photo comparison between the Portrait color profile at 0-settings and the one I created:

Comparison of Portrait Picture Control at zero settings and with my Custom settings including the white balance shift.

I tuned the sharpness and clarity settings quite high, actually too high to work well with Portraits anymore. At least people’s skin, if not very smooth, might not look very good with this contrast curve. So this setting kind of negates the original purpose of the Nikon’s Portrait Picture Control that gives very soft skin. And of course it isn’t, this way, mimicking the real film very well. But other subjects look quite nice with this. Was this worth it? Well, time will tell.

Try it if you are adventurous, and please let me know in the comments below if you liked it. But main thing was that I wanted to make it for my self, at least to live some time with it and test how it works for me.

And here is one more comparison:

Comparison of Portrait Picture Control at zero settings and with my Custom settings including the white balance shift. Here the original was a bit underexposed so the difference here is quite big to the one with +0,7EV version.

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