How to create presets in Lightroom

Published by | Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Lightroom presets are a popular way to add great looks to your photos with just a few clicks. You can apply any of the presets that come with Lightroom or install third-party presets. When you’re feeling creative, make your own unique Develop presets by following these simple steps:

1. Adjust a representative photo

Faux HDR look preset

Open a photo into Lightroom’s Develop module, and adjust the image to the look you want using any of the controls in the panels on the right. For example, I’ve set the controls in the Basic panel to give this portrait a grungy faux HDR look.

2. Save these settings as a preset

Develop Preset window

To save your Develop settings as a preset, click the Plus button in the Presets panel in the Develop module. The New Develop Preset window opens.

Enter a name for your preset. From the Folder menu, choose a preset folder or make a new one. Folders appear in the Presets panel and are useful for organizing your growing list of presets.

In the Settings area, check only those properties that you used on this photo in the Develop module and that you want to see on every photo to which you’ll apply this preset. To avoid including an unwanted property, start by clicking the Check None button. Then add a check mark to each property you do want to include in your preset. Notice that there is no check box for cropping or spot removal, because those properties can’t be included in a Develop preset.

Click the Create button. Your new preset now appears in the Develop module’s Presets panel, ready to be applied to more photos.

3. Test your preset on another photo

Applying your preset

Open another photo into the Develop module. To preview how your new preset will look on this photo, hover over that preset in the Presets panel and take a look at the preview that appears in the Navigator panel.

To apply the preset to this photo, click its name in the Presets panel. Fine-tune the results on this photo using any of the Develop module controls. You can even add more presets to this photo, keeping in mind that a subsequent preset will control any setting that’s included in both presets.

To apply a preset to multiple photos, go to the Library module and select those photos in the grid. Click the dropdown menu in the Quick Develop panel, and select your preset from that menu, which displays all the same presets as the Presets panel in the Develop module.

For more on Presets, see my lynda.com course Using Presets in Lightroom.

Adobe and Lightroom are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.

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