Skip to main content

photo & video

How to Build and Use Lightroom Presets

Lesson 6 of 15

How to Create a Simple Develop Preset

Pye Jirsa

How to Build and Use Lightroom Presets

Pye Jirsa

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

6. How to Create a Simple Develop Preset

Lesson Info

How to Create a Simple Develop Preset

So presets for everything. The beautiful thing about Lightroom is once you understand how presets work, you can create presets for literally almost anything inside of Lightroom. So, the three... This is like the Holy Trinity of presets, in Lightroom. These are the ones that you must set if you want a good work flow. Import Presets. Let me just give you a quick idea of what those are. I'm gonna press, let's go back to the Library View. Oh that's not what I want. There we go. (audience laughs) Gosh. Does it, do you guys ever have that issue, like when you switch a keyboard? 'Cause everything is muscle memory at this point, it's not like I'm sitting there thinking of what I want to press. Anyway. This would be one of those Shivani moments. Pye! (audience laughs) Okay (laughs). Don't worry. You'll get it Kenna. (audience laughs) Alright (laughs). So check this out. I can build an entire preset for importing. And you'd save it to your Import Presets right? I'm gonna show you how to save out...

preset in just a second. But what we can do is I can say that, I want this preset to Copy. I want it to bill Previews. I want it to bill Smart Previews. I want it to apply this Develop setting. I want the Soft Color Import. I'd like my standard meta-data and I can create a new preset specifically for meta-data. Select everything and then save this whole thing. So I can have a preset for meta-data, and then I can have a preset for the entire import process. And now I'd say Save Current Settings and New Preset. Say Standard, Import. Okay? Now, if all my settings are wonky, and I don't have this set up, and I go down here and I go Standard Import, okay? Oh, that just edited it. So let's come out for one second. Okay. You can select Standard Import and it will automatically dial in those adjustments. So again, we can take a minute or two away from the import process. Import process is not like a huge deal because it's like you do that once for a set of images. But still, why not? And once you import this, the important thing to understand is that if you import with a preset, your befores and afters are set to that preset adjustment. Does that make sense? So, if I import and I apply a preset, when I click. See notice right here. If I'm in the Develop Module and I press back slash. And let's look at an image that actually has correct color. Oh. Why am I looking up there? There is a screen in front of me. Okay. (laughs) I've never done this before. (audience laughs) Okay, so if I press back slash. Because there was no preset applied upon import it shows me the raw version of this. But if I applied the preset upon import, when I press back slash it's actually showing me the preset version of the image. You have a question? I have many. So, do you find yourself then shooting for the preset you're gonna use? And then do you just import in groups according to the preset? You're gonna use? No. That's a really good question. I think it'd be really difficult from a mental stand point especially when you're dealing with a lot of shooters that are coming in shooting. Like they're not gonna all know. So, we designed a Soft Import preset, for exactly the way that we shoot. Which is, the exact amount of dynamic range that you want to have in the scene. So like the exposure basically. And the white balance should be correctly set in camera. Those are the two things that we expect. From there, we'll make an exposure and a temperature adjustment if needed. And that's it. And then we kinda move on. If it's an image and I'll show you guys, like if it's an image that, let's say for example, our post producers know this process. And our shooters know this process too. Like let's say, let's pick an image that, okay. This image. When our team sees this, they go, environmental portrait. Okay? So as soon as they see this, they just do this. White Balance. I'm gonna click her dress to get somewhere close. And then I'm gonna go to HDR Natural Color. And it makes the whole image pop and it does everything. And that's it. They can make a local adjustment. Like for this one, this is one those rare cases that we might actually use a profile correction because of the way that it's darkening the corners. So make a Profile Correction. Make an exposure adjustment, or a temperature adjustment, and then drop in a Radial filter. To pull attention right into them. Okay? And then, the before and the after. So it's a very simple process, and so the presets are designed so that the shooter, look I know that if you go in to a scene Susie and you're like and you expose it. Like let's say, this shot. Okay? What, and you guys are all familiar with dynamic range, right? You know the process of under exposing in camera to make sure that you preserve dynamic range in your highlights? Okay. In this scene, what dynamic range is there? There's not a whole lot right? I mean, everything is basically a mid-tone. If you look at the histogram, we have every single thing in one shot. Would there be a purpose to under exposing this image? HmmMmm. Is this kind of making sense? There is no purpose in under exposing this. The purpose, like, this image is about her face. It's about skin tones. So, I should expose it there. That's more of a shooting side. Like what you should be doing when you're shooting. So, when you get it into the preset side, well as soon as they see this our people are either gonna go, I want super, I want soft color and soft skin. Which is this. Or, I just want blooming highlights because I want it to appear even more soft. Which is this. Okay so. And it's just a single click to get there. So those, those, what you're saying needs to be decided in the shooting process. It shouldn't have an impact on the way that you import or what presets are applied. You should be applying the same preset across all images. And then adjusting per grouping, if you need to. So what we would do is we're gonna import everything with soft color. If we get to a scene like this where it's like glam color, like we want more of a soft look, we'll just switch that one scene. So the preset that you apply in import should be the one that you apply most often to 80 % of your images. Does that kind of make sense? Okay. And then when a post producer sees like, when they see an image like this and they go, okay. That was either shot, to be a silhouette. And we have a Black Crush that's labeled Flare Silhouette. So they can click that. And go this is either shot to be a silhouette, or it's shot to be like a nice high dynamic range image. So they can actually push the HDR Natural Color. And this is where they would make an adjustment in post, to get the dynamic range back. And you get, like that. And we'll do a little more work on these to kind of finalize them. There's a couple other things in there to get skin tones to looks right and everything. We'll go over that. But, I could do either right? That's just a artistic choice, on the post producers side. So we're gonna do, so that's the import, the develop. The export process, is the other place where we want to set up our presets. You will spend a significant amount of time exporting, if you don't set up export presets. Okay? You guys all familiar with, (audience member clearing throat) export presets? If I press Control + Shift E or Command + Shift E it will bring up my export dialogue. And then from here, like for example. Fearless? Really cool, competition platform right? Love them. They're fantastic. And because I export every now and then for Fearless competitions, I created a Fearless preset. Which has all their, 'cause they request their images 900 pixels wide, all this kind of stuff. So I just set up one. So that way I don't have to dial it in every single time. I don't have to ever go back to it. So with these and the preset system that we're gonna talk about comes with some standard ones. So it's Print, Slideshow 4K, Slideshow 1080p, Web Blog Email. And you can adjust these out but you'll notice that it just places in the image sizing and also the sharpening. It kind of just makes those adjustments. And it even creates a folder. Because what we do in our process is once we're done editing, we select all the images, we set up an export we go print. New export, slideshow. New export, 1080p. The folders automatically separate out. So we don't have to do anything and just set it up and let it go. Carleen said, "If you import using presets, "can you still get back to the original raw image?" Absolutely. So, Lightroom is, and ever always will be, a raw processing engine. It's not a destructive editor. It's non-destructive. So, whatever I apply to these images, whether I do it on Import or whether I do it at any point in time inside of Lightroom, those are just and this is, that's kind of a great question because some people go well, Pye when you make that adjustment, like what has actually happened to the image? Well what you're seeing here, is just a preview of the image. And the reason why, that the Develop Module is so much slower than the Library Module is because the preview that's being loaded is a much higher resolution version from this section. So, any changes that are made here are not actually applied to the image until you export. And that's when it's made. Which means this. It's kind of fun but you can go down to the History pallet. Let me actually turn it on. There we go. So, under the Presets and everything you have Snapshots, you have History. I reset this, right? You guys saw me reset this right now? Well I can even go back, to each independent adjustment that I've made on this image. By going to the History. So there was the exposure adjustment right before I actually reset it. So, you can at any point in time go back to any of the adjustments that you've made, and work your way backwards or forwards. Great, another question from Priane Cap who says, "Why do you avoid including profile correction "in your presets?" Because, a lot of photographers like to use their own profile corrections set up. So we take them out of our presets because if that's something specific they want, then it's not, when they click in the very first version that we did. The very first version like several years ago, the develop presets like the one click presets, they included the profile correction adjustment. And then people were having an issue like oh I like to use my own. (audience member coughs) So, we take that out. And in the studio, we don't use a standard profile. We use, everybody shoots, basically the neutral. And then it comes in to the computer and we just go that way because, if you're a one person shooting studio, like you can refine your work flow down to, like the pin point. Like the utmost, detail. But for a multi-shooter studio if we have 60 people in the studio, and we have up to 100 different cameras out, getting down to like having every single person have the same profile and every single person doing that is impossible. Yep. So we set up a standard that every camera Nikon, Sony, Canon- About the importance of presets for all types of photographers. So I know you guys specialize in weddings and portraits, but S. Morfa says, "is a travel photographer constantly "moving around changing settings on the camera?" So not necessarily as consistent as one scene, one lighting set up. "I can't imagine having more than a few photos "that I could apply a preset to. "So is it still worth it to create them?" I think you have to evaluate what you're shooting and how you're shooting it. I would think as a landscape photographer, you could do this pretty dang easily. Now it might not be the same structure as what we have set up here. You might create your own and do it that way, and that's probably what I'd recommend because this is designed for portrait photographers. But, let's say for example, you know the way that you shoot. Let's say that, you have your A-7R. Just 'cause I did joke around with the Sony crowd. So let's just say you have your A-7R II. And you're takin' around (laughs), I love all cameras by the way guys. If you guys have watched my tutorials you know that, that's like my least favorite question, what camera do you use? Whatever works I, doesn't matter. So, take out your A-7R II. You know that you have 14 stops of dynamic range or 14.5, it's ridiculous. Okay, how much dynamic range that camera has. So you shoot your shot. And you know that you want to preserve all the dynamic range and do all this kind of stuff. You know the rough exposure that you're creating per scene. You can literally set up a preset for, well when I'm in green environments, like nature environments, I'm gonna use this preset. When I'm shooting night time stuff, I'm gonna shoot this preset. You should be able to dictate, what your exposure is in like maybe of the different common scenes that you're shooting in. Set your white balance accordingly and then use a preset for each of those different scenes. Easy-peasy. Like, but there isn't really a reason to not use it. The only types of people I would say, don't benefit as much from presets are commercial photographers. Because, with every single shoot, you're developing it differently. Especially if you're using Capture One, you're developing it. Like each one has to be down to the T because, they need that level of detail. Every single one is taken into Photoshop because they need that level of detail. That's where you're losing a lot of the efficiency of a preset.

Class Description

The idea of learning how to use and develop presets for Lightroom can be intimidating for many photographers. Join Pye Jirsa of Lin and Jirsa Photography and SLR Lounge as he shows you how to incorporate presets into your Lightroom workflow.

You’ll learn:

  • How presets work and how to use them in your post-processing 
  • How to shoot for presets and customize them for your work 
  • How to create your own custom presets 
Creating and using presets are an integral part of customizing an efficient Lightroom workflow. This class will help you enhance and create striking images for your clients.

Be sure to check out SLR Lounge Lightroom Presets!

Software Used: Adobe Lightroom CC 2015.2 - 2015.3

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Preset Installation Guide

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Keynote Slides

Lightroom Presets

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


April S.

When I first saw this course being offered I thought, I know how to save my own Presets, and I didn't think there could be much in this course for me. I like to listen in to courses while working sometimes though so I tuned in to this one just for "noise" in the background. Well, I was quite wrong about the content. This short course is a jewel in my opinion. Pye does show how to name, save, store Presets, but there is so much more. He delves into some pretty great detail about why and how you would save some adjustments and not others (In Camera vs Universal settings), and he explains in a precise, clear way (with demonstration) of how each setting affects an image. I have watched and also own several Lightroom and Photoshop courses. All are great, but none of them covered this topic in such a way as to make me think I don't need this course. I'm going to buy this course now so that I can watch at my own pace and really glean every little gem from it and put this info to immediate use. Thanks Pye!

Suzy Petrucci

I was literally wishing for a class like this a few weeks ago because I spend way too much time meandering though LR wondering if there's a more methodical and efficient and consistent way to get through lighroom editing. This class nails it. The what, where and why about each of the sliders and a foundational order in which to use them. Great system Pye. Thank you.

Nicolet Groen

I was a bit hesitant to buy because I am an interior and still life photographer and Pye is working in a completely different niche. But boy, I am so glad I got it. I finally created a set of presets that adjust my images in the way I want. The content is very structured and jam-packed with info. Next thing to figure out is how to create and use adjustment brushes, and yes, that is also explained it this course. Love it.​ Thank you Pye!