Lightroom: Using Presets for Image Editing

Jun 7, 2016  By William Royce
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I have found that using presets in the Develop module is a major time saver, and can lead to a more consistent look to your images.  This article will describe how the preset works, show you how to apply the Adobe-supplied presets that come with Lightroom, create user (customized)  presets, and how to modify/update your user  presets. Further, in the Library module, I will describe how to apply presets to images during the import process and how to “batch” process images using presets.

A preset in the Develop module is simply a collection of edit commands using the same edit controls (sliders) you normally use manually.  To apply a preset in the Develop module, for example, simply click on the preset name in the Preset panel on the left side of the workspace,  and the edit commands within that preset are automatically applied to the image you are editing.

The Preset panel display is shown in Figure 1.  This shows a list of Lightroom and User presets. For illustration purposes I have highlighted the “Aged Photo” preset that is provided under Lightroom Color Presets.  Figure 2 shows an image that has not been edited.  Figure 3 shows the same image after clicking on the preset “Aged Photo”.  When a preset is applied, Lightroom moves the same edit controls that you would move to achieve the same result.  Figure 4 shows the Basic panel before applying the preset and Figure 5 shows the same panel with the preset commands applied.  You can see that to achieve the “aged photo” look Lightroom changed the  Color Temperature and Tint, darkened the blacks, and reduced Vibrance and Saturation.  Presets can use any of the edit commands available to you, to include HSL, Tone Curve, Split Toning, Detail,  Lens Corrections, etc..    Note: you can override (adjust)  any of the commands that result from the application of a preset.

Figure 1

Figure 1

 

Figure 2. Unedited image.

Figure 2. Unedited image.

 

Figure 3. Image after application of “Aged Photo” preset.

Figure 3. Image after application of “Aged Photo” preset.

 

Figure 4. Basic panel before selecting the preset.

Figure 4. Basic panel before selecting the preset.

 

Figure 5. Basic panel after selecting “Aged Photo” Preset

Figure 5. Basic panel
after selecting “Aged Photo” Preset

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