Explore the true beauty of your photographs with Lightroom Presets | By: Presets.com

Now-a-days, simply taking the pictures is not sufficient enough.

Your job requires more, and the photo is only half the battle. Your job as a creative photographer requires not only photos, but editing skills as well. Guess what? Adobe Lightroom presets are here to change the way you look at the photography business. With Adobe Lightroom presets, you can create top quality photos that reflect only the highest quality professional experience available. No more frustrating, time consuming edits.

In this guide, you will be given the keys and resources needed to take advantage of the features that presets offer in Adobe Lightroom.

What Are Lightroom Presets?

Quick definition: Lightroom presets are an array of photo edit settings within Lightroom, which bundle together creating a polished final result. All this with only the click of a button. You, too, can benefit from this simple, yet highly effective photography tool.

How To Use Lightroom Presets

  • With an image uploaded and selected in Lightroom, click the ‘Edit’ icon.
  • Locate and click ‘Presets’ at the bottom of the column of editing panels, this will open up the presets panel.
  • From the ‘Presets’ panel, find and select the category title to open the presets in that given category. (To preview how a preset will look on your image, hover over the preset without clicking on it. You’ll notice that some of the controls in the editing panel will change. Expert Tip: This is an effective way to to teach yourself about the effects of different editing controls in Lightroom.)
  • Once you find a preset you like, proceed by clicking on it – which will apply the preset to your image. You can apply one, or multiple, presets to an image.
  • You have the ability to remove a preset using the ‘Undo’ or ‘Revert to Original’ commands in Lightroom.
  • If you want more than one version of a photo, each with different presets applied, choose ‘Edit>Make a Copy’. By doing so, an additional copy of the image will appear in your photo library.

How To Install Lightroom Presets


There are a couple of different methods you can use to import and install Lightroom presets, simply depending on which version of Lightroom you are using. Below, you’ll find both methods.


    1. Open your zip file.
    2. Save the selected preset folder in an easy to find location on your computer prior to importing Lightroom presets.
    3. Copy (Command + C on a Mac or CTRL + C on a PC) the entire preset collection folder you’ve chosen to import. Be sure you do not copy any PDFs or Brush folders by accident.
    4. Open Lightroom CC and select the “editing” icon from the upper right corner of the menu bar, which is located on the right side of your screen.
    5. Click on ‘Presets’ at the bottom of the editing panel you’ve just opened. This will open up the Presets panel.
    6. Click on the 3 dots at the top of the Presets panel, then proceed by clicking ‘Open Presets Folder’.
    7. From there, you will be taken to a folder labeled ‘Develop Presets’, where you will see a folder inside of it named ‘User Presets’. Go ahead and click inside the ‘User Presets’ folder and Paste (Command + V on a Mac or CTRL + V on a PC) the entire preset collection folder into the ‘User Presets’ folder.
    8. From here, you will need to restart Lightroom. Then you’re done!


  1. Open your zip file.
  2. Save your selected presets folder in an easy to find location on your computer for quick access.
  3. Copy (Command + C on a Mac or CTRL + C on a PC) the entire preset collection folder (make sure you don’t copy any PDFs or Brush folders during this process).
  4. Open Lightroom and select the following from the menu bar: Mac = Lightroom > Preferences. PC = Edit > Preferences.
  5. Once the Preferences box pops up, make sure you are on the Presets tab, and then click the ‘Show Lightroom Presets Folder’ button.
  6. At this point, you will be taken to a folder named ‘Lightroom’. Click inside it and find the ‘Develop Presets’ folder.
  7. Paste (Command + V on a Mac or CTRL + V on a PC) the entire preset collection folder you chose earlier, into the ‘Develop Presets’ folder.
  8. Lastly, restart Lightroom and you’re good to go!

How To Make Your Own Lightroom Presets

Want to know how to make Lightroom presets on your own?

You can absolutely get in the groove of Lightroom by making your own presets, exporting them, sharing them or even importing presets from other photographers. Firstly, you will need to make a change to your image in order to be able to save a ‘preset’. You could start with a Tone Curve adjustment. Go to the ‘Tone Curve’ panel, and select the ‘Point Curve’ icon.

Now, go ahead and click about ½ to ⅓ of the way from the bottom. Finally, click the square box at the point of the bottom right of the box, proceed by dragging it up while holding down the ‘Shift’ key on your keyboard. The black parts of your image fade, giving it a cool-retro look. You can see the before and after view of this edit by pressing the ‘Y’ key on your keyboard.

If you like the effect you’ve created, you can save it by going over to the ‘Presets’ panel and clicking the plus (+) within the panel header. Another option would be choosing ‘New Preset’ in the ‘Develop’ menu, or use the keyboard shortcut, as follows: Shift + Command + N on a Mac or Shift + Control + N for PC. This shortcut opens the ‘New Develop Preset’ dialog box where you can save your settings.

How To Correctly Save Your Lightroom Preset

Okay, listen up!

This is a good moment to talk about what you include (or not include) when you save your presets. You have the option to simply save everything into the preset (this is the default). No harm in this, except it generally means that the preset you created will only work on photographs that start out looking similar to the one you just edited. Another downfall is that the preset you just created will overwrite all develop settings you applied to the image prior to creating the new preset. Basically, any other work you’ve already done to the photo will be lost.

But don’t worry, there are better options ahead!

The second option you have is to exclude ‘Exposure’ from your preset. When you choose this route, any changes to the apparent brightness of your photo that you may have applied prior to creating a preset, will remain intact. A much better option!

The third option you have is to save only the settings that are making any change to your photos. In this case, we’ve just used the ‘Tone Curve’, so you could press the ‘Check None’ button, then tick ‘Tone Curve’, followed by ‘Process Version’. Always best to include that last tick, so that all prior settings apply correctly.

As far as organization goes, we recommend making an additional ‘New Folder’ for the presets you’re creating. To do so, click the ‘Folder’ menu and select ‘New Folder’ at the top of the menu. Now, name the new folder ‘Tone Curves’ (in this case). Last but not least, go ahead and give your new preset a useful name. For this example, you could use a name like ‘Fade Blacks’, or ‘Lighten Blacks’.

How To Apply Your Presets On Other Images

Alright, now that you’ve created a preset, it can now be applies to any other photographs. Feel free to test out the new presets on an image that has other settings already applied, or to a raw one. If you saved your preset correctly, than you should have no trouble testing it out *without* losing any prior-edits made on your image.

How To Share The Preset With Others

One of the coolest features presets offer? The ability to share the presets you make with other fellow photographers.

Follow the steps below to share your preset:

  1. Right click on the preset you wish to share.
  2. When the dropdown menu appears, choose ‘Export’. (Notice how you can also choose ‘Import’ from this point, which is also how you can get shared or purchased presets downloaded into Lightroom).
  3. Once ‘Export’ has been selected, you’ll receive an ‘OS Save’ window. The ‘Suggested Filename’ should have auto-populated the name you first gave the preset, followed by ‘.Irtemplate’. This is the required file extension for presets. As always, we suggest saving your presets somewhere you’ll be able to easily find for later use.

Where Are Your Presets Stored?

At this point, you’re probably wondering where the Presets which you haven’t exported, are stored. Thank goodness Lightroom does allow you access to them.

Follow the steps below when trying to access your Presets:

  1. Open ‘Lightroom Preferences’, you’ll find this in the ‘Lightroom’ menu on Mac or the ‘Edit’ menu on PC.
  2. Select the ‘Presets’ tab (shown in blue below) once the ‘Preferences’ box is open.
  3. You’ll see a button labeled ‘Show Lightroom Presets Folder’ in the middle of the pop-up box.
  4. Go ahead and select that folder. Once it opens, you’ll see a subfolder within labeled ‘Lightroom’ auto-selected. Open that folder to find all of the ‘Lightroom Presets’ and ‘Templates’ folders for Develop, Slideshow, and so on. The one you want to choose will be labeled ‘Develop Presets’.
  5. If you have a good amount of downloaded or purchased presets that you’re looking to add to Lightroom, it is quicker to open the ‘Develop Presets’ folder and proceed to drag-and-drop all desired presets into the folder at once. If this situation applies to you, make sure to restart Lightroom to finish the downloading process.