Anytime I talk to professional photographers or other Lightroom users I am quick to ask if they are using Lightroom presets. I do this because I really can't imagine my Lightroom experience without them.
I was already an experienced Lightroom user and photographer when I was first introduced to presets. They immediately made my workflow in Lightroom MUCH FASTER. If you are a professional photographer and you are not already using Lightroom presets, here are 5 reasons you should start.
I don't know one professional photographer that wants to spend more time editing their photos or one who doesn't want to spend more time with friends and family during a busy season. Not one!
This is exactly where Lightroom presets come in. They will save you time - LOTS of time!
Presets have the ability to take the repetitiveness of editing and automate it. Those 3 sliders you are constantly moving to the same settings on every photo you edit can be ONE-CLICK. Those 2 or 3 sliders that you use to increase or decrease the exposure on your image - ONE-CLICK. I'm really not kidding. It is that easy!
Edited with presets from the Pretty Presets Clean Edit Portrait Workflow Collection.
Before I found Lightroom presets, editing my photos was a long trip through 5 or 6 of the 9 Lightroom Develop Module panels. The sliders were easy to adjust, but the time it took me to make my way through all those panels was sometimes complicated and took a lot of time.
With Lightroom presets, I have completely simplified my editing process in Lightroom and eliminated the need to click through each of those panels. I just click one of my presets to make the adjustment I need.
Only if something isn't quite working do I click over to a panel to make a few adjustments. So, instead of opening those 5-6 panels in the Develop Module, I now make 5-6 clicks through my presets panel instead. SIMPLE!
Edited with presets from the Clean Edit Portrait Workflow Collection.
At the beginning of my professional photography journey, I had an idea of what I wanted my finished photography product to look like but didn't have the Lightroom skills to get there. Presets would have saved me so much time finding my style and perfecting my editing. Lightroom presets have certainly solidified that for me now.
I admit that I do have some Lightroom presets on my hard drive that I don't use very often. However, the ones that I do use, helped me discover my editing style and saved me lots of time are GOLD.
Sometimes you have a little waste when mining for gold and that is how I look at those other presets. Also, some of those presets helped me to know what WASN'T my editing style and that knowledge is important, too.
Edited with the Pretty Presets Bohemian Film Collection.
If you talk to any professional photographer or anyone who mentors professional photographers, one of the key tips they will share with you is the need for consistency in your shooting and editing style. This helps clients know exactly what to expect when they book a session with you.
Lightroom presets help make this editing consistency simple and straight-forward. No matter where or when I shoot a session, I can be assured that the outcome will look consistent and clients will easily know my images when they see them. Presets are an important key to this for me.
Edited using presets from the Pretty Presets Bohemian Film Collection.
Occasionally I hear from other photographers who say that Lightroom presets don't work on their images. When I hear this, I have lots of advice to share and have generally learned that this complaint means those photographers are not as familiar with their Lightroom editing tool as they should be.
There is no way for a preset to look EXACTLY the same on every image shot by every different photographer on every different camera. There are just too many variables for this to be reasonable.
However, all presets can be completely customized to your image and shooting style. And the better you are at getting a good, consistent exposure in-camera the easier the editing process will be.
The first couple of times I apply a preset, I know I may have to make a few adjustments. If I find myself making the same adjustments to the preset over and over, then I know that is a change that I can make to the preset and then save it.
If I find myself applying the same combination of presets over and over (I like layerable presets best) then it is probably time to save those settings as a preset to use again and save even more time..
Learn to use Lightroom. This seems like an obvious part of using presets. If you don't know how to use Lightroom well, you will not be able to customize the settings how you would like. Time spent learning to use Lightroom's powerful tools is time well-spent!
Invest in good quality presets that have been well-thought out and carefully made. How do you know if they are good quality? Ask yourself these questions: Has the company been around for a while? Are they selling their entire store for 90% off (many foreign rip off companies do this)? Do they have satisfied customers and good ratings? Do they invest in their customers by providing high-level content on their website, Facebook groups, or wherever they interact with their customers?
My favorite Lightroom Presets come from Pretty Presets! Laura, Karlen and their awesome photography team have been innovating and producing very high quality presets for nearly 10 years and were founded to encourage and inspire others to grow both personally and professionally through their photography journey. Plus, all of their preset packages are very reasonably priced! What more can you ask for?
Just take a look at their product reviews and/or join their Lightroom Facebook Group for inspiration, view how other photographers are using Pretty Presets, participate photography challenges and much more.
Edited with presets from the Bella Baby Complete Workflow.
Don't miss out on the opportunity to use Lightroom to its full potential. Lightroom presets do just this. Your time is valuable and if something can help you be the most efficient photo editor possible, you should definitely explore the options and take advantage of it.
Want to know exactly what to pack when you're a wedding photographer?
Download your free checklist here.