Are you getting the most out of your pictures? Before and after using Adobe Lightroom presets

By Cliff Kapatais | December, 16, 2011 | 0 comments

When I started photography I was convinced that everything you do with a picture should happen in the camera and the darkroom. Then digital cameras came along and changed the game. People who knew a lot less about phtoography started taking much better pictures than me. I was annoyed and slightly embarressed. How did this happen? Well two simple reasons: consumer grade digital cameras “enhance” pictures automatically and people started playing with picture editing software.

In the beginning I was appalled, tweaking pictures in photoshop was cheating in my eyes and I refused to partake for quite a while. Then two things dawned on me: editing digital pictures with software is actually the same as playing in the darkroom, and it is not considered cheating by the industry.

Editing pictures is an integral part of every photographers job, in fact professional photo retouching is a whole industry by itself. Every picture you will ever see on billboards, in magazines or anywhere else has been retouched!

So if you’re an aspiring photographer you should be intimately familiar with photoshop and of course Lightroom. I basically “grew up” with the different versions of photoshop over the years and truly love the program. When Lightroom came out I was reluctant to start using it, my logic was: everything I can do in Lightroom can be done in Photoshp as well. Now while this may be true there are a couple of compelling reasons to use Lightroom:

  • It’s great for organizing and managing your photo archive
  • It makes working with RAW images easy and painless

Once you get used to the slightly overwhelming interface of lightroom you have an amazing tool at your command that makes working with large amounts of pictures quick and hassel free. After finding the perfect settings for a picture, you then can save those settings as a preset and reapply them to any other picture or set of pictures. This has 2 great advantages: you can edit all pics of a shoot with a couple of clicks using batch processing and you can create great “moods” and save them as presets to be used another time.

Why should you bother?

Well let me show you the difference a Adobe Lightroom preset can make:

The "magic hour look" preset (click the picture to download the preset)

The "Twilight" preset (click the picture to download the preset)


Matt's "300" preset (click the picture to download the preset)

Convinced? Thought so… ;)

Not only can you create your own presets, the internet also offers tons of ready made presets for yout to play with. Either just google “Lightroom presets” or head over to one of the best places to find, discuss and offer different presets for Adobe Lightroom.

How do you install a preset for Lightroom?


  1. Download the preset file (usually a zip file)
  2. Unzip the preset zip file on to your desktop
  3. Go to the Develop module in Lightroom
  4. Go to the Presets panel on the left, right click anywhere in it and choose “Import”
  5. Select the .lrtemplate files you unzipped in Step 2 and click Import

Have fun pimping your pictures!!

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