If you’re a Lightroom user, i’m sure you’re aware of presets. A Lightroom preset is a package of settings that can be applied to one or multiple images with a single click. Lightroom presets can be a great time-saver and a source of inspiration when you’re editing your photos. They can also be what defines your photographic style, a set of presets that you use over and over to a point where people start recognizing your photos by the editing style used.
I have bought Lightroom presets a few times, mainly to be able to dissicate them and learn how they’re done so i can create my own. I have also bought presets to support a photographer that i felt i had gotten so much inspiration from that i wanted to buy his presets just to support his work.
I’ll give you a Lightroom preset for free
Maybe you think it’s difficult to create Lightroom presets? It’s not! Let’s create one together in a few simple steps. I’ll give it to you for free.
Let’s make something with this photo of some dry leaves and a plant marker that i discovered on a frosty February morning. The raw photo looks like this:
Yes, it’s flat and boring. Raw images are just that. Now let’s make some improvements and turn that into a preset that you can save and use for your own photos. Start Lightroom and open the develop module.
The Basic panel
Let’s begin in the basic panel, which you will find to the right of your image when you’re in the develop module.
These are the changes i made on the basic panel:
- Changed the temperature to 5838 to get a warmer tone
- Increased the contrast to +11
- Decreased the highlights to -14
- Increased the shadows +13
- Increased the whites to +55
- Decreased the blacks to -6
- Increased clarity to +33
- Increased saturation to +22
When you’re doing this, pay attention to what happens to the image. Pull the slider up and down and try to understand what happens. If you do this, you will gradually learn what effect each control has so you can figure out your own settings.
Next, let’s open the split toning panel. The controls found here are used to modify color tones in the highlights and shadows, which can create really cool effects.
These are the changes i made on the split toning panel:
- Changed highlights hue to 58, which is an warm orange tone
- Increased the Highlights saturation to 24
- Changed shadows hue to 45, which is a slightly more red orange tone than the one used for the highlights above
- Increased shadows saturation to 10, which means we tone the shadows less than the highlights
Next, open the details panel.
On the details panel, i pulled the sharpening slider up to 50. This gives us a crisper, sharper image. That’s it on this panel.
Finally, we open the effects panel.
On the effects panel, i created a slight vignette by changing the Post-crop vignetting amount to -24. Pull this control down carefully until you get a vignetting effect you like.
Allright, here’s our final image. Not too bad, huh?
Let’s turn the settings into a Lightroom preset
Now let’s package these changes into a preset that you can apply to your images with a single click. On the area to the left of your image, there’s a panel called Presets. Click on the little plus in the head of the panel to create a new preset.
This will open up this little window, where you can select which of your settings to include in your preset.
Choose a name for your preset and then click in the changes we have made. You could also click on the “Check all” button, which would select all the checkboxes. Click on the “Create” button and you have saved your own Lightroom preset. It wasn’t that difficult, was it?
How to use my Lightroom preset?
So how do you use this preset on other photos? All you do is select one or many of your photos and click on your preset in the Presets panel. If you don’t like the effect, simply go to the Edit->Undo menu to reverse all the changes.
Keep in mind that this preset will not work on any image. Also understand that the preset is not final. You can apply the preset as a starting point and then tweak the settings until you like the results. Those tweaks you can save as a new preset if you like.
If you used this advice, please leave a comment below. I’d love to see what you created.