Adobe Lightroom is a powerful photo management and editing application that gets better and better with every release. Like any new piece of software it can be daunting editing your images and understanding some of the controls. Fear not though, Lightroom ships a number of “Lightroom Presets” and the good news is there are a stack of photographers out there developing and supplying (many of them free) their own custom presets.
Presets are simply a one click image transformation for your photos. Personally I think if you are going to get the most from Lightroom you should think of presets as a starting point, i.e. add the effect and then apply your own future adjustment to attain the desired output, don’t just apply a preset and export.
I have been using a range of presets over the last month and in addition to the obvious benefit of transforming my images I have also learned a considerable amount in how the ‘Develop’ tab works in Lightroom and how to manually manipulate my photos.
Admittedly not all presets out there are free but any I have paid for have cost around $10 for a set which is perfectly affordable (just). In buying presets I am not sure I am buying anything extra special but removing the hassle of going looking for the free alternatives.
Installing Presets is simple. Load Lightroom, select any image and click on the Develop tab on the top right of the application. Now right click in the presets tab (left of the screen and select “install”). Find the preset you have downloaded and want to install and Lightroom will add it to the Presets menu.
As your list of presets grow you can create folders for easy management and access. There is a complete guide to installing LR Presets in the Long Exposure eBook (that also comes with some presets for long exposure photography).
Sources of Free Lightroom Presets
Lightroom ships with a nice set of presets but here are some sites that offer both free Lightroom presets.
Lightroom Preset : Autumn Fresh
FlixelPix Dramatic Landscape
FlixelPix Macro Preset
FlixelPix Red Concert Preset
FlixelPix : Vintage
FlixelPix : Grit – Black and White Portrait
FlixelPix : Ethereal Preset
FlixelPix : Summer
FlixelPix : Autumn Free Lightroom Preset
FlixelPix : Sweets Free Lightroom Preset
Other Free Lightroom Presets
Photography Pla Presets
Vintage New York Preset
Max Payne Style Preset
Christian Andrl’s Free Lightroom Presets
Dror Eyal Photography
Camera Dojo Free Presets
Rebecca Myers Presets
Two Free Hollywood Presets
Shutter Sisters Presets
Better Black and White
Lightroom presets are a great foundation for processing an image. I’ve gone from using a series of presets to developing my own unique catalogue that I use on a regular basis but only ever as a starting point. If you have discovered any good sources of free Lightroom Presets please feel free to post them in the comments.
Other Lightroom Tutorials
How to add Copyright Information in Lightroom
How to use the Painter Tool in Lightroom
How to Create a Lightroom Preset
How to sync white balance in Lightroom.
How to move Lightroom Catalogues
Free Preset : Sweets