Everything You Need to Know About Lightroom Presets 

Have you ever admired the vintage matte of portraits, the warmth of desert dunes, the appetizingly depicted muffins, or the drama of wedding photos on Instagram?

The secret of a such aesthetic appeal lies in the use of Cinematic Collection or other Lightroom presets from Skylum or other software companies. Photographers, bloggers, and influencers apply them as art, making incredible edits to many photos at once without much effort. In this article, we’ll consider everything you need to know about this tool, including what it means, and how to use it in the best way.

Let`s Start With the Definition 

There is an opinion in society that Lightroom presets are the same as filters that we usually apply to each photo during post-processing. But in fact, it is something else, despite that it is a similar tool. It is a set of pre-saved settings that are used when processing images. Developers created them to improve brightness, saturation, and other parameters, as well as give photos a uniform style. And to achieve all this, you just need one click. That is, as soon as you click on it, it will immediately turn your photos into impressive art.

Where Can You Find Them? 

Such settings are in both mobile and desktop versions. It is easy to find them. After launching the program and loading the images you want to process, go to Develop Mode. This is where you’ll see Presets on the left panel.

Why Should I Use Presets?

Using pre-saved settings gives you wide opportunities for creativity, namely:

  • Consistent style.Certainly, each photo from one photo shoot has its own personality. But if you edit each image separately and differently, you’ll get a general picture like a vinaigrette in your feed or personal collection, which looks unbalanced and unattractive. What about each preset, it applies the same treatment to all your photos, which resonates with the tone of voice, and style so that they look like one cohesive picture.
  • The workflow is much faster. We live in a dynamic world. So, time is becoming more and more valuable, especially if you are a photographer who must process a lot of photos from weddings or thematic photoshoots quickly. Presets save a lot of time. You can see for yourself. Just select the option you want and click once with your mouse. And voilà, the magic of photo transformation is right in front of your eyes!
  • The ability of batch editing. It is a good benefit for you if you spend several hours processing each photo separately. After all, you can choose a preset that is best suited for your idea and apply it to all the photos from your wedding, birthday party, autumn photoshoot in the forest, or another event. And then all you need is to make a certain adjustment that will take a few minutes.
  • Comparison before and after editing. If you process photos with different editors, you’ve probably experienced opening multiple tabs manually to see your images before and after processing. Lightroom's developers took this inconvenience into account, so they create a Split modethat allows you easily to see your photos before and after processing.
  • You can create your own presets. Adobe’s product makes you feel like a real effects creator. Thus, you noticed that by playing with certain settings and parameters you got the perfect picture of mountains, waterfalls, or other places. You can save this setting and use it for other images related to nature or other topics.

In general, settings are a powerful tool that allows you to make amazing transformations with your photos anytime and anywhere, which is very convenient in the conditions of modern life.

Where Can You Find Them

The Main Nuances

It is very simple to use. Below we’ll consider the main parts of processing photos with such a tool step by step.

Step#1: Import photos 

First launch the program and choose the photos you want to process. Then click the Edit menu and click the Presets button. If you are working with this program for the first time, we recommend you use the built-in presets. You’ll find them in the Recommended category. And if you already have your own ready-made options, click on Your Favorites and select the Saved option. You can also look for interesting options in the Premium.

Step#2: Adjustment

After you’ve made a selection and applied it to your photos, you may see that the overall picture is incomplete. That’s why you need to adjust the images a bit to make them look harmonious. To do this, we recommend you do the following:

  • Basic panel.Here you adjust the exposure, highlights, shadows, blacks & whites, and clarity.
  • Tone curve panel. We recommend raising the level of shadows and reducing light tones. Do you see that the photo is too bright? In this case, reduce mid-tones.
  • HSL (Hue, Saturation, luminance) panel.If you want your photos to look more natural, this panel will help you achieve that by playing with primary colors. For example, for a portrait, you can adjust the orange and blue colors to bring them closer to skin tones. And in the case of turquoise ocean, green mountains, or bright sunshine you can change the tone to match the way natural wonders look in reality.
  • Color Grading Panel. If necessary you can adjust highlight, mid, or shadow tones.

Step#3: Export

We have reached the final step. Before exporting the image, select the appropriate size, for example, 4:5 for Instagram.

How to Save a Preset in Lightroom 

We've walked you through step-by-step instructions. Let's take a closer look at how to save edited photos as pre-saved settings. To do this, select the photo you want to save in the Open tab and click Save as Preset. Then, under the All Photos tab, select the photo you want to save. In the Edit menu, click Presets and choose the desired option from the My Presets category.

How to Create a Preset in Lightroom 

Creating is another important thing that allows you to unleash your creativity to the fullest. So, how to make a preset in Lightroom? It’s very simple. To create pre-saved settings from a clean photo, go to the Develop module and experiment around with different image settings until you get the perfect result. Then click on the “+” icon at the top of the left panel and select Create Preset.


As you can see, presets are a powerful tool that saves 90% of your time, makes your workflow easy, and gives your photos vintage, film, or other special touches. You can test them on any image and make adjustments to get stunning results that will delight your viewers with their aesthetics.

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