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Lightroom Presets for Sports Photography

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Related course: The Preset Collection

Lightroom sports presets are a great way to edit your action photography quickly. After selecting one or multiple images, it only takes a few clicks to edit them.

Read on to find the best Lightroom presets for sports photography, and how to use them.

a portrait of a rugby player running during a game, edited with Lightroom sports presets

What Are Presets?

Lightroom is an editing software program that lets you tweak your digital shots. You can raise and lower the exposure, play around with the colours and even change the perspective.

Presets are a way to change an image or a batch of images with one single click. These adjustments were made by other Lightroom users, and are available for you to use.

Some might only increase the sharpness of an image. The majority will act as a filter over your scenes, allowing you to edit them quickly and efficiently.

Installing, Using and Creating Presets

Installing Lightroom presets might seem like a complicated matter. In fact, it is easy and only requires a few steps. Plus, there are a few ways you can do this.

We have a How to Install Adobe Lightroom Presets | A Step-by-Step Tutorial for you to check out. This tells you how to add them to Lightroom.

To use them, or even create them, we have our How To Use Lightroom Develop Presets article.

a portrait of a street performer mid-jump, edited with Lightroom sports presets

Best Lightroom Sports Presets

Sports photography is a wide-ranging field. It encompasses team sports, such as football, and fast-moving machines like airplanes and cars. Presets that cover different types of sports might be difficult, as they concentrate on different elements.

Let’s look at what connects all the images you are likely to take. For example, most of them could do with a boost in contrast. This helps to separate the many parts of your scene.

As many sports make use of colour, this is something else that can be tweaked, making your images stronger.

Let’s have a look at the best sports photography presets out there.

10. Big Bold Color – Coles Classroom

  • +1.31 Exposure
  • -31 Highlights
  • -38 Shadows
  • +14 Whites
  • -12 Blacks
  • +10 Clarity

The BigBold Color from Coles Classroom is a great way to add more light into your scene. The exposure jumps up over 1.3+ stops, where the highlights come down by -31 to ensure the lighter areas are not over-exposed.

Shadows also fall by -38 to lighten the darker areas. The whites become whiter by +14, and the blacks fall by -12. By increasing the clarity by +10, you make the subjects stand out against the background.

a portrait of a surfer riding a wave, split screen showing before and after editing with Lightroom sports presets

9. Vibrant Colors HDR Lightroom Preset – Preset Kingdom

  • +30 Contrast
  • -100 Highlights
  • +100 Shadows
  • -25 Whites
  • -30 Blacks
  • +100 Clarity
  • +25 Vibrance
  • +15 Saturation

The Vibrant Colours preset from the Preset Kingdom is best used for water sports. This is because it enhances the color blue while reducing the highlights, in turn reducing the reflections.

By adding +100 to the shadows, they become darker, adding more contrast between them and the lighter areas. Whites and blacks are reduced to add detail and remove the chance of them being burned out.

The added vibrancy and saturation makes the colours pop, where the clarity separates the subject from the background.

 

a portrait of professional swimmer in a pool, split screen showing before and after editing with Lightroom sports presets

8. Color Pop Lightroom Preset – Photographypla.net

  • +15 Contrast
  • -20 Highlights
  • +30 Shadows
  • -20 Whites
  • -15 Blacks
  • +15 Clarity
  • +15 Vibrance

The Color Pop preset from Photographypla.net aims to reduce any haze or fog from your shoot. This is especially great for nighttime sports photography where floodlights can reduce the quality of the shot.

Blacks come out stronger, also reducing the frosty glaze some scenes can produce. The added clarity separates the subject from a busy background.

This is all capped off with a subtle increase in colour, which gives the scene its pop!

a night portrait of a skier mid jump, split screen showing before and after editing with Lightroom sports presets

7. Vintage Garden – Preset Love

  • +14 Temperature
  • +10 Tint
  • +0.45 Exposure
  • +30 Contrast
  • -47 Highlights
  • +61 Shadows
  • -25 Whites
  • -50 Blacks
  • +32 Clarity
  • +30 Vibrance
  • -5 Saturation

This preset aims to add more light into your scene. The temperature and tint raise to add more warmth in the scene. The exposure also rises a little to add more light, while the high lights stop the lighter areas from overexposure.

Contrast, clarity and the reduction in blacks help to keep the strength of the image. The vibrance keeps the colour punchy, creating a strong sports photography image.

action shot of cyclists during a race, split screen showing before and after editing with Lightroom sports presets

6. Sport – Preset Love

  • -9 Temperature
  • -22 Tint
  • +10 Contrast
  • -80 Highlights
  • -25 Shadows
  • +77 Whites
  • -7 Blacks
  • +30 Clarity
  • -5 Vibrance
  • -5 Saturation

There is a lot of adjustments in this preset compared to others in our list. This all increases the quality and ‘punchiness’ of the scene and subject.

First off, the temperature and tint changes add a touch of blue and green. Most sports, either indoor or outdoor will benefit from these, as it will give a cinematic feel.

The contrast raises alongside the blacks, giving the subject more precedence. The whites are pushed up while the highlights fall, giving a little more light without overdoing it.

action shot of a diver underwater, split screen showing before and after editing with Lightroom sports presets

5. Monochrome – Photonify

  • +0.20 Exposure
  • +34 Contrast
  • -50 Highlights
  • +50 Shadows
  • -15 Whites
  • +4 Blacks
  • +15 Clarity

Turning a colour image into a black and white photograph is no easy task. First off, they look at different elements of the scene. Colour images look at how those colours work together, whereas black and white focus on contrast and texture, et al.

Apart from the image conversion, you’ll find the exposure raises a little. This is while the lowered highlights stop the light areas from blowing out. the increase of shadows pulls more detail from the darkest areas, ensuring the raised contrast stays to a good level.

What really makes the difference here is the adjustments in the Black and White color mix. You might not know this, but colored filters are a great way to get more out of your black and white scene. Below, you’ll see the colors that were changed.

For example, the reduction in orange adds light to the skin tones of the runners.

  • -14 Orange
  • -23 Yellow
  • -27 Green
  • -18 Aqua
  • -31 Blue
  • +16 Purple
  • +3 Magenta

action shot of runners during a race, split screen showing before and after editing with Lightroom sports presets

4. Balance Me Preset – Free Presets

  • +0.5 Exposure
  • +61 Contrast
  • -52 Highlights
  • +31 Shadows
  • +6 Whites
  • +34 Blacks
  • +30 Clarity
  • +12 Vibrance

The Balance Me preset acts to add more light into the scene without overdoing it. The subject and color come with a punch, as the vibrance raises alongside the clarity.

By increasing the shadows, more detail is found in those darker areas. Raising the blacks also helps here, but as the contrast also goes up, the black and darker areas still retain their strength.

action shot of a skateboarder mid-trick, split screen showing before and after editing with Lightroom sports presets

3. Light and Bright – Exposure Empire

  • +0.5 Exposure
  • -40 Contrast
  • +30 Shadows
  • -20 Whites
  • +50 Blacks
  • +30 Clarity
  • -20 Vibrance
  • +70 Saturation

The Light and Bright preset adds light into your scene, as you can imagine given the name. The added blacks and shadows pull more detail from the darker areas by lowering the strength of the dark areas.

The lack of contrast helps to keep the subject part of the scene which they find themselves in. By raising the saturation and lowering the vibrance, you keep the color without being over the top.

action shot of a speeding car at night, split screen showing before and after editing with Lightroom sports presets

2. Grungy Sports – Nuugraphics

  • +15 Contrast
  • +90 Clarity
  • -55 Vibrance
  • -35 Saturation

The grungy sports preset by Nuugraphics is short and sweet. There are only four adjustments, but they make all the difference to a wonderful sports shot.

Added contrast adds a punchiness to the subjects, while the high level of clarity separates the subjects from their stage.

The lack of colour is what makes this preset special, so use it for sports where teams or sides are not already easily defined.

action shot of female volleyball players celebrating scoring a point, split screen showing before and after editing with Lightroom sports presets

1. Sharp Color Pop – Preset Kingdom

  • +20 Contrast
  • -15 Highlights
  • +20 Shadows
  • +10 Whites
  • -20 Blacks
  • +60 Clarity
  • +20 Vibrance
  • +10 Saturation

The Sharp Color Pop does more than change local adjustments, it also adds 75 points of sharpness. This helps give your image an HDR look without being horribly over the top.

It adds a punchiness that is followed by the change in highlights, clarity, contrast and reduction in blacks. The vibrance and saturation add a touch of color which every scene could benefit from.

action shot of a rock climber, split screen showing before and after editing with Lightroom sports presets

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