You’ve probably seen Lightroom Presets advertised everywhere. Have you considered them but weren’t quite sure if you would gain anything from it? Read further and you’ll find my thoughts on them, how I use them, and whether I think it’s worth picking up presets from other artists.

Can a preset help you go from a blank image to something spectacular?

What is a Lightroom Preset?

Think of a Lightroom Preset as a default style that you can apply to any image. When a preset is created any of the develop options can be used to create it. Once made it can them be applied to any photograph when developing. After applying all of the develop options will change to match what is inside the preset, and then these can then be tweaked further to get the end edit that you want.

Lightroom presets can be bought from other artists or you can make your own based on your existing edits.

How I use Lightroom Presets

Sometimes I know exactly what I want from an image so won’t touch the presets panel. Other times, usually when I’m editing photographs in bulk after a nice forest walk, I’ll open up my list of presets and hover over each of them. As I hover over the photograph changes to match the preset style and I can get an idea of what the image looks like. I find this to be a great way to see what potential a photo holds and why style I’m looking for. Over the years I’ve built up a fair few and have started to get a few particular favourites that I go to by name. I find them to be a great aid in the development process.

The same photograph with four different presets applied

Should you buy Lightroom Presets?

As with a lot of things in photography the answer to this depends on what you’re trying to achieve and how much you’re willing to pay to get there. It’s a relatively simple task to create your own presets, but when you buy another artists presets you’re buying into there style and possibly a little bit of their thought process when editing photographs. As a bonus they’re (usually) relatively cheap so it’s not too bad too feel ripped off in the process.

A key thing to understand here is that presets only get you half way. A preset will have been made from a particular photo and it’s not guaranteed that it will elevate your photographs to the same goals without a little bit of effort on your part. But they do take away some of the editing weight, and as mentioned above can be seen as a great way to try some different styles and branch out of your comfort zone.

Cheeky plug, but if you do want some presets to try check out the ones for sale on my Ko-Fi page here:

That’s it

And that’s it. I hope you’ve found this article useful. If you want to support this site check out my page and buy me a coffee. If you’re interested in the gear I use to take photos check out the My Gear page

Categories: Tutorials


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