How to create Presets in Lightroom: The Ultimate Guide

Are you tired of spending hours editing each photo individually? Dive into the world of Adobe Lightroom presets and revolutionize your workflow. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about creating, using, and customizing Lightroom Presets. I’ll cover everything from basics to advanced tricks to create a Lightroom Preset. So, let’s get started. 

What are Presets in Lightroom?

Presets are a set of pre-defined editing adjustments that can be applied to your photos with a single click. You can think of them as a recipe for your edits. You can apply a preset to your photo and watch your photo change in front of your eyes. You don’t have to manually adjust sliders for exposure and contrast, color, etc. It’s like you have a professional photo editor on speed dial ready to work on your images.

Why use Lightroom presets?

Now, you might be wondering, why bother with presets when I can edit my photos manually? Well, the answer is simple: time and consistency. Presets allow you to achieve consistent, professional-looking results across your entire photo library in a fraction of the time it would take to edit each photo individually. Whether you’re editing a single image or a whole batch, presets can shave hours off your editing workflow, leaving you with more time to focus on what you love: taking photos.

How Presets can Streamline your Editing Process?

The benefits of presets extend far beyond just saving time. By using the same preset on multiple photos, you’ll be able to keep the same look and feel throughout your portfolio, creating continuity and professionalism that’ll make your photos stand out from the community. Whether you’re a hobbyist who wants to add a touch of polish to your Instagram feed or a professional photographer looking for consistency in their portfolio, presets can be the secret ingredient you need to elevate your editing game.

How to Create Preset in Lightroom?

Now that you know what presets are all about, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to create your own. While it’s easy to use pre-made presets, there’s something satisfying about creating your custom editing style. Not only that but creating your own presets allows you to customize them exactly how you want them and how your photos need to be edited.

Selecting the Right Base Image

The first step in creating your preset is selecting the right base image. Choose a photo that represents the style you want to achieve and is typical of the type of images you frequently edit. Whether it’s a landscape shot in golden hour light, or a portrait shot with rich, dark hues, your base image will serve as the foundation for your preset.

Understanding Lightroom’s Editing Tools

Before diving into creating presets, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with Lightroom’s editing tools. From exposure, contrast, and saturation to sharpness and more, Lightroom has a ton of options to tweak your photos. Experiment with different settings until you get a feel for how each one impacts your images.

Crafting Your Editing Style

Now that you’ve chosen your base image and Lightroom’s editing tools, it’s time to start creating your editing style. Begin by adjusting your basic settings, such as exposure, contrast, white balance, etc., to get the look you’re looking for. Then, work your way up to more advanced adjustments, such as split toning, and selective color adjustments, to add depth and nuances to your images.

Saving Your Settings as a Preset

Once you’re satisfied with your edits, save them as a new preset.

  • To save a new preset in Lightroom, go to the Develop module and select your base image.
  • Open the Presets panel in Lightroom and click on the “+” icon.
  • Enter a descriptive name for your new preset that matches its style and settings.
  • Finally, choose the appropriate folder to organize your new preset.


Fine-Tuning and Refining

The process of creating presets is iterative, so don’t be afraid to try new things and fine-tune your settings as you go. As you learn more about editing and creating presets, you may find new tricks or preferences that you’d like to add to your presets. Keep in mind, though, that presets are designed to be flexible and adaptive, so you’ll want to go back and adjust them as needed.

 Organizing Your Presets Library

As your collection of presets grows, organization becomes increasingly important. Make sure to organize your presets by theme, style, or use case. This will help you find the right preset at the right time and keep your editing process streamlined and efficient.

Pros and Cons of Lightroom Presets


Time-Saving Efficiency

Presets enable you to make complex editing changes to your images with just a few clicks, saving you a lot of time and energy. Whether you’re editing a single photo or a collection of images, presets can significantly reduce your editing time and allow you to spend more time shooting and being creative.

Consistency Across Your Portfolio

By using the same preset on multiple images, you can create a consistent look and feel throughout your portfolio. This consistency helps you establish your style as a professional photographer and create an eye-catching portfolio that speaks to your audience.

Inspiration and Exploration

In addition to being a practical tool for editing, presets can also be a source of inspiration. Experimenting with different presets allows you to experiment with different editing styles, different editing techniques, and creative options that you might not have thought of before. Presets can inspire creativity and help you to think differently in your editing process.

Learning and Education

Studying and analyzing other photographers’ presets can be a great way to learn more about the art and science behind photo editing. Studying how different presets achieve different looks and effects can help you hone your editing skills and fine-tune your own presets.

Workflow Optimization

Presets help you work faster and easier by giving you a structure to your edits. You don’t have to start from scratch every time you edit a photo. Instead, you can use a preset that matches the look you’re going for and then tweak the settings to match the unique features of your image.


Lack of Customization

 While presets are a great way to get started, they don’t always give you the results you’re looking for. Each photo is different and presets aren’t the same for everyone. This means you may need to make a few more adjustments to get the look you’re going for, which can take away from some of the other time-saving features of presets.

Overdependence on Presets

Over-reliance on presets can hold you back from developing your skills as a photographer and limit your creative freedom. If you get too used to using presets, you may lose sight of the fact that learning basic editing skills and developing your unique editing style is more important than ever. It’s important to find a balance between relying on presets and developing your editing skills on your own.

Risk of Overediting

Some presets can be too aggressive in their edits, resulting in unnatural-looking edits. This can damage the authenticity and quality of your photos. Be careful when using presets and don’t make too many heavy-handed edits, which can lead to loss of detail or image distortion. Always balance enhancing your photos with preserving their integrity.

Limited Flexibility

While lightroom’s presets provide some degree of flexibility, they are by definition set in stone. If you have an idea for your photo that drastically differs from the presets available to you, you may not be able to get the result you want with presets alone. In this case, you may need to manually edit your photo to achieve your creative vision.


How do I install presets in Lightroom?

To install presets, open Lightroom, navigate to the Develop module click on the “+” icon beside the Presets panel, then select “Import Presets” and select the preset files that you want to install.

Can I use presets on mobile devices?

Yes, Lightroom mobile supports presets. You can sync your presets across devices using Adobe Creative Cloud.

Are presets customizable?

Yes, you can adjust the settings of presets to suit your individual photos and style.

Can I create my own presets? 

Absolutely! Lightroom allows you to create custom presets based on your editing preferences.

Do presets work with all types of photos?

While presets can work well with many types of photos, they may require some adjustments depending on factors like lighting and subject matter.

Are presets suitable for professional photographers? 

Yes, many professional photographers use presets to streamline their workflow and maintain consistency across their portfolios.

How do I organize my preset library? 

You can organize your presets into folders within the Presets panel in Lightroom.

Can I share my presets with others?

Yes, you can export your presets and share them with friends, clients, or other photographers.

Do presets affect the quality of my photos? 

Presets are non-destructive and will not degrade the quality of your photos.


In conclusion, if you’ve ever used Lightroom to edit photos, you know that creating presets is one of the most important parts of the process. Once you learn how to create presets, you’ll be able to save a ton of time and turn your photos into beautiful, professional-looking images with just a couple of clicks. Get creative, experiment with different settings and enjoy the power of presets that make your photos shine!

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