7 Reasons Why You’d be Crazy Not to use Lightroom Presets

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Today, in this digital age, your job isn’t done once you’ve taken the photos, you’re really only halfway there. You need to edit your photos. Luckily, using Adobe Lightroom, combined with some really high-quality presets, you can instantly start getting amazing results, rather than spin your wheels being frustrated trying to edit your photos.

But first – what is a Lightroom preset?

DPS Presets Article Cover Photo

A Lightroom preset is simply a collection of photo edit settings inside of Lightroom that are bundled into a single click allowing you to edit photos far more efficiently than you would otherwise by repeating those same settings and editing steps one by one.

Here are 7 reasons why you’d be crazy not to use Lightroom presets:

Save Time

When using Lightroom presets, with only one click you’ll be able to instantly get your photos to an 85-90% edited state, and sometimes you’ll even be completely done with one click! Rather than edit each photo from start to finish, you can spend your time on the fine-tuning part of the editing process.

Simple to Use

Learning any new software can be intimidating, and take time to master. While it’s certainly important to always take strides at truly learning the program, using presets will let you instantly get started in Lightroom, and edit your photos simpler than ever before.

LR Preset Screenshot what and why presets

Variety

Does the photo look best in black and white or a sepia edit? Or maybe a vibrant color edit or a subdued vintage look? Using Lightroom presets will give you a ton of creative variety right at your fingertips so you can effectively try different edits and see which style is most fitting for a particular photo, or even full photo session. Quick tip – when you hover over a different preset, Lightroom will show you a preview of how that photo will look with that preset applied (in the Navigator box, at the top of the left panel in the Develop Module, see screenshot above).

Digital Photography School Lightroom Presets 0001 Variety

Consistency

When you are editing an entire photo session, using the same presets across the whole photo shoot will give your images a more uniform and consistent look, as opposed to editing each and every photo one-by-one, which can yield varying settings and a disjointed look to your image set.

Completely Customizable

Have a preset you love, but you always have to slightly adjust the color or contrast? Or maybe your very own style has changed over time? No problem at all. Any develop preset you use inside Lightroom is completely customizable and it’s as easy as a couple mouse clicks.

DPS Customize Presets 750

Lightroom versus Photoshop

Presets work inside Lightroom and actions work inside Photoshop. Both programs have their place in a professional photographer’s editing workflow. However, Lightroom is the primary editing software of choice for both professionals and hobbyists alike. Not only is it far easier to use and learn compared to Photoshop, but within Lightroom all of your edits are non-destructive. That means that your original unedited photo is always stored in Lightroom so you can experiment as much or as little as you want, without ever degrading the quality of your original image.

Presets + Batch Editing = The Winning Combo

Final Landscape 750

Example from the dPS 101 Lightroom Presets Pack

One of the greatest benefits of using Lightroom is its ability to edit a lot of photos very quickly by batch editing, or syncing, your settings from one photo to many at once. When you combine high-quality presets with batch editing in Lightroom you will be able to drastically cut down your complete photo editing time per session.

Now that you have a better understanding of how using Lightroom presets can dramatically reduce the amount of time you spend editing your photos, while getting you better results and increasing your creativity – it’s time to grab some presets for you to use inside of Lightroom.

Introducing the dPS 101 Lightroom Presets Pack

You can scour the web to research and find different Lightroom presets, you can choose to create your own, or you can make your life really easy and purchase the official Digital Photography School – 101 Lightroom Presets Pack that I’ve created.

Final Portraits 750

Example using the Summer Sun preset from the dPS 101 Lightroom Presets Pack

This ultimate preset bundle includes seven different themes, so you can easily find and use a preset that is the most fitting for your specific photo, without having to waste any time. You’ll find presets dedicated for portraits, stunning black and white & sepia presets, presets for landscape photography, street photography, vintage presets and much more.

It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or professional, you’ll love these presets and the amazing results you’ll get from them. Click here to learn more and save big by getting them during this limited time introductory special promotion price.

Final Street 750

Example from the dPS 101 Lightroom Presets Pack


presets_coverdPS 101 Lightroom Presets Pack

Cole’s handcrafted a brand new set of presets, exclusive to dPS.

  • Instant Digital Download
  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or Credit Card

Try Our Presets: dPS has created two beautiful sets of Lightroom Presets. They are our 101 Lightroom Presets Pack and our 101 Landscape Lightroom Presets Pack.

Read more from our Post Production category

Cole Joseph is the owner of Cole Joseph Photography, and founder of Cole's Classroom - an online photography training blog focused on making you a better photographer.

  • Couldn’t agree more! Here are some free professional presets to get you all started. http://eepurl.com/bu9Woz

  • Balayage

    Using presets is like using a point-n-shoot camera. Somebody else decided what your picture should look like without even seeing the image. Yes, there may be some that could be helpful if you are in a hurry and only want to get close to what you want the finished product to look like. In most cases, when I have used a preset, I end up tweaking again to get the look I want.

  • SpaceKat

    Presents are for noobs. (is that still a word?) You will spend more time in Lightroom just cycling through the stupid presets. Learn the develop module and use it. It’s quick easy and most importantly, it applies to the actual photo you are editing.

  • Adam Wood

    Wasn’t that the point of the article? 85-90% there means tweaking again to get the look yo u want. Presets aren’t for playing or finalizing. They are for applying most of the changes you’d make manually over and over and then you apply the subtle details to make it your own.

  • Yep…exactly Adam 🙂

  • If every single one of your photos doesn’t require most of the same adjustments, I’d totally agree with you. At least for my style and workflow, there are a certain amount of adjustments I make to ALL my photos…why not make a preset to save time? Then focus on the fine tuning portion… but hey, to each’s own 🙂

  • SpaceKat

    Good point Cole. I apply a certain amount of presets to all my photos when I import the photos into Lightroom. Lens correction, keywords, metadata etc. Once in Lightroom I can select the group of photos that were shot under the same conditions and choose one to apply my adjustments. Once done I can sync to all the others in the same batch. (Or use Auto Sync which I do). I would rather know exactly what I have done than to have to poke around in all the adjustment panels trying to figure out what a preset that Trey Ratcliff says “is really cool” has been doing to my photos. My photos, my way, from start to finish.
    Time saver presets are fine, but creative presets are off limits to me. Cheers mate!

  • I think the sentiment here is that canned presets from a company are a waste and that the photographer artist should do it themselves. Building your own presets to aid in workflow is different and makes a ton of sense for the standard corrections your style needs. That is also how I tend to view them.

  • I’ve really been trying to see this site as a great resource, but this article “jumps the shark” for me. It’s nothing more than a thinly veiled advertisement for this preset pack.

    I can’t see any way that encouraging a starting artist to use a preset will help them learn the craft. It’s like handing a paint by number to a beginning painter and telling them all the hard work is done already. In the old days you got into the chemicals and the developer, now you need to get into the sliders and digital tools to learn what you’re doing.

    I’d also love to know how presets will provide consistency to a shoot if you don’t first take all the images with the same settings and under the same lighting.

  • Most of the site is just that – ways for established shooters and such to shill their products. It reminds me of an article written by Darlene, who went into detail of the ‘basic’ kind of kit for overseas travel, and listed over $50,000 of gear.

  • It’s really a shame, because there is some great content on this site. I think something has definitely changed lately and it has shifted to many more of these kind of articles. I liked that it used to present more unbiased opinions of products and techniques, but after this article I’m not so sure the credibility is there.

  • I try to experiment all the presets I can, but I always end not using them, because I know what they do and I know I can do the same by myself (I enjoy editing manually).

  • Diogenes_Down_Under

    Even free i don’t think i would use presets except maybe if i was a wedding photographer and time was an issue. Otherwise i would rather paint by my own numbers. I suppose people have to make a dollar. This site seems to have a little more integrity than f stoppers for instance…

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  • Chilifresserin

    I bought a preset pack when I was starting out with Lightroom and it was the biggest waste of money ever. I had done the Adobe tutorials and was sold by a great write up on a blog. I played with them a little, but never actually used them. I prefer working on my own. I’ll work on one photo, then sync across the set and then go through and make the small adjustments on each photo. You learn better that way and it doesn’t cost extra. At least the preset pack I bought was bundled with some video tutorials. I picked up a couple tips from those, but the presets are useless.

    I also agree with a lot of the other posters that this site is becoming less and less useful. I don’t want thinly veiled ads disguised as articles.

  • Richard_s1881

    What does it mean by “Guaranteed for 2 full months”?

  • JRG

    And it just happens that you sell the preset pack in the same article. Smooth.

    /ironic

  • I meant that SpaceKat’s comment was affirming how much of a waste canned presets are.

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  • JRG

    My comment was meant to be addressed to Cole, not you. Sorry.

  • DisentAgain

    *Make* a preset – sure. But rely on someone else’s? Never.

  • laura

    Any good photographer should learn how to edit images on their own not use presets. They might be good for beginners as I once used them but you are not going to learn at all if you use them and its just as important knowing how to edit your images as it is knowing how to use your camera.
    On top of that I’ve rarely actually had great results with presets and they are not always consistent.

  • Kathie

    Saw this article publicised today and clicked on the link to buy the presets but it says it’s $50, not $20 as mentioned above. Just thought I should mention it.

  • That might be because the article is over five months old, and the price they’re shilling the canned crap for has increased. You’re better off learning to make your own adjustments than using someone else’s.

  • Chris Hoffman

    I might also add it’s a nigtmare sifting through badly named presets. Riverrun? Summer sun? Baguette? The hell does that preset even do?
    I tried canned presets for about a month long, long ago – the problem was that you had no clue which did what, and some presets really only work for a photo exposed a certain way.
    I fully abandoned the silly canned ones, and made my own with very clear (albeit lengthy) names so I know what each one does. Mine also only affect ONE or TWO adjustments, not all of them in one go.

  • Michael Reynolds

    IMHO presets are a waste of time. Spend time making all the adjustments yourself. If you have similar shots in the same light and setting just sync them up. Apart from auto WB and exposure everything else really needs manual individual correction and even auto WB and auto exposure don’t always work exactly as you want…

  • Gabriele Cripezzi

    Why do you need to say this negativity right here and why is it a shame? What is the problem with you guys? Do you like people who work for free? I don’t.
    This is their website and beside giving lots of useful inputs and suggestions to both pros and hobbyists, they also like to sell to make money. So what?
    Beside, do you know that the 90% of “photographers” out there is shared between hobbyist and “pro-wannabe’s”? Presets are exactly what the article says and I think are a must for those who want to achieve good results without spending too much time in post. You don’t need to be an artist to be a pro and doing your best to maximize productivity is part of being a professional (time is money). There’s no lies in this article while there is plenty of lies out there between us and the idiot and ignorant customers (the mass) we get thousands of $$$ for sh…y photos.

  • Purchased presets are good for one thing: reverse engineering. See what settings are being used to achive that look and learn from it. Then create your own presets.

    Custom/user presets, however, are a real time saver.

  • Then make your own presets; that’s where the real power is. Once you’ve masted the develop settings and found your own style, it’s easy to turn these into time-saving present that get you 90% of the way with your edits in just a couple of clicks. Then you do the fine tuning.

  • To all those dismissing presets and advising everyone else does, I do hope you’re not including user/custom presets in that blanket dismissal, and if indeed you’re not it’d be good to make that distinction for the benefit of others 🙂

    Once you’re proficient in the develop module and if you’ve found/honed your editing style, setting up your own presets is extremely powerful. It takes a while and a bit of logical/creative thinking to perfect your set, and you’ll likely continuously make small additions as your style develops, but it saves a heck of a lot of time in the long run.

    Most of us will find ourselves using very similar develop settings for certain lighting/subject situations. Identifying this pattern and setting yourself up some presets to replicate it in a few clicks can be a real time saver. It’s also an extremely quick way to try several styles back-to-back to see what suits that particular image best.

    I <3 *custom* presets.

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