4 Reasons to Integrate Presets in your Lightroom Workflow
Luxe Essentials Collection - Details 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, Lightroom 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.
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 aesthetic 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.
Original Shot (Credit: Mama's Love Photography)
Luxe Essentials Collection - Standard Strong Preset
Luxe Essentials Collection - B&W Clear Strong Preset
Luxe Essentials Collection - Punchy Matte Strong Preset
Luxe Essentials Collection - Warm & Colorful Preset
Luxe Essentials Collection - Vivid HDR Preset
Luxe Essentials Collection - Cross Process Y&B Strong Preset
Luxe Essentials Collection - Gritty Brown preset
Luxe 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 and across the many brands offered at Luxe, 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 and brands. Brixton Film and ColorMade, for example, offer film emulation presets, which are always worth exploring for any type of photograph, especially when searching for a touch of nostalgia or something moody and modern. Light & Airy offers a variety of on-trend light, bright, and crisp edits. Soda Pop Shop showcases vibrant colors for bloggers and travel enthusiasts. Lighthouse offers a reserved, well-balanced edit, professional and clean, for documenting true-to-life colors and scenes.
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 Brixton Film Cool Dusk Film preset from the Brixton Film Twilight Meadows Collection for the overall photo edit and the Luxe Lens Darken brush from the Luxe Essentials Collection to darken the water around the subject's feet, to best bring everything into clean focus. It all took less than one minute.
Original Image (Credit: Shelby Robinson)
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.