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What Are Lightroom Presets?

Posted by Brad Matthews on
What Are Lightroom Presets? - Brad Matthews

What Are Lightroom Presets Blog Cover Photo

 

In the modern world of Photography we are always bumping into technical terms and industry slang. If you're just getting started out in Photography, one of the most popular words you might have caught on to is 'presets', which is probably what lead you to this blog post. Without further ado, let's dive in and take a look at what presets actually are and how they can help you on your photography journey.

 

Lightroom Classic

First of all, let's start by taking a quick look at the holy grail of photo editing software, Adobe Lightroom Classic. In the days of film photography, you'd use a darkroom to process your photographic film and make any adjustments or enhancements to ultimately develop or print the photos you took. Thankfully, gone are the complex days of using a concoction of optical chemicals and an entire room full of equipment to see your images come to life.

In recent times, Lightroom Classic has become the industry standard in digital photo editing among photographers from hobbyists to the pros. That's because Lightroom Classic is essentially a digital Darkroom (see what they did there!). It houses all the tools and features to develop, file and print your photographs, just like a darkroom but in one convenient software application.

Over the past few years, you may have heard people use the term 'Just Photoshop It!' when referring to any sort of photo editing. While Photoshop has become synonymous with photo editing, there is sometimes confusion when it comes to differentiating the two applications. Both Lightroom and Photoshop are created by Adobe, who offer a range of photo/video editing applications. If you're new to all this, it might sound a little bit confusing and at first, so here's a quick overview of the two.

  • Adobe Lightroom Classic: Digital darkroom to develop/colour grade your raw images and file and prep your photos for printing (or digitally export and share online).
  • Adobe Photoshop: In-depth editing tool/software mainly used to make more precise alterations like removing large unwanted objects from photos, or manipulating images more extensively.

The main take-away is it's ability to colour-grade and edit raw images efficiently. Although you can do this in Photoshop, Lightroom Classic is a lot more comprehensive and intuitive, which is why it's so widely adopted by photographers.

 

Colour Grading

"Well what is colour grading and why do I need to do that?" - Is what you're probably asking next. If you haven't already seen it, be sure to check out my post on why you should alway shoot raw!

When shooting in raw, rather than jpeg, we have the flexibility to manipulate the colours and exposure in post-production due to the amount of data the raw file retains from the camera. Some reasons we might want to manipulate an image in post are:

  • Correct under/overexposed images
  • Correct the white balance of an image
  • Boost the colours of a landscape photo or fine tune the correct skin tone of a portrait
  • Achieve a unique look to your photos by applying presets (filters)
  • Create a consistent style across a variety of your photos (useful in creating a great Instagram feed)

 

Presets

Okay, so no we understand a bit more about Lightroom Classic and the principles of colour grading your images, what are Lightroom presets? Presets are essentially Filters that you can use in Lightroom. Instead of spending hours trying to figure out how to navigate Lightroom and create a look or style from the ground up, you can simply download a preset to instantly achieve your desired look.

Because every photo is different, you'll always have to adjust a few of the exposure parameters to tailor the preset to your photo. However, using presets saves a tremendous amount of time and helps you get through collections of photos much quicker.

 

Final Thoughts

Presets are a great tool to speed up your editing process while completely transforming your photos using Lightroom. Be sure to check out my preset range on the store today, or purchase the Adventure Collective Preset Pack, including 9 premium presets, 12 RAW images for practice and an exclusive editing tutorial to help you get the most out of your new presets.

If you don't currently use Lightroom or Photoshop, click the link below to sign up to the Adobe Creative Cloud photography plan for just £9.99 per month! 

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