Why Use Lightroom Presets?

Why Use Lightroom Presets?

4 Reasons to Integrate Presets in your Lightroom Workflow

Professional Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions

Luxe Lens Essentials Collection - Details (Strong) preset

Presets are a key Lightroom feature. A preset is a collection of saved settings that editors can readily recall and apply to any photograph in a Lightroom catalog. Providing photo cataloging and management have been mastered, exploration of the Develop module is the point in the learning process where the fun begins! Whether you are looking for an ultra-realistic, artsy or other style, presets can deliver (and fast!) by utilizing the full power of Lightroom.

You might argue that comprehensive understanding of the Develop panels is all you need to arrive at stunning results. I will not disagree, especially since presets use exactly the same tools that we adjust in our post-processing workflow. But I believe that the four reasons below will convince you to invest some time on preset use and experimentation.

1.  Inspiration

Presets can truly become your photographic benefactor. Let me explain why. As we move through our journey as a photographer, photo editing and enjoyment of favorite photographers will help to direct us. We will develop our personal artistic preferences and reproduce that esthetic in our image capture and subsequent editing. We even expect certain "looks" from photographers we follow in social media! There are times, however, when we are either creatively drained or seek a new look and fresh ground for experimentation. Here, presets are your best friend. Open a photo in the Develop module and hover over your preset list. You can instantly see in the Navigator preview an enormous number of variations of the same photo, choose the ones you like most and proceed, if you like, to edit even further. The example below shows the same photo with different Luxe Lens presets applied.

Professional Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions

Luxe Lens Essentials Collection - Standard (Strong) preset
Professional Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions
Luxe Lens Essentials Collection - Clear B&W (Light) preset
Professional Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions
Luxe Lens Essentials Collection - Punchy Matte (Light) preset
Professional Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions
Luxe Lens Essentials Collection - Warm & Colorful preset
Professional Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions
Professional Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions
Luxe Lens Essentials Collection- Cross process Y&B Light preset

Professional Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions

Luxe Lens Essentials Collection - Orange Wash preset

Professional Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions

Luxe Lens Essentials Collection - B&W Faded Blue Light preset

 

Within minutes, I was able to reinvent the image, achieving results that would otherwise take me a very long time to explore manually. When working on tight deadlines, presets can be a game changer.

2.  Repetition - Speed

Photography can at times involve shooting subjects repetitively. Fashion shoots and weddings require shooting a large number of shots to get the right pose or facial expression. Sports shoots capture action with large bursts that can at times involve hundreds of images. Even after culling unwanted images, presets are the perfect answer to the scale that manual editing would otherwise involve. Presets will help you avoid repetitive energy sapping tasks and allow you to put your precious time in better use. If none of your presets exactly suits you, it will be much faster to adapt an existing one from your list to create a new one instead of tackling the job manually.

 3.  Emphasis - Focus

Preset developers typically organize preset collections by category or type. As you will see in The Luxe Lens preset collections, you can readily chose a collection of presets that meet your photo editing needs. The Luxe Lens offers collections suitable for general use, seasonal shoots, wedding photography, portraits, etc. Each category emphasizes features applicable to that situation. For example, the Luxe Portrait Collection includes presets that emphasize skin tone and tend to create moody atmosphere. The Luxe Touch of Tweed Autumn Collection presets accentuate the reds and oranges of fallen leaves. Have fun with presets by exploring options from different categories. For example, film emulation presets is something always worth exploring for any type of photograph.

Adjustment brush presets allow you to edit specific areas and features of your photos. No need to reinvent the wheel for your portrait retouching. A set of portrait brush presets will let you work on skin, teeth, eyes, eyelashes, lips, and more.

In the example below I used the Luxe Lens Standard Warm preset from the Autumn Touch of Tweed Collection for the overall photo and the Luxe Lens Recover Highlights brush from the Film Collection to tone down the top right sunny part of the photo. It all took less than one minute.

Professional Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions

Luxe Touch of Tweed Autumn Collection - Standard Warm preset + Brixton Film Essentials Collection - Recover Highlights brush

 4.  Creativity

If you are worried that presets will kill your creative vision or ability to edit in Lightroom, I would say it is the exact opposite. Not only can you adjust presets to suit your specific vision, they can help you improve your Lightroom editing skills. When you apply your favorite preset, you can look at its settings, play around with them, and understand how they affect your photo. This will extend your understanding of Lightroom, enhance the way you go about editing, and achieve a more diverse range of styles.

Presets have nothing to hide from their user. They are a very efficient and powerful way to turbo boost your Lightroom editing abilities for results that would otherwise take ages to even imagine on our own. Even if you are a novice Lightroom editor, it is never too early to invest in Lightroom presets.

 


About the Author: Dimitrios Matsoulis is an engineer that studied in the UK and has an industrial automation and solar energy background. His love for outdoor  activities and photography has naturally led him to photo editing. He uses Lightroom and Photoshop for his own photography as well as freelancing. He lives in Greece and maintains his online presence via his  personal photography blog, 500px and Instagram.


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