How To Make Lightroom Presets

Far Off Lands Preset

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN PRESETS IN LIGHTROOM

This is the definitive guide to how to make your own presets in Lightroom for both Desktop and Mobile! Many articles on the Internet do not provide all the information you need to complete this process from start to finish but I have included it all here! It explains the whole process step by step. Hope you enjoy!

Carefree Days Preset LIGHTROOM
Before and after using my Carefree Days Preset

First Off… What Is Lightroom?

Lightroom is a photo editing software. It is a great way to edit your photos and make them look more professional and is extremely popular all over the world, especially amongst professional photographers and Instagrammers. Lightroom is available for mobile (as an app) and desktop and once you understand what all the different tools do it is very easy to use.

However, editing photos can be incredibly time consuming. When I started off editing my photos it would sometimes take me half an hour to edit just one photo! So Lightroom created ‘presets’ so you can edit your photos quickly.

What Are Lightroom Presets?

In Lightroom you can edit your photos with filters that are known as ‘presets’. There are some pre-installed presets already on Lightroom to get you started (like filters you find on other editing apps or Instagram) but they have their limitations. You’ll most likely find you will need to make several edits with these presets to get the picture to look how you want which can be time-consuming and quite tedious.

So instead of just using the pre-installed presets most people prefer to either create their own presets in Lightroom or buy ready-made preset packages from experienced creators and photographers.

Why Are Presets Important?

One benefit of using presets, whether they are your own or a package you bought, is that your photos look instantly better. Plus as your edited photos will all then have similar editing adjustments in terms of contrast, brightness, shadows etc then all your photos will begin to have a similar look – whether it is vibrant, moody or vintage vibes for example.

This is especially important in Instagram to make your feed look more cohesive, uniform and ultimately more professional. The feed looks a lot more streamlined, plus it is easier on the eye aesthetically. But more importantly, by using presets it will speed up the process of editing your photos dramatically!

Buying Preset Packages

From those starting out all the way up to professional photographers, buying Lightroom Preset packages can benefit everyone. They do however especially benefit those who are still developing their own editing styles and working out what kind of edits work for them! Buying preset packages make the editing process fun as it takes away all the hard work and makes learning about editing a lot less intimidating. You’ll get to learn how different factors affect your images, and you’ll gain inspiration and creativity from them!

Buying preset packages is a great way to experiment with editing when you are starting off and aren’t so confident in the editing process in Lightroom. It helps you to figure out what style of editing you like and it saves you a lot of time in the process.

Content Creators and photographers spend a lot of time perfecting their presets to make the editing process easier for you. They understand the ins and outs of photography, composition and editing very well. Some preset packages however are very expensive, or some don’t offer a lot of variety, or some still need a lot of post-editing so it can be hard to know which preset package to buy. A great preset is compatible with a variety of photos and requires minimal adjustments after applying the preset.

If you are looking to purchase some great value, versatile presets check out my collection here!

24 Hour Presets

My presets – known as 24 Hour Presets, are currently only $15 for a pack of 12 presets. This is one of the best value deals out there, plus it features presets specifically for sunsets, cities, beach, rainforests, portraits, nighttime and more! I have perfected these presets over the course of two years and have tested them out on hundreds of my photos taken from all around the world so I am confident there is a preset in there perfect for absolutely any photo you take. I can transform photos in one simple click with my presets – no editing is required after applying the photo so you save so much time!

Plus when you purchase my presets you’ll also get my detailed Guide to Editing as well as some of the best editing tips!

Through my website I have always wanted to make all aspects of travelling easier for people: from the planning to packing, to the actual trip and even ensuring you get the best pictures! And by creating presets for you to use, it will definitely make the task of sorting out your photos from your trip a lot easier, quicker and more fun!

Should I use the free version of Lightroom or pay a subscription?

The Lightroom app is free to download and use, whereas if you want to use Lightroom on the desktop version you will have to pay a monthly subscription. Note though that you cannot share any presets you make in the mobile version. So if you are thinking about selling your own presets you will need to subscribe to Lightroom for Desktop so you can create and export your presets.

You will need to be subscribed to the Adobe Photography Plan to be able to use Lightroom on Desktop. The Adobe Photography Plan costs $10 a month and includes access to Lightroom and Photoshop.

If you take your photos on your phone and only want to use presets for editing your photos, the free mobile app is sufficient enough for you. If however you take photos on your camera and are planning to sell your presets (whether now or later on in the future) you should invest in the Adobe Photography Plan. The desktop version also offers more options and accuracy over the editing process, and as the screen is much bigger, many photographers and content creators prefer to edit on desktop.

Read:  How to take photos of yourself when travelling alone!

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN PRESETS IN LIGHTROOM CLASSIC FOR DESKTOP

As you get more experienced in Lightroom you will start to develop your own unique style and may begin to create your own presets.

To make your own presets in Lightroom is very easy. You can make them both in the app or in the desktop version, but remember you cannot export any presets you make on the mobile version. Also note for the desktop there are two versions of Lightroom: Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC. Personally I find Lightroom CC easier to use, BUT you can only create presets in Lightroom Classic. Therefore it is a good idea to get into the habit of editing on Lightroom Classic.

Below I will describe how to make your own presets in Lightroom Classic for desktop so you can create your own presets and eventually sell them!

1. Decide what style of editing you like

Before you create your own preset you will need to work out which editing style you like.

Do you like your photos:

  • light and warm, or dark and moody?
  • soft pastel and muted vintage matte shades, or saturated, bright and defined?

There is no ‘right’ style of editing. Pastel and faded vintage shades are popular, and I used to edit my pictures in this style a lot, but now I prefer editing my pictures with more warm, making the pictures more bright and colourful pictures. It is totally your personal preference and like me you may find your editing preferences change over time. Below are some of the before and afters using my preset package  available here.

Mystery Greens Preset
Mystery Greens Preset
Distant Days Preset
Distant Days Preset

Make Your File Size Smaller (Optional but recommended if you plan to sell presets)

It is best practice to not import a full size image onto Lightroom, but rather a compressed one. This is so when you export the files they will end up smaller, meaning the user (your customer!) doesn’t have to download massive files. You can compress and resize the photos in Photoshop. Note you will need to do this BEFORE you upload your photos to Lightroom! You can’t resize the files once they are exported, so do it before. Some people don’t do this step, but it is just nice if you plan to sell your presets.
To resize your photos in Photoshop (included in the Adobe Photography Plan you will have purchased), when you are in Photoshop go to File – Export – Save for web (Legacy). Click on this and then with the settings, ensure the file is jpg and the quality is set to 50. Lower the image size to 1500 px width. Click save and repeat this for all the cover photos of the presets. You’ll notice the file size is decreased tremendously – often 25 or 30 times smaller! Once you are done, import these jpg files into Lightroom and start the editing process.

2. Edit Your Photo

Once you’ve decided on your editing style you can go ahead and edit a photo! Make sure you are in Lightroom Classic and not Lightroom CC. To import a photo go to the top tab on the right that says Library, Develop, Map, Book etc. Make sure you are clicked on ‘Library’. You’ll then see on the bottom left a button that says ‘Import’. Click on this and find a picture you want to edit. You’ll need to click on the dropdown menu on the left to find the picture, whether it is stored on your desktop, on a hard drive or on your camera memory card. All the pictures from this source will come up, and you just need to select the picture you want to edit. You can upload just one picture or several at a time by clicking ‘Check All’. Then click on ‘Import’.
The picture will then be imported into Lightroom Classic and you’ll see it on the screen. Before you can begin editing though you will need to look at that top right hand menu, and change from ‘Library’ to ‘Develop’. From here you can edit the photo by altering:
Basic settings (exposure, contrast, highlights and shadows) edits the light in the photo.
Tone curve (changes how the light looks) although if you are just starting off you don’t really need to touch this.
Colour (changes the hue, saturation and luminance of each individual colour) so you can alter just one colour in the photo at a time.
Split toning (adds different colours to the highlights and shadows of the photograph). Again not necessary to edit when just starting off.
Detail (sharpening and noise reduction).
Effects (add a vignette or grain)
Calibration (change how the colours look) – again not necessary when starting off.
You don’t need to alter everything as it can be quite time consuming. Often I just edit the basic settings, colour and split toning.
before after Lightroom presets
You can either edit the picture with the before picture next to your edit – as shown in the picture below, or you can edit it with the one picture on the screen. Most people like to do it this way, and then compare the before and after once they are happy with the edit. To get the before and after next to each other like this, on your Lightroom Classic menu at the very top of your Mac/computer click ‘View’, then ‘Before/After’ then ‘Left/Right’. To remove it, just click on the same button to take you back to just the edited picture.

3. Create a Preset

When you are happy with the edit you’ll want to save your adjustments and create your own preset so you can then apply these same settings onto other pictures with just one click.

Highlight your edited picture, then on the left hand menu underneath the thumbnail picture of your edit you’ll see a menu. At the top it says ‘Presets’ and you’ll see a – + next to it. Click on the + sign and then click ‘Create Preset’.

Read:  How To Install Presets In Lightroom Mobile and Desktop

how to make Lightroom presets

It will ask you to give the preset a name and ask you what group (folder) you want the preset to be saved in. It will automatically default to putting it in the User Presets folder if you don’t change it, which is totally fine. Make sure everything is ticked and then click create and there you go – you have created your own preset!

how to make Lightroom presets

You’ll then see your preset appear in this left hand Preset Menu if you scroll down. It is important that you try out this preset on a variety of photo to make sure the settings suit other photos and not just that one! The more photos you try, the better. With each one of my presets I tried them on hundreds of photo to be sure my presets were versatile.

To test out the preset on another picture, just open up another picture and then click on the preset to apply it. Ideally you want the image to look perfect with just one click of the preset. If it doesn’t though, make any necessary adjustments to the edit and save this change. You should then repeat this process with more pictures until you have a preset that doesn’t require any adjustments between pictures.

The worst thing is when you buy a Preset Package from someone and you still need to make edits to the pictures. I am glad to say for all the hundreds of images I tested my presets on, I did not need to make any adjustments and they are all completely edited with one click.

Naming Your Presets

Note the name you have given the preset is what the user will see. Most people like to give the preset a name that reflects the editing style, for example my preset that is perfect for sunsets is called ‘Tropical Sunsets’ and my preset for a sunny day is called ‘I Got Sunshine’. Naming presets in this way makes it easier for you and your user to know at a glance what kind of photo that specific preset is for. If you simply named each preset ‘Catrina 1’, ‘Catrina 2’ etc then the user will have to click through each preset each time to find one that works for their picture.

Labelling Your Presets

A nice touch is to label the actual cover photo of the preset (the photo the user will see when they download the preset) with the name of the preset so when the customer is renaming the preset on their mobile app they will know what to call the preset! You can do this by going into Canva and uploading the UNEDITED version on your cover photo. Write the name of the preset on top of the photo and then download it. Then upload this image to Lightroom, click on the preset so the image now has the preset settings on and use this as your cover photo! It just adds a more professional touch to your presets.

labelled preset images labelled preset images Lightroom

HOW TO EXPORT YOUR PRESETS

It is best to make your presets available for both Desktop and Mobile – it just means you can appeal to a wider audience. For example people who aren’t big into photography won’t have a Lightroom subscription – they will just want to use presets for everyday photos. By making your presets available on mobile you will definitely appeal to a larger audience and attract more sales as people can use them quickly on the go and don’t need to access a computer. Infact most creators tend to make most of their sales through these mobile preset packages for this reason!

EXPORT PRESETS FOR DESKTOP

When you are happy with the preset and confident it works on a variety of different photos you can export it so you can share it with others and even start selling your presets! Exporting to Desktop is easy.

Simply right click on the preset and click ‘Show In Finder’ and then it will come up on your desktop. This creates .xmp files. To access these files you will need to go on your Computer (eg Macintosh HD) in the finder, then User – Library – Application Support – Adobe – CameraRaw – Settings – User Presets. If like I first did, you are having trouble accessing your User Folder, press cmd-shift-h in Finder.

The user Library is often hidden, in which case press cmd-j and you’ll see some options – click on the button next to the Library for it to appear in your User file, then you’ll be able to follow the rest of the steps. This literally took me ages to work out and I found no information on the Internet telling me how to do it, so I hope it saves you some time if you run into the same issue!

These are the files you will send to people if they want to buy the Desktop version of your presets. All the data of the preset is saved in the file, then when the user uploads the file onto Lightroom the data is ready to be applied to photos.

You’ll want to keep all your presets together in the same folder. Once you’ve exported them all, to make the folder smaller you can turn it into a zip file so it is easier to send. To turn it into a zip file, right hand click on the folder and then press ‘Compress “(name of file)” ‘. Your computer will then turn the file into a zip file so it is ready to be emailed to people who can then download it and access your presets. You’ll only need to turn it into a zip file for the Desktop Presets and not the Mobile Presets.

EXPORT PRESETS FOR MOBILE

Exporting to Lightroom Mobile is a little more difficult. You basically have an image that you apply the preset to: you need to get the preset on top of a photo and send this photo with the settings. In essence you are selling this photo that has the preset on it as it contains the data for the preset. They download the photo onto their phone, import the photo into Lightroom Mobile. They then copy the preset that is on your photo, create the preset and save it in the Lightroom Mobile app.

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Select the picture and make sure you have clicked the correct preset you want on the picture. Then click on the very top menu: ‘File’ then ‘Export With Preset’ and then ‘Export to DNG’. Then simply select which folder you want to put the file.

Alternatively, go into ‘Library’ in Lightroom Classic, click on your image with the preset on and click on export. Make sure at the top it is set to ‘Hard Drive’ and under ‘File Settings’ the Image Format is clicked as ‘DNG’. If you export it as a JPEG file it will simply save the image but not the preset settings so this is very important! Creating DNG files saves all the preset information that was put onto of the photo so people can extract the preset settings from the photo when they upload it to Lightroom Mobile.

how to export lightroom presets

Note that the picture you use will be the cover photo for that preset that will come up on people’s phone when they download your presets so bear this in mind when you select your cover photo.

TO IMPORT AND TEST YOUR MOBILE PRESETS

So once you’ve created your presets, you need to import them to your phone to test them! It is important to know how to do this so that you can guide people how to install and use your presets! It’s no good selling presets if you can’t explain to people how to install them onto their device!

To test your Mobile Presets, email these DNG files to yourself and download the individual presets on your phone. They will get saved to your camera roll. Sometimes there isn’t an image, sometimes there is, so don’t worry if the screen is blank – the preset information is stored! Click on the photo then send it across to the Lightroom app (click on the bottom left hand corner if using Apple and scroll across to Lightroom, or if using Android press the share button and click on Lightroom).

Click on the imported photo in Lightroom – the preset settings are stored here. So to download them to use on any photo, on the top right hand corner you will see three little dots. Click on this and then click ‘Create Preset’. It will create the preset for you – just name it (the same as the name of the preset), press on the tick on the top right hand corner and then this preset will be stored on the Lightroom app.

Scroll across on the bottom menu and click on Presets. You should see your preset come up (either under User Presets or under your name if you named the group of presets on the desktop before exporting). To just make sure the preset works, you will want to go out of that photo and then click on any other photo in your Lightroom pictures (obviously not one of the DNG files you just sent). Select the photo, scroll over to ‘Presets’ and click on your preset and the preset should then apply to this photo!

How to make your own presets in Lightroom Mobile App

If you want to make your own presets in the Lightroom Mobile app and don’t want to export them – you just want to keep them there for your personal use you can also do so. Remember if you just use the Lightroom Mobile app then it is free and you don’t need to pay a monthly subscription.

  1. Upload a picture into the free Lightroom app and edit the settings until you are happy with your desired edit.
  2. Create a preset: click on the 3 dots in the top right hand corner and select ‘Create Preset’. Like on the desktop version you’ll be asked to name your preset and select which ‘group’ (folder” you want it saved in. Then click on the tick in the top right hand corner and you have made your own preset!

Like with the desktop presets, make sure to try the preset out on other pictures to ensure it works on a variety of pictures! You just need to open up another picture and then click on the preset to apply it. The presets are located on the far right bottom menu.

HOW TO SELL YOUR LIGHTROOM PRESETS

So now you have tested your presets you are ready to sell them! Before this though I would recommend to create an Installation Guide so people know how to download and access your presets. In my Installation Guide I also include which presets are created for which occasion and mood, as well as some handy editing tips. You can see my Installation Guide here.

You can sell your presets through your website (using a Shopify or Woocommerce plugin), on Etsy, Kajabi or Sellfy – it’s up to you. Once customers buy them you then send them the email with the files (DNG for mobile and .xmp for desktop, or both if they purchase both).

lightroom preset pack

Lightroom really is the best way to edit photographs and is the preferred editing method by most photographers and Instagrammers. It can quickly transform your photos and makes editing super quick once you are familiar with all it’s functions. It can get a little while to get used to though, so if you are having trouble with creating a preset that works on multiple photos I recommend purchasing presets created by established photographers or Content Creators. You can find mine here for just $15!

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