Lightroom’s default presets do not always have what you are looking for. In this article I will show you 20 free Lightroom presets for portraits to download.
Altphotos has created a pack with 10 free Lightroom presets. These will help you enhance many of your images. Nine of them are color presets and one is White & Black.
The color presets have a variety of effects. You will be able to warm the colors of your portraits or cool them down. Or you can enhance either the browns or the blues or darken the color. It even offers a couple that give a subtle retro look.
A nice thing about this pack is that you can find preset descriptions on the website. This way you will know beforehand which exact effect each preset will produce.
You can download them all at once too (no need to use your email address).
This preset belongs to the PresetLove collection. This website offers you many Lightroom free presets. Most of them are suitable for portrait photography.
You can download them one by one but you do need to give them your email. They will send the preset to your mailbox and you will be subscribed to their newsletter.
If you prefer it, you can also download a bundle with more than 290 presets, but this one is not free.
One of my favorite presets from their big collection is the Warm Retro. It gives your portraits a vintage soft look. It increases both warmth and brightness and mutes them slightly.
The difference with other muted presets is that Warm retro enhances the sharpness of the portrait. It is crisp and detailed.
I recommend this preset if you are looking for a charming retro look. And want to keep the natural look of your images.
This one is also from Presetlove, but totally different to the previous one. This preset is great for urban and street portraits. It enhances the cool colors by adding greens, blues and violets to the shadows.
To balance the cool colors, it also saturates the warm tones, achieving in this way a balanced image. It also increases the clarity and sharpening, giving a pop to your photos.
The great thing about this preset is that it adds a film look to the urban backgrounds of your portraits. At the same time, the skin color remains natural.
Presetlove’s “Shadow Crusher” saturates the image with strong tones. This increases both the exposure and the shadows and adds a dark vignette effect. All these result in a very impressive dark and dramatic photo.
This preset is great for urban photos, for giving a “tough and dangerous” look to your subject. It makes it excellent for competitive or extreme sport practitioners.
When you use this preset, keep in mind that it pulls the mid tones towards the extremities (especially to the dark). And it pulls the tint of the image towards the magenta.
You want to use it on a photo with a pretty wide spread histogram. Check that there aren’t too many purples and magenta colors in the photo.
The 80s and 90s were a great time for analogue photography. With the rising popularity of that era, it’s not surprising that people try to recreate it in digital ways.
If you want to give your photos an 80s twist, should check out Presetlove’s “All Gold Everything” preset . This preset will bring up the warm tones in your images and give them a yellow cast. It will make them look as if they were captured on a Kodak Gold film.
If you want to take a Stranger Things Style photo, give this free Lightroom preset a try.
The preset creates a beautiful old and vintage look. But it keeps and even enhances the details and sharpness of the image. Unlike black and white monochromatic presets, the orange-brown tone of the sepia enables the viewer to see more hues in the image. Increased clarity and whites complete this effect.
Keep in mind that this preset works better with intricate textures that it can emphasize.
Freelightroompresets is a great resource. They offer you 39 stunning Lightroom presets and most of them work great for portraits.
I like most of the 39 presets, but my favorite one is the Luc Besson. This preset will mattify your portrait while keeping the contrast and brightness.
It lowers the saturation of all the colors, especially greens. This results a moody effect. The skin tones remain natural and flattering.
The preset also adds a bit of grain, enough to give the image a nostalgic touch.
With this preset, you can add some drama to your portraits. It is a trendy look these days and you can see it in many advertisements and celebrity images.
I don’t recommend it if you want to soften the skin if your models though. This preset is doing exactly the opposite. It sharpens your image quite a lot as well as increases detail and contrast and emphasizes textures. This makes skin imperfections and shadows stand out more.
To get these presets you need to join their Explorers Club and give them your email.
The most interesting thing is that they give you access to the Freebie Library. You can find presets packs and other resources here such as ebooks.
This pack consists of 10 Lightroom presets for portraits, 5 in color and 5 Black and White. They have straightforward names, so you know which effects you will achieve.
These presets are a great base for editing any of your portraits. They are versatile and subtle, so they will work for almost all your images, giving them a natural look.
You can also get two of them for free. You don’t even need to give them your email address or subscribe to their site.
These two presets affect portrait colors. With the Technicolor preset you can get a nice, soft, warm look. It has an orange-yellow tint in the highlights and blue in the shadows.
The Stage preset is more dramatic. It lowers the vibrance of all the colors to zero. It works well for indoor portraits with artificial lighting. Keep in mind that it also turns the blues to purples.
If you are looking for a quick and easy way to give your images a dark and moody touch, Signatureedits.com offers this free preset. The great thing about it is that it comes with a tutorial that explains exactly how it was created.
This is helpful if you want to adapt the preset to your own style. This preset adds a bit of contrast while having a dark faded mood.
Another important thing in this preset is the color edit. On one side, it warms both yellows and the greens and on the other, it desaturates them.
As a last step, he adds an orange coloring to the whole image using the calibration panel. This really contributes to the dark mood. The preset works great if you want to give your photos an autumn or winter feel.
It will also be useful if you want your photos to have a bit of a gloomy, melancholy vibe. As the author says, it might not work with all your portraits but it will give you a nice start.
Creativetacos is a website that offers you a lot of well designed presets. One of my favorites is Sunset Desert. This preset, which is also suitable for Mobile Lightroom, adds a beautiful warm glow to the image.
It is very versatile and you can use it with a lot of portraits in different scenarios. This includes weddings, travel photos, urban photography and many more.
It’s especially good for portraits shot when the sun is low in the horizon, during the golden hours.
You will see the natural warm colors pop while keeping the skin tone natural.
This preset is quite original and different from other wedding presets. It adds brightness to the image while increasing the contrast a bit.
It also enhances the whites, making them pop. This is usually nice for wedding photography, at least if the bride is wearing a white dress.
The preset creates a slight matte effect, to give a bit of mood, but without exaggerating it.
The only problem I found with this preset is that it might change some colors quite a lot, for example the blues. Think ahead if these color changes are relevant or not before applying the preset.
You don’t want to change the color of some family member’s suit or dress!
Chicpreset’s “Elegant Wedding” preset will help you to improve your wedding photos. It keeps a classic look that will make your photos timeless.
It brightens up your image, enhances the contrast and vibrance and sharpens the details in it. This preset is very useful for photos taken on cloudy and grey days if you want to give them a bit of extra light.
What makes this preset especially useful for weddings is that it keeps the original colors of the image. You don’t need to worry about making changes to the clothes of the wedding guests or the flower decorations.
If you are a night portrait photographer you are going to love this preset by Creativetacos. It is good for nightclubs, concerts and street photography. You can also use it in your wedding photography for the party photos.
This preset enhances night lights, making them pop. It increases contrast and modifies the colors to emphasize blues and warm colors. It also recovers details from both the highlights and shadows.
If you are starting out with night photography, this preset might be good for you. Portrait photography editing can be frustrating at first. This preset will give you a nice place to start from.
If you want to give your images a nostalgic, vintage effect, you should check out the Grainy Matte preset. They even have a tutorial on how to create the effect by yourself.
They also offer a pretty cool preset for you to apply on your images and save your time. The main effects that you will see in your images are an increase of grain (noise) and a washed effect that you usually see in old photos.
As with all presets, you might need to make adjustments to fit your image and taste. But this little free preset gives you a good starting point.
17. Color Pop Preset
This preset will make the colors in your images more vibrant. It will give your images a sharp clean look and a sense of depth.
This effect can liven up your image. This is especially true if you had to take the photo on a cloudy day or in bad lighting conditions.
This preset is excellent for nature and urban portraits. You can create a very impressive effect if you convert the image to black and white. And then combine the preset with a mask to have only one item in color.
You should keep in mind that this preset also decreases the luminescence of blue and aqua colors. It might not be the best choice for seaside photography.
This portrait preset by Fix the photo is great for outdoors photos, travel photography, weddings, etc.
The preset will give your images warmth and clarity and create an awesome sunny effect. This preset is meant for images taken outdoors. Fix the photo advises not to use it for indoors photography to avoid an artificial looking photo.
To download this preset, you need to provide your email. The preset will be sent to you to download within a few minutes.
If you like Black & White photography, Fix the photo has 10 great presets for you. This bundle covers a lot of the needs of a portrait photographer.
Both the Soft and Soft skin presets will make the skin of your subjects look softer. The second preset in the bundle even applies a skin color correction.
You will also find presets to soften your portraits, adding a pinkish elegant tone or a matte effect. Others add drama, create an HDR effect or enhance photos taken in harsh light.
You even have presets for elegant and artistic effects, such as the Chocolate or the Old Film.
Sometimes these photos have a person in them too. But it’s obvious that the main focus in them is the grandeur and the contrasting colors of the landscape.
In their free preset “Amber”, Fix the photo use contrasting oranges and blues together with high exposure and sharpness. These help you to give more life to your portraits.
This preset means to vitalize portrait photos that appear lifeless and flat.
Presets are a great tool to make your editing workflow quicker. You can use them as a base for editing your portraits and adapt them to your image and personal style.
These 20 best free Lightroom presets for portraits will suit almost any portrait and scenario.
Check out our post on how to install Lightroom presets next!