Delving into the digital darkroom can be an intimidating venture, especially when it comes to figuring out the vast array of sliders and tools at one’s disposal in applications like Adobe Lightroom. However, the smart use of presets can truly revolutionize your photo editing workflow, allowing you to create stunning images with a single click. This tutorial aims to demystify the power of Lightroom presets and provide practical insights for their effective use.

Understanding Lightroom Presets

Before diving into the hows and whys, let’s first clarify what a Lightroom preset is. In simple terms, a preset is a configuration of settings, designed to achieve a specific look or style of your photo. By clicking on a preset, Lightroom will automatically adjust your image according to the preset settings.

The Benefits of Using Lightroom Presets

Presets can be real game-changers for your photo editing process. The most apparent benefit is time-efficiency. With just a few clicks, presets allow you to apply complicated edits and adjustments that can usually take several minutes or even hours to do manually.

In addition to time saving, presets can contribute to achieving a consistent style across your photography. They provide a uniform theme to all your images, hence strengthening your brand identity. It’s like having a signature editing style that is recognizable and connects with your audience.

Creating Your Own Lightroom Presets

Lightroom comes with a set of default presets to get you started, but the real magic happens when you start creating your own. Imagine after spending hours perfecting a look for a photo, you could save that exact combination of settings as a preset and apply it to future images with just one click.

Applying and Tweaking Presets

Applying a preset to your image is as easy as one click. However, it’s indispensable to remember that presets are starting points, not end points. They are designed to be tweaked and fine-tuned depending on the individual requirement of your photo. While a preset might look great on one image, it may not work perfectly on another due to differences in lighting conditions, colors, or other variables. Here’s where your artistry comes in! Using presets as a starting point and adjusting to taste is generally the key to get the best results.

Creating Presets in Lightroom

Presets are truly the secret weapon of efficient photo editing. Once you’ve tweaked the settings of an image in Lightroom to your satisfaction, creating a preset is as easy as clicking on the ‘+’ sign in the Presets Panel and naming your new preset. Be mindful of the adjustments you include in the preset – it’s usually best to leave out adjustments specific to a particular photo, like crop, spot removal, or red-eye correction.

How to Use Presets in Lightroom

Once you have your presets created or purchased, using them is effortless. Navigate to the Develop module, choose the image you want to process, and you’ll find the presets panel on the left side of the screen. Click on the preset you wish to apply to the image, and voilà, your photo is instantly transformed. However, remember that presets are a starting point, and further refinement might often be needed. You can revisit the adjustment panels and fine-tune the image until perfection.

Talking about perfection, your editing process could be significantly faster and more comfortable by mastering some keyboard shortcuts in Lightroom. From switching between modules to adjusting brush sizes, these shortcuts will help you edit photos like a pro!

Sharing Presets

In addition to using presets for personal uses, you could also share them with the photography community. Whether it’s exchanging with friends, offering freebies on your website, or monetizing your unique editing styles, sharing presets might open the door to new networking and business opportunities.


In conclusion, the true power of presets lies in their ability to speed up your photo editing workflow, create a consistent aesthetic, and offer a platform for creativity and experimentation. However, using presets should not replace the fundamental understanding of color grading, toning, and other manual adjustments in Lightroom. They are tools to boost your productivity, not a one-size-fits-all solution. Always view them as a starting point and don’t be afraid to tweak any preset to match your unique vision.

Ready to unleash the power of presets in Lightroom? Start exploring the endless possibilities today. Have any preset success stories, or perhaps some useful tips to share? Drop us a comment below and join in on the conversation.