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How to Install and Use Lightroom Presets

Kevin Whipps March 31, 2021 · 4 min read
If you’ve never used it before, Adobe Lightroom is a powerful photo editing tool that lets you tweak and tune your images before you do any kind of manipulation in Photoshop. You can adjust colors, settings, and more, and once you have a system, you can apply it to batches of images at a time, quickly and easily. Basically, it’s a cool tool for both professional photographers and aspiring Instagram models, as well. But the magic really comes alive with presets. These are kits that you can either create or purchase that apply a specific set of filters to your image. Sometimes it’s adjusting the saturation, other times it’s sharpness, colors, and tones. There are thousands of options out there. You just have to know where to look and how to install the kits. Fortunately, we’ve got that covered. Let’s take a moment to walk you through the process of first finding a preset, then installing it, and finally, using it on your images. Don’t worry, it’s super easy.

Step 1: Get a preset

Now obviously there are a lot of places where you can get a preset, but you’re already here, so why not check out some of the cool ones here at Creative Market? It’s easy to find: Go to Add Ons > Plug-ins, and you’ll find a ton of options for all sorts of products. If you want to go one step further, type Lightroom in the search field, or just follow this handy link. That’ll take you there, easy. For the purposes of this article, I picked up the Editorial Collection for Lightroom by The Preset Factory Ltd. At $14 it was right in my wheelhouse, and I like the aesthetic that the kit offers. Plus, it works with Adobe CC, which is what we’re working with for this article.

Step 2: Installation

The obvious first part here is to open up Lightroom. Second, navigate to the menu bar and go to Edit > Preferences. On a Mac, it’s under Lightroom > Preferences. lightroom setup 001 Next, a pop-up window will appear, and that’s where you’ll see a series of tabs at the top of the screen. Choose Presets, and look toward the middle of the window. See that one that says Develop Presets? Click that. lightroom setup 002 Now a folder will appear on your screen, and it’s the one where you’re going to put your new presets. Just drag or copy them into the folder, and you’re good. lightroom setup 003 Shut down Lightroom and then fire it back up, and you’re ready to use your new presets.

Step 3: Use the presets

I went to New England back in March of 2017, and although it was to attend a funeral, I took some time on the way back to check out a brick. See, my wife bought me an engraved brick in 2012 that was then set down permanently at Fenway Park, the home of my favorite baseball team, the Boston Red Sox. I hadn’t been back to Boston since 2008, so this would be the first time I’d see the brick in person. After talking to a bunch of people in the organization, I worked it out that if I went there for a tour, I could pull a tour guide aside and they could take me to see my brick. I took a bunch of pictures, but I never went through them with any kind of fancy filter until today. Here’s how it all went down. lightroom in use 000 The process starts by going into the Develop tab in Lightroom. Then, on the left-hand side (yours might look different if you’ve played around with your layout), is the Presets field. Inside there you’ll find all of the presets you imported. In this case, my editorial bundle has quite a few options. lightroom in use 002 How do you put them into action? Just click on one of them and you’re good. The preview will show right away, and you can continue to experiment to your heart’s content. Once you’re all done, just save the file per normal and you’re done. Seriously, it’s that easy.

Buttoning it all up

Lightroom is underrated to some people. I know I leaned heavily on Photoshop over Lightroom for my photo processing for years, but once you play around with it a bit more, you’ll realize that Lightroom has a lot to offer. It’s not the perfect program, and there’s definitely a learning curve. But fortunately, working with presets is one of the easier things you’ll do. Now get out there and start making some photos better!
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About the Author
Kevin Whipps

Hi! My name is Kevin Whipps, and I'm a writer and editor based in Phoenix, Arizona. When I'm not working taking pictures of old cars and trucks, I'm either writing articles for Creative Market or hawking stickers at Whipps Sticker Co.

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