How to use Presets in Lightroom

January 30, 2019 · 4 minute read
Lightroom preset tutorial image

Lightroom is one of the most, if not THE most, used software in the photography world. It’s a creative tool that gives us the ability to develop our photos according to our style. But sometimes we have a dozen photos to edit and we don’t have the time to regulate every single parameter. Adobe Lightroom has the perfect tool for us, the Presets, and in this tutorial, I’ll teach you how to get the best from them.

Independently of the Lightroom version you are using right now, you have the ability to use some preloaded Presets, create your own, or import styles you downloaded from internet.

First thing first: How do I access the Presets panel?

  1. Open Lightroom
  2. Select a photo from the Library
  3. Click on Develop tab
  4. The Presets Panel is on your left, If you cannot see it, right click on an empty area of the column and select “Presets”. lightroom presets panel
  5. Select also “Snapshots”, you will see why in during the tutorial.

How to use the Presets

In the preset menù, we can see different folders, clicking on the triangle we will access the Presets.

Hovering with the mouse on each preset we will see a preview of the effect in the navigator window.

Before applying the effect click on the “+” icon in the Snapshots panel. This will create a Backup copy of your setting, so you always come back if you don’t like the preset.

To apply the style click on the preset’s name. You can also click and drag it on the photos in your film strip (activate it pressing F6 or navigating in “Window - Panels - Filmstrip”) lightroom filmstrip panel

To apply your preset to multiple images go in the Library tab, select the photos (Ctrl + click or using the Painter tool) lightroom painter tool

Open the Quick Develop panel (if you don’t see it, right click in a blank area) and select your preset in the “Saved Preset” menù.

How to create your preset

Lightroom gives us the ability to create a preset for literally everything. From the exposure setting to the curve, to the color setting, camera, and lens calibration, etc, the sky is the limit, but I have to give you a little advice.

The Presets are really powerful, but they are not smart and creative as us, and they don’t adapt to different situations.

If you have different photos, shot in different conditions (multiple expositions, white balance, cameras), the preset will not look as you expect, because the starting point is different so it will need some adjustment, especially in the exposition panel. For that reason I suggest you to create multiple Presets for different developing stages.

But let’s get into action

To create a new preset:

  1. Go in the Develop tab
  2. Create a new snapshot (trust me, this habit will save you tons of problems in the future, and it’s also free)
  3. Develop yout photo
  4. Click on the “+” icon in the preset Panel
  5. Now you can select the settings you want to save, you can also click on “check all” to select everything (I do not advise doing that) lightroom save preset window
  6. Rename your custom preset and select the folder where you want to save it, you can also create a new folder

Bonus tip!

As I wrote, in the beginning, you can export and import the Presets.

To export them just right click on the preset’s name and select “export”

Save the file *.lrtemplate where you want

To import a preset just right click on the Presets list and select “import”

Navigate to the folder where your preset are and select them

You can also import a preset folder clicking in “Edit - Preferences”, then “Show Lightroom Presets Folder”, paste your Presets in a folder and restart Lightroom. Now you will have a new folder in the Presets panel.

Hoping that this tutorial was useful, consider following me on the socials so you can stay tuned for the next one!

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