When it comes to digital photography, image processing is a huge part of the creative process, and lots of photographer rely on Adobe Lightroom to get the most out of their images. Lightroom presets are a huge timesaver for many working photographers, allowing you to tailor specific looks for your images and apply that look consistently in batch processing. Not only does this help save time during the editing process, it also keeps your personal style looking consistent in every image.
While it can be fun to create your own Lightroom presets, there are also plenty of great pre-made presets available out there that let you add a unique and professional look to your images in an instant. Many of these presets not only offer looks that mimic the processing of working professional photographers, but also offer you a wide variety of other tools to simplify and amplify your post-processing experience.
If you’ve already picked up a preset package and are wondering how to install presets for Adobe Lightroom CC, here’s a quick overview:
- Download the .zip file from the Internet and extract the files, which will give you a file that looks like this: name.LRTtemplate.
- In Lightroom, go to the Develop module and expand the Presets menu on the left side. Right click on User Presets and choose Import, then locate and open the preset file you downloaded.
- Quit and restart Lightroom. The presets you installed should be ready to rock.
Now that you know how to install presets, there’s no reason not to try them out. Below are some of the best Lightroom presets for photographers to help kick your image processing up a notch.
London-based fashion photographer Marc Hayden offers up his secret sauce for color grading with this package of Lightroom presets. Designed over a long period of time to bring out the best in skin tones and colors in his daily editing workflow, Hayden’s presets include four packages that contain five presets each. There are three color packs, Verglas, Mica, and Tangelo, along with black and white preset Graphos.
Swiss freelance photographer and Fujifilm ambassador Samuel Zeller’s free Lightroom presets include 12 different looks that are optimized for Fuji’s X-Series cameras. This includes 10 color profiles and two black and white looks, along with 12 different tone curves that can be independently applied. You also get a Lightroom catalog, nine raw files and a how-to guide designed to give you insight into Zeller’s workflow.
From Calgary-based commercial photographer Nathan Elson comes a creative package of custom Lightroom presets. These presets are Elson’s response to years of people asking him how he edits his photographs, and are designed to help give your images the same pop that sets Elson’s own photography apart. This preset package includes four black and white looks, along with a “Push & Pull” color look. You’ll also get a long list of exposure adjustment tools designed to give you ultimate creative control over your image files.
For just $12, you can get a set of two custom presets used by Shopify Director of Design and Instagram photographer extraordinaire Verne Ho. His VHP 01 package includes an Everyday profile optimized for street and architectural photography, adding a crisp and dramatic mood, and a Clean preset tailored to minimalists with a taste for bright whites and clean lines. VHP 01 also includes Reset, a handy Lightroom utility that lets you start over with your basic adjustments without undoing things like local adjustments, lens corrections, and transformations.
Created by photographers Laura Thomas and Karlen Kleinkopf, Pretty Presets are designed to make editing children, family, boudoir, engagement and wedding photos quicker. Starting at $40, they offer themed collections with 20-30 presets each. The seasonal bundles enhance photo shoots taken in the spring, summer, fall and winter. To try them out for free, there’s a complimentary three-pack that are sure to make your colors pop.
Nothing quite compares to the look of true celluloid, but with this set of analog film presets from Rocket Rooster you can come close. Choose from five different analog film preset packages, or buy them all in a huge discounted bundle featuring more than 300 film emulation presets. From Fuji Reala to Kodak Gold, Polaroid, and more, this preset package is a gold mine for photographers who love the analog look.
Wedding photographers seeking an elegant set of natural-looking processing presets have to check out photographer India Earl’s preset package. Designed by Earl and used in her own workflow, her first pack of presets includes three color and two black and white looks to choose from. As Earl says on her website, her presets are made to be easy to adjust, efficient, natural, and simple. The color profiles offer a “creamy, milky, warm, low contrast and low saturation” look, while the black and whites are milky with deep contrast.
Offering digital tools to make photography and filmmaking processes easier, Prolost has also developed a set of Adobe Lightroom presets for photographers. This includes: the Vintage Winter 2016 pack, with more than 100 unique monochrome presets; a free Dehaze effect designed for older editions of Lightroom without the built-in function; a set of 600 graduated presets that lets you make a variety of adjustments using an intuitive visual preview instead of sliders; and a package of 100 realistic-looking light leak effects designed to mimic vintage cameras.
Offering a hard-to-beat selection in Lightroom presets, Sleeklens offers an array of presets for almost any kind of photography look you can imagine. From the Complete Sleeklens Lightroom Collection, which offers more than 1,000 presets along with 400 brushes, to packages featuring more than 100 different looks for specific kinds of photography, Sleeklens is the place to go when you’re looking for exactly the right look for your specific image. You’ll find packages for astrophotography, weddings, landscape, and portraits, along with others offering specific looks and adjustments. For those new to Lightroom processing, Sleeklens also offers an innovative creative workflow that helps you navigate your way through the process, from import, to color adjustments, sharpening, and export.
BeArt’s 14 in 1 bundle offers a whopping 560 Lightroom presets created with fashion and design in mind. This package also comes with 520 Photoshop Actions, 520 Adobe Camera Raw Presets, and 25 Lightroom Brushes. If you’re looking for just a few specific presets, check out BeArt’s themed packages, like Wedding, Film Wedding (pictured here), Food, Pastel, and many more. Bonus: BeArt also offers a pack of 26 totally free Lightroom presets.
Professional photographer Jeff Isy offers a bundle of 9 Lightroom presets with themes like “Sun” and “Golden Hour.” Guaranteed to give your images an extra boost, you’ll also be sure to know just what these presets will look like thanks to Isy’s helpful inclusion of before and after images. He’s also created a comprehensive YouTube tutorial that explains how to add presets to Lightroom, as well as a video that shows his presets in action.
Seattle-based Mastin Labs is dedicated to creating presets that carry on film’s aesthetic legacy. Inspired by classic films like Kodak Portra and black and white Ilford, these presets are recommended for analog lovers and those looking to give their photography a timeless feel.