Adobe Lightroom comes with over 40 presets already available, and while there are an abundance of free presets available online via sites like Reddit, the result of using free presets can be less than satisfying.
If you’ve had a good look around the Develop module in Adobe Lightroom, you would have spotted in the left panel a section called ‘Presets’. Presets are one of the most useful tools available in Adobe Lightroom, and can help you speed up your editing process to literally just one click!
However, not all Lightroom Presets are the same.
Presets seem to fall in to one of two groups. A Preset is either poor quality, and can leave your image looking terrible, or, a Preset has been professionally created by someone who knows what they are doing, giving breath-taking results.
The poor quality Presets are usually those that are found online for free. Worst still, a pack of Presets from a free provider, or from somewhere like Reddit will probably contain over 100 separate Presets - meaning you will need to spend hours sorting out the trash from the potentially useful.
The Benefits of Using Paid Presets
Professionally created Presets are usually available in much smaller quantities and mostly centered around a particular look; Fall colors for example. Pro Presets have been much more concisely thought out, fine tuned and then adjusted further over a longer period of time, where they have been tested on a wide range of images to ensure their quality and usability.
If you haven’t used Presets before, then you should take the opportunity to get in to the Develop module and have a play around. The Presets that are included with Adobe Lightroom cover basic corrections and looks.
From the Library module, use keyboard shortcut ‘D’ to enter the Develop Module.
Once in the Develop Module, you will see in the left panel the tab labeled ‘Presets’. Click this tab to open up the Preset library.
You can navigate through the list of Presets. Notice that when your mouse pointer is sitting on a Presets name, the Preset is previewed on your image. To make the Preset active, simply click.
Once you’ve clicked on a Preset to activate it, you will see the adjustments contained within that Preset appear in the Adjustments panel on the right of the screen.
If you want to check out a side-by-side comparison of what your image looked like before and after applying the Preset, simply hit ‘Y’ on your keyboard.
As you can see, applying the High Contrast & Detail Preset from Adobe has really made the whites and blacks on the car pop. The changes are subtle, but clearly demonstrate how quality, professionally created Presets can provide great results in a single click.
Once you have purchased a new pack of Lightroom Presets, and downloaded them to your computer, you need to navigate to the downloaded folder and make sure its contents are unzipped.
From the Adobe Lightroom Develop module, navigate to the Presets tab on the left panel. Next to Preset tab, click on the ‘+’ symbol.
From the drop-down menu, click ‘Import Presets’.
From the window that appears, navigate to the folder of Presets you downloaded and select the .xmp files contained within the folder - these are your Preset files. Click enter, and your new Presets will be imported in to Lightroom and will appear under the ‘User Presets’ section of the Presets tab.
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