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What Are Lightroom Presets?

Lightroom is Adobe’s graphics editor with many different features. The program has both desktop and mobile versions – the latter is very often used by bloggers for editing photos and making a grid on Instagram. They especially love the opportunity to work with presets.

What are Lightroom Presets?

Lightroom preset is a set of settings. Where you can copy the parameters from it and apply to process your other photos. The file can have all the standard settings: white balance, brightness, shadows, exposure and any other. Thanks to the preset, you won’t have to spend time processing every time: you’ll just use the ready-made presets and apply all the settings with one click.

In other words, you can edit the photo to your liking and then save this particular combination of settings for future use with another image.

Many new features and editing capabilities today

The Beta Version of Lightroom was released more than 12 years ago, and today it is a self-sufficient and flexible program. With a modular structure with hundreds of different tools and thousands of options and settings, it can be adapted for any type of photography workflow.

Lightroom was originally created for professional photographers as a photo archive management program to complement photoshop editing capabilities. Lightroom was originally called Photoshop Lightroom.

The only goal of the program was to solve the main problem of modern digital photography: to manage a large number of RAW files, otherwise called digital negatives.

Lightroom editing capabilities were extremely limited. Did you know that the first version of Lightroom didn’t even have the Crop Tool tool – Circumcision and framing?

Over the years, Lightroom has added many new features and editing capabilities, making it more functional and at the same time much more complex. In some areas, it even competes with Photoshop for complexity.

Everyone use Lighroom today

The mass use of Lightroom has increased dramatically in recent years. At the moment, the user base of the program varies from professional photographers to beginners and even amateur amateurs.

Widespread Lightroom in particular owes to the presence of a large number of Lightroom presets. Develop Preset functionality helped bridge the gap between the pros.

Non-destructive editing

You’ve probably heard many times that Lightroom uses non-destructive RAW editing, but very few photographers really understand what that means.

If I dig into my hard drive where all my RAW files are stored, I will see a bunch of photos that are with XMP files of the same name.

These ARW files are Sony RAW images in their own format. XMP files are Adobe metadata files that store additional information about the image. It not only stores EXIF metadata, such as date, time, exposure information, etc., but also stores Lightroom editing information.

When you edit a RAW file, it saves all the editing steps in the form of simple text recordings in the XMP file. You can also open XMP in any text editor, such as the Notebook.

When you select an image in Lightroom by clicking on it, the program reads the instructions in the XMP file line-up and creates a JPEG preview with all the changes applied. The original RAW file remains unchanged, and all you see is a JPEG preview.

The “Develop Presets” functionality takes full advantage of Lightroom’s non-destructive editing. What is preset is the pre-installation of lightroom settings is a simple text file with a list of editing instructions.

When you apply presets to an image, it copies the editing instructions from the preset file to the XMP file so Lightroom can read the instructions and generate a pre-editing version with all editing values listed in it.

Common ways to use Lightroom presets

The most common way to use Lightroom presets is the processing module. That’s why they’re called Lightroom Develop presets. In the processing module on the left panel under the navigator window, find the Presets panel. Open it by clicking the triangular icon. Inside you’ll find several pre-installed folders (collections). When you open the presets folder, you’ll see individual presets inside. You’ll find your imported presets. To use Lightroom, click the preset name, and Lightroom will apply editing instructions from the preset file to the selected image.

Before you start organizing and editing photos, you first need to import them into the Lightroom catalog. This allows Lightroom to track and manage photos.

The import module gives us a wide range of options for applying to images during the import process. For example, renaming an image, creating a preview, tagging, and so on. Another very useful option that I regularly use is the ability to apply pre-installation of manifestations to all photos during import.

By importing landscape photography, you can apply to all imported photos your most common and versatile preset, such as Natural. This makes mass editing easier. Or another option is to apply pre-installation of lens correction to all photos.

I don’t think it’s very useful to use development presets in the library module. However, you always have the option to apply development pre-installations to your chosen photo when you select and organize your photos in the library module.

Go to the “Fast Processing” panel in the Library module and select the preset name in the drop-down “Saved Presets” menu.

The biggest misconception

The biggest misconception about Lightroom presets is that they are only used by beginners and are considered an unfair label or deception. It’s far from reality.

The truth is that not every beginner uses presets when editing their photos. But every professional photographer whose workflow includes Lightroom uses presets every day.

If you’re a photographer who produces a large number of digital images, Lightroom’s pre-installed features not only help speed up the editing process, but also make your photo more consistent and yield predictable results.

Here are some ways in which Lightroom’s pre-installed functionality can help photographers of different levels and experiences.

If you’re new, the best way to use Lightroom settings is to use it as a tool to explore Lightroom.

Achieve fast results with presets

The hardest part of studying Lightroom is that the initial learning curve is very steep. It takes too long to see results you can be proud of and, as a result, often makes beginners quit in the middle of the process.

With preset-based editing, you can achieve relatively fast results, which provides motivation. Later, you can do reverse engineering of pre-configured effects to learn how to get similar results with Lightroom Develop tools.

If you are a more experienced photographer, the main task is to develop your own style of photography.

Although it takes time to learn all the intricacies of Lightroom, the process of developing your personal photography style takes ten times longer. This is a long and gradual process. I firmly believe that building your own preinstalled library will help you speed up the process and make it more thoughtful.

Use presets as a basis

I always recommend that my readers use my presets as a basis for developing their own collections.

And, of course, if you’re a professional or semi-professional photographer, the pre-installation editing workflow accelerates and optimizes the entire Lightroom editing workflow. This will help you do your job faster, allowing you to attract more customers and earn more revenue.

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