How to install Lightroom presets is a very frequently asked question, and one we are going to cover today.
Presets are a way photographers can quickly and effectively adjust their images. Find out below how to easily install Lightroom presets.
What Are Lightroom Presets?
Presets are settings that photographers, companies and photographic manufacturers create. These are imported for use in Adobe Lightroom. These are basically Lightroom filters that save photographers and editors a lot of time.
They sit on the side of the Develop Module within Lightroom, waiting for you to apply them to your images. You can use them to change color scene into black and white images. Or add specific color tones across images.
You can apply any adjustment to any image using presets. And just with one button. They are versatile and can vastly reduce the time you spend on adjusting multiple images at the same time.
Presets are also tweakable. This can give them a more personal look. You can also make your own presets and save them for future use. This is a great addition to projects that need the same look.
Adobe Lightroom has its own presets that come installed with the software. Things like sepia, facial sharpness and contrast can be used immediately, whereas others need to be installed.
Lightroom is not the only company to use presets. Others use a different name. some companies also create presets, such as VSCO Lightroom presets. these are professionally made specifically for Lightroom users to play around with.
How to Add Presets to Lightroom Classic CC
It is very simple to install Lightroom presets. Here I will show you step-by-step how to add presets that you have found on the internet. We will look at how to make your own presets after the installation part.
There are thousands of Presets all over the internet. Some photographers offer them for free on their websites, some you will have to pay for. For this example, we are going to use some collected by Parker Photographic.
NB: Here, I will be using Lightroom Classic CC 2019. If you are looking at how to add images in Adobe Lightroom (cloud-based application) please head to the bottom.
Step 1: Find the Preset
To find these specific Presets, you will need to go to the website and then scroll down until you find 12 Free Lightroom Presets as shown.
Click on the red text to take you to the photographer who originally created these specific presets.
As this photographer has a few different presets, you will need to go to the second page of his collection. Here you will find the presets we will be working with – Lightroom Presets – Black and White Tonal Contrast Effect.
Click on the headline or the photograph to get to the next page. Alternatively, find them here.
It can be helpful to read the information that comes with the download. Check to ensure they offer you the adjustments you want.
In this post, he gives you an example so that you can see firsthand how the changes affect the image.
Step 2: Download the Preset
Under the image in the post is the download link. You will need to click here to start the download process. Depending on what computer system and internet browser you are using, you will have different options when it comes to saving presets.
In Microsoft Windows 10 using Google Chrome, the file is automatically sent to the downloads folder on the hard drive. On an Apple Mac using Google Chrome, it will ask where you would like to save the file.
Choose somewhere that you can get to easily, such as your Desktop or Downloads folder. You might move the Lightroom presets to a specific folder later on.
Step 3: Unzip the Files
The folder you download will be a Zip folder, meaning it is compressed for faster downloading. These files will need to be unzipped before you can use them.
Select all three files in the folder, and press extract to unzip them. Place them in another folder where you will access them easily.
Step 4: How to Import Presets into Lightroom
After unzipping the files and placing them in a folder, you will need to add them into Adobe Lightroom. This is done via the prests tab in the Develop module. They work for Camera Raw images.
On the left-hand panel, under the preview image, you will see the Presets area. The last folder of the list should say User Presets.
Right-click inside the User Presets folder. This will give you two options: New Folder or Import.
To keep your presets organised, we are going to create a folder for these instead of directly importing them. Click on New Folder.
After clicking on New Folder, a box should appear.
This box is asking you to name the folder. You can name it anything you wish, but it might be a good idea to put in the photographers’ name.
Enter the name of the folder and click Create.
The next step is to click on the folder you have just created to select it, then right-click on it. This will bring up 4 options.
Click on Import as this is how we get the presets into the folder and Lightroom.
This brings up the Import Preset box. This is where you’ll find your files.
If you deleted the Zip files after opening them, you know these are the files you are looking for. If you didn’t, you need to make sure you have the unzipped files.
Select all three in the folder and click Import.
Step 5: Using Lightroom Presets
Now that the presets have been added, you can start using them. Upload an image or select one from the library and go back to the Develop Module.
While the picture is selected, navigate to the presets folder you created, and click on any three of the added presets.
I recommend the last one named Black and White Tonal Contrast (strong) as it gives you the biggest change.
To see exactly what the preset did to your image, have a look at the Basic panel on the right-hand side.
This will show you all the values it increased, the ones it decreased and the ones it left the same. And that’s it!
Well, there is one more thing. You don’t need to settle on this final image. Since these presets were created using other photographers’ images, they are set up for their images, not yours.
Chances are that you want to tweak these adjustments to add or subtract things such as exposure, contrast or sharpening.
This is possible, as you can see the local adjustment panel is still accessible. Navigate over and have a play around with the settings. The benefit is that none of these adjustments are destructive.
You can always revert back to the initial picture. If you want to start again from the very beginning, click on the Reset button at the bottom of the Basic panel.
There you have it. You have found, downloaded, installed and used the Presets on your photographs in Adobe Lightroom. Great work!
There are many presets that you can benefit from. Do some research and surf the web for others you might enjoy.
How to Install Lightroom Presets (Cloud-Based Version)
So, you realized that the above system doesn’t work for you. This is because you have a slightly different version, which happens since they started making two different versions.
With the simple Lightroom version, steps 1-3 are exactly the same. You need to find, download and un-zip the presets.
Next, we need to add them.
Step 4: Add the Presets to Lightroom
First, go to File>Import Profiles and Presets.
This will let you navigate through your file browser to locate the presets. Find them, select the ones you wish to add, then click Import.
Next, you need to select the Edit Menu (if it isn’t already open). You’ll find the slider icon in the top right-hand area of the window interface.
Located at the bottom of the open Edit Menu, you’ll see a Presets button. Click it.
Here the presets are will open. There are some presets already installed, but we are looking for the User Presets. These are the ones added by the user (you!).
Clicking on the User Presets, they will open up to show what you have imported. We are looking for the Black and White tonal Contrast (Strong). This is what we downloaded.
Clicking on it will apply the preset to your chosen image. The edit menu allows you to tweak the image further. Here, among other things, I increased the Contrast.
To save/export the image, you need to click on the square with an arrow coming out of it in the top right-hand area. Here, you can share or save the image.
NB: To add the preset to multiple images, just select more images in the bottom thumbnail area, then click on the preset you want.
Making Your Own Lightroom Presets
Downloading and using 3rd party presets can give you a good base to work from. But making your own presets can be very beneficial.
Not only are they a fast and efficient way to adjust your photographs. They can be applied to hundreds of photographs at the same time.
The other benefit is that you have created them specifically for your photographs. They will fit your style.
Step 1: Open the Photograph
Find a photograph that you would like to edit and open it in Lightroom. Go to the Develop Module with the photograph open.
If you do not select the image, none of the tools, such as the Basic or the Presets panel will be accessible.
Step 2: How to Make the Preset
Navigate over to the Presets panel, and in the top right-hand corner, you will see a + sign. This should say Create New Preset when you place your cursor over it.
When you click on this button, the New Develop Preset panel opens up. This may seem a little daunting, especially if you are new to Adobe Lightroom.
All the checkboxes here are all of the adjustments you can make to an image.
The idea here is that you are telling the preset what to save when you make adjustments.
As you become more and more used to the Lightroom system and make more and more presets, you will find that you might only need a few boxes checked.
To start with, we are going to check all the boxes except for Lens Profile Corrections and Transform settings.
These modify your image further than just the style of the image, which is adequate for now.
Keep Auto Tone box unchecked too, as we will work on the tone ourselves.
Step 3: Name Your Presets
In the Preset Name box, name your preset. This example will show you how to turn an image from color to black and white, by adjusting a few settings.
For me, I will name this preset Black and White Conversion.
This is also the area where you can decide where the preset will go. User Presets is a good place to start unless you want to separate these presets further.
You can create a new folder or add it to an existing one, but only to those you have created or added.
After naming the preset, click Create at the bottom.
After clicking the Create button, it will take you back to the Develop Module.
As you can see on the left, at the bottom of the Preset panel, our preset is there under the folder User Presets.
Step 4: Adjusting the Settings
Now that everything is set up, we can go ahead and make some changes. You will do most of your editing over in the Basic adjustments panel.
For the sake of this example, I have modified these settings:
- Temperature +17
- Contrast +17
- Highlights -19
- Whites +31
- Blacks -26
- Clarity +26
You can see all of these in the panel. All of the other adjustments remained untouched.
Step 5: Updating the Settings
Now that we have all of the changes created, we need to update our preset to save the information it will need.
This is done by going over to the Presets panel, finding the preset and right-clicking on it. This will bring up a few options. The option we need is Update with Current Settings.
The Update Develop Preset box pops up to clarify which adjustments you want to save. There is an extra check-box here, Auto Black & White Mix but we leave it unchecked.
Click Update when you are happy with your selection. This can be changed at a later date.
That’s it! You have created your very own preset. You can now apply this to any photograph you work on in the future.
And here’s a cool video we found on how to install lightroom presets.