Are you struggling with Adobe Lightroom Presets? Learn how to download, install, and use them in the most effective and efficient manner.
Adobe Lightroom is one of the best software solutions out there when it comes to photo editing. It comes with a vast range of tools and functionalities that you can use to create photographic masterpieces. Understanding and learning all the tools that this software offers is very important. Otherwise, you won’t be able to edit your photos as desired. One of the most vital features of Adobe Lightroom is its presets that allow you to add watermarks while exporting and add metadata when importing. In this article, you’ll learn how to use Lightroom presets in order to improve and enhance the quality of your photos. Before getting into the use of Lightroom presets, let’s first discuss what they actually are. So, let’s jump into it.
Table of Contents
1. What are Presets in Adobe Lightroom?
Presets are basically a configuration of settings that enables the Adobe Lightroom software to apply specific Develop settings to a photo. In simpler words, a preset is a file that is designed in a certain way that allows you to achieve a particular style or look of your photographs. You can use the presets in the develop mode after installing and clicking on it will apply the predetermined settings to your photo.
Adobe lightroom comes with an array of built-in presets which are cleanly sorted by their type. The software also allows you to sort the presets as your desire.
2. Why Use Lightroom Presets?
As mentioned, you can achieve a certain set of actions by using a single filter instantly. The Lightroom presets come in handy while batch editing as they speed up the whole process. Moreover, the organizational properties that the software providers are undoubtedly one of its greatest advantages. Adding presets to Lightroom and using them make your routine editing process even easier and efficient.
For instance, if you’re a wedding photographer and use Adobe Lightroom as your go-to post-processing tool, you can use lightroom presets for weddings to tens of hundreds of your photos simultaneously. You can also create your own presets with your personal preferences of color scheme, clarity, exposure, etcetera. Once you have your presets in place, then you don’t need to start over again and again for each photo that saves a substantial amount of time.
It’s a great start to have the ability to edit multiple photos at the same time. Once a particular preset is applied, you can then fine-tune each individual photo with your editing expertise.
The editing capabilities and features that Adobe Lightroom brings to the table is the reason why its presets are so useful. Not only does it allow you to achieve the desired results faster, but it also improves and enhances your overall creativity. That’s because hectic and long manual editing hampers both quality and creativity in the long run.
These are some of the most important reasons why using presets is so important. Instead of keeping track of every slider to mode and box to check, we recommend you use presets that do it all for you instantly.
3. Downloading Lightroom Presets?
Now that you have understood what Lightroom presets are and why it’s important to use them, it’s time to learn how you can download additional presets. It will help you, especially in the case when the built-in lightroom presets are not working out for you.
There are a plethora of Adobe Lightroom presets available on the internet that you can download. You can find both free and paid presets, but we recommend you go for paid ones. That’s because free presets usually make your photos appear a little overcooked as they are a bit too extreme. Moreover, the paid presets are not expensive either and you can easily afford them even if you’re on a budget. Spending a small amount of money is totally worth it because of the functionality that paid presets offer. Many experts sell their specialized lightroom presets through their online portals for even less than five US dollars.
Pro Tip: It’s important to note that the paid Develop Presets are always better and more suitable. It’s still advisable to test a newly downloaded preset on a single image after creating a backup of the original file.
Not only will it allow you to fully understand the functionality and the features that particular preset offers, but it will also keep you from the loss of original photos. One important mistake that many beginners make is they don’t download the presets because they consider that they’re copying the expertise and style of someone else. You actually don’t need to worry about it as it’s one of the quickest ways to understand Lightroom’s functionality. Mastering already existing presets means that the time when you start creating your own presets is near. Because “one step at a time” is the most important factor in learning.
Once you find the right set of presets whether paid or free, you need to download it and save it at the desired location on your computer.
4. Installing Lightroom Presets?
After downloading the presets, the very next step is to install or import them into your Adobe Lightroom software. Most of the Lightroom presets that you download come in the form of a pack instead of some individual files. Moreover, you’ll have a single file in your computer’s hard drive with most probably “zip” or “rar” format. You’ll need to unzip or extract that file that can easily be achieved by downloading WinZip or WinRAR programs. Once it’s done, you’ll have a separate folder most probably in the same directory containing .xmp files. We recommend you leave these files as it is where they are local at the moment.
Open your Adobe Lightroom and go to the Develop module. In Adobe Lightroom Classic you can easily open the “Develop” module by pressing “D”. The software will open a new window where you’ll be able to see the Presets tab on the left-hand side which you can expand by clicking on it. You’ll see a little “+” sign on the right side of the Presets tab. Clicking on it will show you the “Import Preset(s) option.
If you use Lightroom CC, then the process is also very similar where you can achieve this option by pressing “E” to open the Edit panel. Here you’ll find the “Presets” tab. Instead of the “+” sign, you’ll need to find three dots at the same location, and then clicking on the “Import Presets” option will do the job.
Now you’ll need to navigate to the folder that you extracted or unzipped, containing .xmp files. Select all of them and then click the “Import” button and that’s about it. All of your downloaded presets will now be visible in the “Presets” tab.
5. Using the Downloaded Presets!
The first step to use the imported presets is to familiarize yourself with them. As recommended earlier, the easiest way is to consider applying each preset to a single photo in order to understand its effects. Don’t forget to create a copy of your original photos before applying the presets for backup purposes.It’s not a good practice to apply your new presets to an already edited photo as you won’t be able to observe the preset effects in detail. That’s because your existing edits will not necessarily be overridden by the effects of the presets.
Another amazing feature that Adobe Lightroom offers is that you can check the effects of a certain preset without even applying it. You can achieve it by hovering your cursor or any preset available in the “Preset” tab that will apply the effects temporarily. Moving the mouse will take the photo to its original state.
6. Creating Your Own Presets!
Lightroom allows you to even create your own presets as well. It’s the real power of the software and most probably the last stage to master the Adobe Lightroom presets. Along with applying a better look and feel by editing your photos, you can use Lightroom presets to speed up the whole editing process by creating presets with more detailed elements. Here’s how you can create your own presets in Lightroom.
There are times when you edit a particular photo and it turns out to be a masterpiece and you want to save that setting for further use. You can achieve it by creating your own presets. Undoubtedly you can use the Synchronize feature or copy those settings but that still costs you a considerable amount of time.
You can again go back to the “+” sign on the right-hand side of the “Preset” tab. Clicking on it will give you two options and the first one will be “Create Preset”. Or if you’re using Lightroom CC then you can click on the “three dots” to find the “Create Preset” option (same ad we did above in the importing preset section”.
Now you’ll see a long list of tick boxes but that must not confuse you as you can always research each tick box later on.
For now, you only need to click on the “Check All” option and consider unchecking the following to save time.
- Radial Filters
- Graduated Filters
Moreover, you need to expand some drop down to find these options if you are using Adobe Lightroom CC.
Don’t forget to name your preset as well to make sure that you can access that easily afterward. Once that’s done, click on the “Create” button in Lightroom Classic and the “Save” button in Lightroom CC. The preset creation process will be completed instantly as if nothing has happened, but it will be available in the “User Presets” option present in the Presets tab.
The reason why we recommended you uncheck the tick boxes mentioned above is that these features are unique to each photo. You don’t want to apply these features to every photo especially if you’re applying a preset to a whole batch.
7. Applying Presets to Multiple Photos
Applying a single preset to multiple photos is the most important functionality of the Lightroom preset feature. Not only does it save a lot of time, but it also allows you to even better results once you tweak each photo later on. If you’re thinking that you have selected multiple photos in the Filmstrip and selecting a particular preset will be applied to all of them, then you’re wrong. In this case, the preset will only be applied to the image you’re viewing currently.
Here’s how you can apply your presets to multiple photos.
In order to apply a preset to multiple photos in Lightroom classic, you need to select all the photos as desired. Clicking on the preset will apply the effects to the current photo but choosing the “Sync” option that’s available in the bottom-right panel will open a window.
Here you’ll see come boxes and again you should leave the following unchecked:
- Spot Removal
- Local Adjustment
- White Balance
Leaving these boxes unchecked will keep you from wiping out all the photo-specific edits accidentally that you might already have done. Here you’ll need to click on the “Synchronize” button and that’s about it. The preset will be applied to all the photos that you selected.
The process of applying a preset to multiple images in Lightroom CC is slightly different. First, you need to select the photos that you want and press:
- For PC: Ctrl + Shift + C
- For Mac: Command + Shift + C
Hitting this command will open up a window where you’ll need to deselect the following features for the same reason as mentioned above:
- While Balance
Now you’ll need to highlight all the images in the film strip and hit:
- For PC: Ctrl + Shift + V
- For Max: Command + Shift + V
The preset will be applied to all the photos that you selected.
We hope that this guide will kickstart your journey with Adobe Lightroom (Classic/CC) presets. Keep in mind that it’s one of the best ways to take your photo editing game to another level to achieve the results that you want. Feel free to let us know about your experiences.