A Few Tips
The type of presets you create will depend on whether they’re for your own photos, or for sharing with others. Here’s a few examples:
- If you always apply a specific profile, add a little Texture, enable Lens Corrections and increase Noise Reduction before you start editing, a “starting point” preset can save a lot of work.
- If you have specific groups of settings you frequently apply, such as gentle Sharpening and negative Texture for portraits, and higher Sharpening and positive Texture for landscapes, these combinations are a great candidate for presets.
- If you have a specific “look” that you love, and want to reuse it on other photos or share with others.
For a preset to be useful on a whole range of photos, start with a photo that’s well exposed, especially if you’re going to include Basic panel (Classic) / Light panel (cloud-based) sliders. If you can, it’s best to exclude the Exposure slider from your preset, so the preset doesn’t override any exposure correction that’s already applied to the photo.
Think about which sliders you need to include to recreate a specific effect. For example, if you’re creating a high contrast B&W to share with others, you don’t need to override the existing sharpening and lens correction settings, but you may want to reset any existing tone curve adjustments, even if you’re not using the tone curve in the preset.
Give the presets descriptive names, and organize them into groups or categories. This helps you find the presets again later, especially as your collection grows.
Finally, if you’re planning on sharing or selling the presets, test them on a wide range of photos, captured on multiple different cameras and in different light, to ensure that they’ll work well in many situations.
Create a Lightroom Preset
- Adjust a photo to the settings that you want to save as your preset.
- Press the + button on the Presets panel and select Create Profile to show the New Develop Preset dialog. The dialog may look slightly different, depending on which app you’re using, but the principles are the same.
- Check or uncheck the sliders you want to save in your preset. If a checkbox is unchecked, that slider won’t be adjusted when you apply your preset to another photo. For example, if your preset is just for Sharpening settings, uncheck the other checkboxes and only leave the Sharpening checkbox checked.
- Give your new preset a name, and add it to a group to keep the presets organized.
- Press the Create button. Your preset now appears in the Presets panel, ready to apply to your photos.
- To share the preset with another Lightroom user, right-click on the preset or preset group and select Export/Export Group. Then select a folder on your hard drive. Alternatively, right-click on a preset and select Show in Explorer (Windows) / Show in Finder (Mac) to find them manually.
Create a DNG for Mobile Users
Last week, we learned that the Lightroom mobile apps can’t import presets directly, and that they have to be synced from the desktop app. However, for the photographers who only use the mobile apps, there is a workaround using DNG files.
This solution also works for sharing presets created in Lightroom Classic 7.3 /cloud-based 1.3 or later with those who use older Lightroom versions (e.g., Lightroom 6), which use the older .lrtemplate format presets. Of course, older Lightroom versions will ignore newer sliders, such as Texture and the new style profiles, so the preset may look different on older Lightroom versions.
To create a DNG file to share the settings:
- Open a raw photo in Lightroom Classic and reset the settings to the defaults.
- Apply the settings or preset to the photo.
- Go to File menu > Export and export the photo as a DNG with the following settings:
- File Naming: Custom Name, and enter the preset name.
- File Settings: DNG, Use Lossy Compression
- Image Sizing: Long Edge 2560px (this reduces the size of the resulting image file, to make it easier to share)
- Send the resulting DNG photo to the mobile user by email, Dropbox, iCloud or similar, along with the installation instructions from last week’s post.
For extensive information on Lightroom Classic, see Adobe Lightroom Classic – The Missing FAQ.
If you have the Photography Plan, then as well as Classic you have access to the Lightroom cloud ecosystem including the mobile apps and web interface. For more information on these apps, see Adobe Lightroom – Edit Like a Pro.
Note: purchase of these books includes the first year’s Classic or cloud-based Premium Membership (depending on the book purchased), giving access to download the latest eBook (each time Adobe updates the software), email assistance for the applicable Lightroom version if you hit a problem, and other bonuses.
We also have a special bundle offer for the two books. This includes Premium Membership for the first year as described above for the whole Lightroom family!