Lightroom Presets Explained

One of the features that made Lightroom very popular, even with people who are not serious photographers or professional shooters is the ability to create and import develop module presets. Lightroom presets are very easy to use and allows you to give your photos a specific style or a certain “feel”. Different editing styles are popular at different times, so hitting the right one will make your pictures stand out, so much more and bring more followers.

What Are Lightroom Presets?

When photographers mention Lightroom presets they usually refer to develop presets. However, there are actually many different types of presets within Lightroom. Lightroom develop presets are responsible for the creative aspects of editing your photos: Exposure, contrast, color grading, highlights, and shadows, as well as clarity controls, are all a part of this. Having the ability to save multiple adjustments and later apply them to other images with a single click is immensely time saving and efficient.

Develop presets are the ones that get the most use, are the most fun and popular with users. Most users that edit their own photos end up editing their photos using the same or similar values, ending up in creating more or less the same look for same types of photos. This is where Lightroom’s develop presets come into play, automating and streamlining the editing process.

How many types of presets there are?

Besides develop presets that we are talking about today, there are eight more types of presets that help doing different types of tasks and help you edit in a more streamlined way.

  • Metadata presets
  • File renaming presets
  • Import presets
  • Lightroom filter presets
  • Lightroom local adjustment presets
  • Lightroom creative profiles
  • Export presets
  • Watermark presets

Metadata presets are there for embedding different data into the files, from EXIF information, all the way to keywords, copyright information, and location information. Most commonly used as a copyright preset. A metadata preset with your copyright information allows you to implement copyright information into a lot of images without any additional hassle.

Lightroom Metadata Presets

File naming presets serve to rename any photos you import to make them optimized for your archive. Same as with copyright presets, renaming images in bulk quantities makes your life so much easier. You can access the Filename preset editor from the Export Dialog under File Naming.

Import presets is an option to have certain settings and adjustments right in the import module and use them as presets. You can embed multiple settings and use them every time you import new images. For example, you can include both Metadata Preset and File Renaming presets as import presets, for your convenience and get it taken care of right from the moment you import your photos.

Filter presets are found in the image library and you can use them to save your search criteria so you can easily find the same images through the filter feature again. Like for instance, you can save a filter that shows you all images with New Zealand as a keyword, and with a rating above 3 stars.

You can use many attributes to search the library, from metadata through flag marks all the way to if the photo was edited or not. On top of all that, you can also create subcategories and mix and match different filters for the most precise results.

Use the Library filter to create your criteria, and then save it to use it as a filter preset.

LR Filter Preset

Local adjustment presets are made in order to transfer inputs from tools such as Graduated filter, Radial filters and Adjustment brush onto other images. Local adjustment presets in Lightroom work in a way that the same settings get transferred from one of these three tools into all of the rest, saving you time and energy. You can find the local adjustment presets when you select one of the local adjustment tools and click next to Effect at the top of the local adjustment tool. Here you can choose of the predefined, or better yet, save your own settings as a local adjustment preset in Lightroom.

Creative profiles are similar to develop presets but do not get in conflict with them at all. They work independently, and there is an amount slider that works similarly as an opacity slider that makes it easy to use and non-intrusive with the develop adjustments that you have made.

Export presets are useful when you want to customize the export values and save the settings for the next time you need to export images in Lightroom. You can save settings like size, format, post sharpening and such in Lightroom export presets. This makes it easier for you to remember the optimal export settings for different purposes. I.e. If you want to print an image, it requires a better resolution than the one you would export for social media use.

Lightroom export preset

Watermark presets are used when you make your own custom watermark instead of the one Lightroom comes with as stock. Once you create it, you save it as a preset and if need be, apply to the photos you want to watermark.

What Are Develop Presets Used For?

There are multiple uses for develop presets in Lightroom. And here are a few:

  • Beginners
  • Instagram
    users
  • Pros
  • Graphic
    designers

Beginners can greatly benefit from using develop presets when using Lightroom. Editing photos is a craft, and it requires time and a lot of trial and error. Using presets can make beginners more adept at editing. By having a starting point, like a preset, someone with little or no experience can experiment with different looks and feels and gain more knowledge bit by bit, until they gain enough skill to edit on their own. Finding a look you like has never been easier, different VSCO, Film emulations, or just singular adjustments, the choice is unlimited.

Instagram users benefit from using presets in being able to fine-tune the “look” of their feed. It is very important how your Instagram feed looks if you are an influencer. Presets can create just the look influencers need to be recognized by the unique style and colors their photos give out. Presets have gained a lot of popularity, so much that there are influencers making their own.

Even professional photographers can benefit from using presets. When the work piles up, and batches of unedited photos get in the hundreds, or even thousands, using a predetermined preset and later making minute adjustments can save a lot of time. For a working professional, it is important to know in advance what kind of presets fit what kind of photos, so there would be no surprises.

It is important to be aware of any differences between photos, changes in lighting or white balance, so when you export them later, you avoid odd-looking photos and a non-consistent style.

Graphic designers who shoot their own photos before incorporating them into the design are also using presets. A lot of adjustments are often needed when this kind of work is done, and presets can help with just that. This practice is helpful for speeding up the design process from its very start.

Why You Need To Start Using Lightroom Presets?

Using Lightroom presets saves time, when you are in a pinch or when there is a mountain of photos to be edited, with similar light conditions and settings. Having a set of Lightroom presets to instantly apply corrections with a single click is invaluable. You can edit all of the photos at once, just by editing the first one, and then applying that same setting across all of your photos.

When you have presets loaded in your Lightroom develop panel, hovering the mouse pointer over the preset name will give you a small preview of how that image will look with the preset applied. You like it, you click once and apply, you don´t, you move on to the next one. After finding and applying the preset you like, you only need to do some minor adjustments to make the photo fit your particular style.

Presets may show you how to achieve a certain effect in a way you did not know. By looking at settings that have been applied, you may learn a thing or two that you would not get to know on your own. You just need to use some reverse engineering to see what has been done, and how to use those tools in a new way. Also, presets can show you a different way of creating something you already know. Like how a tone curve can replace settings you dictate through contrast, whites and blacks sliders.

Lightroom Develop Preset settings
When creating your own Lightroom Develop Presets you can choose, which settings to include in the preset

Presets are a great starting position in editing photos. You don’t need to start from scratch, but can use presets, as a starting point, and then adjust and fine-tune everything you think that needs changing.

Photography-raw offers a presets package that will most definitely transform the way you edit photos and most likely teach you a thing or two about editing. Using presets has never been simpler. They save you time, increase efficiency and give you a different perspective on editing photos.

Author Details
Freelance photojournalist based in Niš, Serbia, always on the hunt for a story, not being afraid to end up hunted by one. Loves shooting music concerts, feature stories and whatever moves fast. Works for different media outlets (BBC, Vice Serbia, Balkanrock, Media Reform Center, Media Research center…etc.). Shoots digital as well as film photography, tools are not important as long as the story is told.
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Freelance photojournalist based in Niš, Serbia, always on the hunt for a story, not being afraid to end up hunted by one. Loves shooting music concerts, feature stories and whatever moves fast. Works for different media outlets (BBC, Vice Serbia, Balkanrock, Media Reform Center, Media Research center…etc.). Shoots digital as well as film photography, tools are not important as long as the story is told.
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