back to top

How to Make and Sell Your Own Lightroom Presets (Best Tips!)

A- A+

Subscribe Below to Download the Article Immediately

You can also select your interests for free access to our premium training:

Your privacy is safe. I will never share your information.
Related course: The Preset Collection

Are you a photographer who loves photo editing? Do you spend hours in Lightroom tweaking an image? This article is for you if you approach photo post-processing as a creative art form! Funnel your technical knowledge and creativity and we’ll show you how to sell Lightroom presets.

This article will go through how to create Lightroom presets to sell step-by-step. Along the way, we will give you tips on making the most marketable presets and how to package your creations.

What Are Lightroom Presets?

Not all photographers love post-processing. Many avoid editing their photos altogether. They let their visual creations sit on hard drives rather than spend time in Lightroom. What these photographers want are quick photo corrections. They want a one-click solution to achieve a particular mood or look. This is where presets come in.

Lightroom has hundreds of sliders and tools. There are millions of possible combinations. With one click, presets or filters, apply many different settings to an image. With Lightroom presets, you do not need to know the nuts and bolts of creating a look. And you do not have to move dozens of individual sliders.

Lightroom cc screenshot presets description

How to Create Presets in Adobe Lightroom

Let’s start by creating your own presets to sell. Creating a preset that sells is slightly different from making a preset for your personal use. We will go through the process of editing an image and saving a preset. Even if you are familiar with the process, check out the tips.

Step 1: Edit an Image in Lightroom

Choose an image in your Lightroom catalog and start editing. There are a lot of Lightroom presets on the market, including many free presets. So create presets that stand out in a crowd. Here are six tips for making presets that others will buy.

Recreate Popular Photo Editing Styles

Photo editing, like any art form, goes through fads and phases. Look at Instagram and the popular stock photo platforms to see what looks are in fashion. Remember the HDR fad a few years ago when every photo was super colorful and highly processed? You hardly see this look these days. Vintage presets are hot now. But what is next?

Create a Mood

Random edits will not be as attractive as ones that create a specific mood or look. These images have a strong emotional pull. Find inspiration images online with the look that you are trying to create. They can be dark, moody, light, high-key, nostalgic, or color-toned. Make presets that emotionally touch the viewer.

Use Little Known Lightroom Tools

Lightroom is a popular photo editing program with many tutorials. But most photographers use only the most basic functions. Many marketable presets create a unique look using Lightroom tools that most photographers often do not use. When creating Lightroom presets to sell, think outside the box. Find unique ways of using off-the-beaten-path tools like the Tone Curve, Color Grading, or Camera Calibration.

Lightroom screenshot of lighthouse in winter with black frame and vignette preset
Using the Vignette effect tool, you can make a simple frame in Lightroom Classic CC

Avoid Image-Specific Adjustments

Avoid using tools that are image-specific and change from picture to picture. What works for one photo will not work for another. For instance, cropping depends on the image. Some tools you may want to avoid are exposure, cropping, spot removal, and the transformation or geometry tools. Having said this, explore! You may come up with a clever way to integrate these tools into a preset.

Use Selective Adjustments Sparingly

You can include selective adjustments in a preset, but there are some things to consider. The Brush, Linear Gradient, and Radial Gradient tools are position-dependent. The adjustment shows up in the same place regardless of the photo.

For instance, it is probably not good to include Radial Gradients to lighten a person’s eyes. Eye placement changes from portrait to portrait.

Adobe changed the selective adjustment tools in 2021 with version 11 and added AI sky and selective subject adjustments. Technically, you can create presets with selective AI adjustments. But AI selections need to be recomputed each time they are applied to a new image.

Lightroom screenshot of AI selective adjustment subject recompute
Click Update to recompute Subject and Sky AI masks for each photo

The process is not complicated. It is a simple button press. But this is a new feature, and your customer may not know to do this. Also, not all photographers upgrade to the latest version with AI masking.

The Luminosity and Color masks are powerful and may be selective adjustments to try out.

Focus on a Photography Genre—or Not

Many presets focus on a photographic genre like wedding photography or portrait photography. You can create Lightroom presets for specific genres. This helps with marketing. But it is easy for your customers to get stuck on the label. Few photographers will use a preset labeled “food” on a landscape.

Step 2: Create the Lightroom Preset

Once you are happy with the photo edits, create a preset. The process is slightly different depending on if you are in Lightroom Classic or Lightroom CC.

Naming Lightroom Presets

There are a couple of ways you can name Lightroom presets. Some packs use a number and letter combination. The presets that come with Lightroom have names like “TR15.” This is boring. But more importantly, the name is not memorable.

For marketing purposes, choose a unique name. Choose something that describes the look of the preset. Or at least pick a name that is quirky or concrete. For instance, some photographers name presets after cities.

Creating a Preset in Lightroom Classic CC

  1. Open the Presets tab in the left-hand column of the Develop module.
  2. Click the plus sign and choose Create Preset.Lightroom classic screenshot of creating a preset
  3. In the dialog box, check the settings you want to include in the preset. If your preset has an AI selective adjustment mask, a warning appears.
  4. Give your preset a descriptive name and choose a group. To help with organization, select New Group from the drop-down list. Then create a new group for the presets you plan to sell.
  5. After adding a creative name, click Create.

Creating a Preset in Lightroom CC

You can use Lightroom CC for creating presets too. The process is similar to Lightroom Classic, but you have access to a preset sharing option unavailable in Classic.

  1. Once you have edited a photo, save the preset by clicking the Presets button towards the top of the Editing panel. This opens a Presets panel. Creative Cloud syncs across programs. You might see previously imported presets under “Yours.”
  2. Click the plus sign. In the dialog box, check the settings you want to include in the preset. Give your preset a descriptive name and choose a group.
  3. You can share edits and presets with the Lightroom community. Click the Export icon in the top right corner. Select Share to Discover under Community. From here, share your workflow and let viewers download your edits as a preset. You can build a following for your presets directly in Lightroom CC. You are giving away a preset. Think of it as a free taster.
Lightroom cc screenshot of creating a preset share
Plus sign, Presets button, and Export icon.

Step 3: Test the Preset on Various Photos

Before selling presets, test them on many different images. Use photos from different genres and in various formats. Try it on overexposed and underexposed images. You are looking for any strange behavior or artifacts.

Does the preset do something odd with JPEGs or on high-key images? You want a preset that gives a consistent look across images.

Use the preset on your own images. But also try it on license-free images found on Unsplash or a similar stock photo platform. If you use any of these images later in marketing, make sure to credit the photographer and be clear that the editing is your own.

Photos of a landscape flower and hippo with a preset applied
Testing out Sunbeam Left preset from my pack Here Comes the Sun on different images.

Step 4: Create a Preset Pack

It is possible to sell one preset at a time. But usually, they are sold in packs. Often packages have a theme like “Autumn Colors” or “Moody Black and White.” You can put as many presets into one package as you want. Make your customer feel like they have gotten their money’s worth. Try for at least ten per pack.

Lightroom classic screenshot of preset list

There may be variations on a preset within the pack. For instance, after creating a preset, you can then make one with one-stop lighter and another with one-stop darker. Make one with more contrast and one with less.

Think of the variations that matter to photographers. Remember, presets are designed to make photographers’ lives easier. Adding variations saves having to make another adjustment. With one click, they should get the look they want.

Step 5: Export Lightroom Presets

The next step is to export your presets. Lightroom makes this simple. You can export one preset at a time, or if you have organized a pack of presets into a group, you can export the entire group.

Simply right-click on either the preset or the group. Choose either Export or Export Group. Navigate to a location and click Save. That’s it! Your presets are ready to sell.

Lightroom classic screenshot of export group

Preset Files

Single presets are saved as XMP files. Adobe introduced this preset file type in 2017 to replace the older LRTemplate file. Newer versions of Lightroom read both XMP and LRTemplate files. But if your customer is using an older version of Lightroom, they may not be able to read XMP files.

Exporting a group in Lightroom Classic creates a ZIP file. This compresses the XMP files, making them easier to send to your customers. Your customer will have to extract the zipped files by double-clicking them.

You can export individual presets from Lightroom CC, but you cannot export groups. You will have to manually zip the files and add the individual presets to a folder. On a Mac, right-click the folder and select “Compress.” On a PC, click the share tab and select “Zip.”

You can also export a sample image using the preset as a DNG file. This will preserve the Lightroom settings. Upload the DNG file to Lightroom and immediately create a preset using the process in Step 2. It is the best way to sell Lightroom mobile presets.

Icons for three preset file types XMP ZiP and DNG

How to Sync Lightroom Presets

Before we move on to selling Lightroom presets, here is a quick word about how presets are shared across the various Adobe products. Lightroom presets work with Lightroom Classic, Lightroom CC, Lightroom Mobile, and Adobe Camera Raw.

Presets should sync across Lightroom apps through Creative Cloud. In practice, this does not always happen. Here are a few troubleshooting tips:

  • Lightroom Mobile—Use a DNG file to send a preset directly to Lightroom mobile. Open the DNG file in Lightroom mobile. You can use Airdrop, sync through Dropbox, or email it to yourself. Click the three-dot icon in the top-right corner and choose “Create Preset.” Add a title and click the checkmark.
Lightroom mobile screenshot creating preset from DNG file
  • Adobe Camera Raw—To access presets in Adobe Camera Raw, save it as a favorite in Lightroom Classic. Right-click on the preset and select Add to Favorites. Then the preset will appear under the three-dot icon.

How to Sell Lightroom Presets

Once you have created Lightroom presets, it is time to start selling them. Let’s start by setting up an online store.

Step 1: Set Up an E-Commerce Website

There are many ways to sell your Lightroom presets. Many web platforms have a way to add an online store to your website. For instance, if you have a WordPress site, add the Woocommerce plug-in. Or you can use an e-commerce platform like Etsy, Sellfy, or Shopify.

Presets are digital products. If your blog or website platform has an e-commerce option, make sure the plan you choose covers digital products. Also, sites may take a cut of your profits. Know how much so you can factor this into your pricing.

Screenshot of CityTurtle Etsy store

Step 2: Automate the Process for Easy Use

Make it easy for your customer to buy and download preset packs. It is best if you can automate the system. Buyers want immediate access to their download.

With many e-commerce sites, you can generate a confirmation email. Simply add a link to a download page. You do not have to monitor each sale and send out individual emails. Setting up an easy-to-use online store is the best way to sell presets.

Step 3: Create a Quick Tutorial

Include a quick tutorial on how to import the presets. The process is easy but not necessarily intuitive. You do not want to be fielding questions, and you do not want your customers to feel they cannot use your product. Here are sample instructions for importing presets.

  1. Download the preset pack to your desktop.
  2. Double click to unzip the file.
  3. Open the Presets panel in the Develop module.
  4. Click the plus sign in the upper right corner.
  5. Select “Import Presets.”
  6. Navigate to the unzipped folder.
  7. Select all presets.
  8. Import.

Step 4: Create and Promote Marketing Material

As with any product, presets that sell create something that others value and cannot get anywhere else. But there are a lot of Lightroom preset packs out there. When selling Lightroom presets, focus on what your presets have that is different from others.

Describe each preset and preset pack. Keep the descriptions short and light. Use as many descriptive words as possible and make it personal if you can. Emphasize what this preset can do for the photographers.

Give your customers a reason to buy your preset. And include who the preset is designed for. Is it for wedding or landscape photographers? Does it create a calm vibe, or is it for photographers who like moody images?

Before and after images sell presets. Show a lot of comparison photos using different photography styles and genres. You can place the photos side-by-side or make one product image that shows before on the left and after on the right. Make the transformation interactive if your platform allows it. Or create a simple GIF.

Add text with the name of the preset and how to buy it.

Market your presets on social media. Use your presets to edit photos and post them on Instagram. Be sure to include before and after photos. Emphasize the look you get with this preset and how easy it is to use.

How to Price Presets

Pricing presets is tricky. Preset packs sell for a wide variety of prices. Some cost hundreds of dollars—others are just a few dollars. Plus, there are many free presets out there.

Photographers with a reputation or a large social media following can charge more for presets. These photographers have a unique look to their photos that others want to emulate.

There is no fixed way to price your preset pack. Look at other presets on platforms to find a general price range. Price your product competitively but on the high side. You can always add a discount or have a sale.

It all comes down to what photographers will pay. Remember, photographers value quality presets that make photo editing easier.

Conclusion

Lightroom presets cut to the chase and create a mood with one click. If Lightroom editing comes easy to you, you may be able to market your abilities and sell them. All you need to learn is how to sell Lightroom presets effectively.

An amateur photographer may like a look but not know how to achieve it in Lightroom. They will pay money if presets help them find their vision. Busy professional photographers who have dozens or even hundreds of photos to post-process also value presets. Using a preset saves time, and time is worth money!

Try The Preset Collection to drastically improve your photos with one click!

Show Comments (0)