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How To Use Lightroom Develop Presets

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Lightroom develop presets are a popular and simple way to post-process your photos. You can use them with individual images or several at a time.

In this article, we’ll show you how to use Lightroom presets to improve your images.

First, let’s take a look at what Lightroom presets are.

A screenshot showing how to use Lightroom develop presets

What Are Lightroom Presets?

Lightroom presets are a series of editing instructions carried out in consecutive order. You can use them to achieve a particular look for your photos.

Presets in Lightroom can consist of any combination of edits that you make to an image.

These are then saved so the same series of editing instructions is available at a later time. This way, you can use them with other photographs too.

A screenshot showing how to use Lightroom presets

Where Can Lightroom Develop Presets Be Found?

Lightroom comes with several of built-in presets. You can import presets and you can also create your own presets in Lightroom.

To find the presets open Lightroom in the Develop Module. The preset box is in the left-hand panel. If you cannot see this press F7 on your keyboard. Or you can click the triangle in the middle of the left side of the program window.

Open the dropdown box to reveal the pre-installed presets that ship with Lightroom. These include categories such as Color, Black and White, Sharpening and Classic.

There are two Classic categories. These include presets for a retro film look or more general image enhancements.

Lightroom develop presets are available for free and as paid-for packages. A quick online search will reveal many websites you can download them from.

These are often created by photographers for a specific look and feel they have created. You can import these Lightroom users’ presets and add them to your program.

You can also save a series of edits you have made to create your own Lightroom develop preset. If you make the same type of edits when you are post-processing using Lightroom, you can save them.

Once you have them saved, you can click on the preset and apply the edits to one or more photographs.

Move your mouse pointer over the name of each preset. This way you can see the effect the preset will have on your selected image.

A screenshot showing how to use Lightroom  presets

Why Use Lightroom Develop Presets?

Using Lightroom develop presets saves you time. You can make the same series of edits instantly on more than one image.

Once a preset is applied, you can export the image or make further edits.

Presets in Lightroom can also help you develop a consistent look and style to your photo editing.

By using a limited number of presets your photographs can be:

  • colourised,
  • sharpened,
  • dehazed,
  • corrected,
  • or otherwise edited, in the same way.

Limiting the number of presets you use will build a portfolio of photographs that have a coherent look about the post-processing.

How To Create Presets In Lightroom

The preloaded Lightroom presets might not provide the look you want to your photos.

You can look for an appropriate preset online, or you can create your own presets in Lightroom.

Creating your own presets is straight forward. It’s even easier when you have a particular series of edits you make to your photos.

A screenshot showing how to use Lightroom develop presets

When you’re planning on making a Lightroom develop preset it’s good to have a clear idea of the outcome you want.

Making the least number of edits to reach your goal is more efficient than making more changes than is necessary.

Choose a photo, preferably a RAW file, you want to make edits to. Open it in the Develop Module in Lightroom.

Using the editing panel on the right-hand side make the edits you want until you’re satisfied with your photograph.

To save the preset you can:

  • Go to Develop in the top menu and choose New Preset …
  • Click on the + beside the Preset box in the left-hand panel and choose Create Preset …
  • Hold down Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+N on your keyboard.

This will bring up a dialogue box where you can name your new preset and choose a category you want to store it under.

You can also work through the checkboxes and decide which of the edits you made that you want to include.

Generally you will keep all these boxes checked except for the Lens Profile Corrections. It would not be prudent to apply the incorrect lens profile.

The only way you’d want to have this box checked is if you were making Lightroom develop presets for each lens you use.

How to Apply A Preset to Multiple Photos in Lightroom

When you have a series of similar photos you may want to a Lightroom preset to all of them.

Sets of photos taken with the same lighting conditions can be treated with the same preset.

To apply a preset to multiple photos in Lightroom begin with the Grid view in the Library module.

A screenshot showing how to use Lightroom develop presets

Select the photos you want to apply the preset to by holding the Ctrl/Cmd key and clicking on the thumbnails.

Once you have made your selections open the Quick Develop box in the right-hand panel. Here you will see a drop-down menu called Saved Presets. Default Settings is the item it will show.

To select another saved preset click on the drop-down to reveal the list of all your saved presets. This will include the presets Lightroom came with and any you have imported or created yourself.

When you make your preset choice it will be applied to all the photos you selected.

You can also apply a preset to one image and then copy the develop settings. To do this right-click on the photo and select Develop Settings>Copy Settings.

You can use Ctrl+Shift+C on your keyboard.

Then select the images you want to apply the settings to and select Develop Settings>Paste Settings when you right-click the image.

Or, use Ctrl+Shift+V on your keyboard.

A screenshot showing how to use Lightroom develop presets


Using presets can be a huge time saver when you are editing large batches of photographs.

Using a limited number of Lightroom presets can emphasize style throughout your portfolio.

Applying a preset may not give you exactly what the look you desire for your photo. You may find you want to make changes to some images after applying a preset.

You can further refine your edits in the Develop module as you would normally do.

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