Using Lightroom Presets

Peter Bargh explains how Lightroom presets can save you time when making similar changes to your photos. Also how they let you perform and repeat advanced colourising and vignetting effects as well as apply treatments perfected by other users.

| Adobe Lightroom in Lightroom
Using Lightroom Presets: Lightroom
Lightroom has a useful option to save a series of adjustments / filters as a preset so you can reapply those settings to other photos later.

These presets appear on the left of the screen when you're in the Develop module.

By default the program installs Lightroom's ready made collection of presets which includes popular ones such as infrared, various vignettes, antique or split toning and a wide range of black & white contrast control options.

Hovering over the link on the left-hand menu shows the effect of the preset on your photo in the small preview window above the menu.

Using Lightroom Presets: Lightroom preset being selected

If you like the effect you apply by clicking on the link. If you change your mind after clicking you can use the ctrl + z keys to undo that one change, or click the reset button to restore to the original photo.

Saving presets

You aren't just limited to the presets provided by Adobe with the software either. Lightroom lets you save settings you've already made to your photo as presets. So if, for example, you've taken a series of photos with a blue sky that's not come out well and looks drab, you could make changes to one of your photos by increasing overall or blue filter saturation, clarity, and whites and blacks and then, when you're happy with all the adjustments, click on Develop from the the main menu (at the top of the page not the Develop module) and choose New Preset. This brings up a window that lets you name the preset and choose where it's displayed in the presets menu. When the window is open you can remove specific settings from the filter too.

KEY TIP: Ctrl+Shift+N opens up this window

You can create new folders for presets, so all similar ones are stored and listed on the menu together.
Using Lightroom Presets: Saving a Lightroom preset

Click Create to save a preset. It will now appear in the preset menu on the left. You choose that preset when you want to apply similar settings to other photos.

The good thing about Lightroom is that the filters can be exported. So when you have a set you are proud of you could share them on your web site or blog, or upload them to other sharing networks for others to use.

Right click on the preset in the left menu and select Export.

Exported presets are saved as .lrtemplate files and can then be imported by other users into their Lightroom presets.

How to Import presets

There are two ways to import lightroom presets. The easiest for single presets is to right click on the folder where you want your new preset to appear and select Import. Then locate the preset on your hard drive and click open. The preset will then appear on the list and will be saved in your presets folder on your hard drive.

The other way is to download a set to your hard drive and then manually find your Lightroom Presets folder and copy the newly downloaded files into that folder. It should be in your Lightroom Develop Presets folder. In Windows 7 the full path is User > AppData > Roaming > Adobe > Lightroom > Develop Presets.

You will find a huge range of presets that have been created by Lightroom users, some individual presets others large sets of styles. Some charge for theirs, but you'll find plenty of free ones. Start your journey at the Lightroom Exchange part of the Adobe site.

If there's an effect you've been trying to achieve it's likely someone else will have got there before you. So you don't have to struggle to try to find a solution to cross processing, for example. Just do a search, find a preset, download and import and then fine tune settings and save as a new personally customised preset.

TOP TIP: Try splitting up processing treatments so that you have several steps and can apply each or all to photos. For example a Cross Processed Photo with a specific style of colour, vignette and noise might be useful if the three elements were split and saved in a Cross Processing folder. Then you could access these three presets and apply one, two or all three of them to a photo.

Visit Wex Photographic to purchase the latest edition of Lightoom. You can view more Lightroom tutorials here: Lightroom Photography Techniques

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Mashers Avatar
Mashers 12 England
10 Jan 2013 3:54PM
Really helpful Lightroom advice - i learnt loads even though I have used Lightroom for a few months

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