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How to Build and Use Lightroom Presets

Lesson 14 of 15

Retouching And Detail Enhancing

Pye Jirsa

How to Build and Use Lightroom Presets

Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

14. Retouching And Detail Enhancing

Lesson Info

Retouching And Detail Enhancing

So I wanna show you guys just a couple of edits, from start to finish. And let's pick, okay. And what we'll do is we'll work, um, just standard. We'll do standard color first and then we'll switch over to, do black and whites and all the kind of stuff and filmic. Okay, so, again soft color, radial filter, burn, and call it a day. That's my 90%. Okay? Let's grab another image. Do you notice how our temperatures can vary across these? Okay, let's go vivid color. Usually, we do soft color on almost everything, but I just wanna show a few different things, okay? Our Indian clients love vibrant colors. Got a groom. Okay, usually with the guys we'll do something a little bit harder, so like a standard or a vivid color, or, sorry, vivid black and white. They work out really nicely. So, you can see how the vivid brought actually the building back. You can see from this over to this, it has a lot of punch and kick to it, and if you compare this to, like, again the... Let's go back here. So this...

is Lightroom black and white conversion, this is the one we're talking about, okay, that's all because we're tweaking our black and white mix. I want vivid colors, right? Er, sorry, vivid black and white. So, if you think about the color adjustments that need to be made to the HSL, we are pulling the luminance down in the blues and these other tones to get that vivid color in there. So, if you're trying to create a black and white preset that has those more dramatic skies, let's pick one that, first of all, has dramatic skies. Like, let's do this one. Okay, so a regular black and white, it's gonna look like that. And the vivid is gonna pull down those blacks and we can actually do it, let's find an image that has more blue, if I actually have one. There we go. You'll see it have a really big adjustment in this 'cause there's a lot of blue tones here. So, let's do this, create that, and then I'm just gonna bring up the exposure a bit, create a virtual copy, control or command + ', and you'll see that effect as it really knocks down the background. See how the blues just go brought down a lot? So, if I compare those two images, it actually brings down the tones quite a bit. In the blues, you can see the water, you can see everything around it. It's just a more dramatic look to it. Okay, and that's simply just pulling down the tones more in the black and white mix. And there'll be different levels of this, so you can actually chose, you can get into it and say, you know, I'd like to custom that a little bit, so under my version of this vivid black and white I kind of don't want the black and white to be as dramatic, so this dramatic black and white landscapes is what is tweaking the background, okay? Notice that I built in one that's dramatic black and white, so for those that are just landscape photographers, there's that option built in where it's gonna automatically do this for you, but if you're a landscape photographer, or if you're a portrait photographer, you don't wanna nuke the skin tones, so there's a version of this with skin tones preserved. Okay, so, again clicking to see which version of this that you want, as opposed to dialing in every single slider to test it. Let's do dancing. Dancing is one of those scenes where, to create a lot of energy, we want midtone contrast, so we have this vivid black crush that's labeled Dance Energy. So, it gives an image an extra kick. Okay, now this is the amount of contrast that we like. The amount of midtone contrast but, a lot of, um, you guys do look at Fearless, the Fearless Awards, that kind of stuff? What's really popular among the awards, or among those photographers, is they love their midtone contrast, they love their clarity, so you'll see a lot of those images are boosted up quite a bit where it's very punchy. Do you guys see how the energy level of the shot is so different going from that to this, is it not? It's kind of that post-production, like post-producing with intent. Same thing on the black and white side. So, if we go vivid black and white, okay. We have our style is right around 40. What we found is that, and this is the funny thing about stylistic stuff, is that we'll try and implement something like a stylistic change all at once, and what ends up happening is all the clients that are with you already for what you have, they don't like it. They're like, oh, I came to you because I like what you're currently doing, so we have to roll out these stylistic changes very subtlety, very gradually over time 'cause otherwise it kinda shocks your current people. So, what we found is, I created a preset for color that had clarity quite a bit higher 'cause I like that look, and then a lot of our brides were saying, I don't like how it's not very soft and it doesn't look super flattering and all this kind of stuff, and I was like, okay, we gotta tone it back for our clients, so, I'm basically, like, feeding them year-by-year a little more clarity, (chuckling) like, softly. But on the black and white it's a plus 40, you can take this up to plus and it'll still look really fun. Okay? One of my buddies said, on a scale of one to this other photographer, where do you like your clarity? 'Cause we all have this one photographer that we all love and her stuff is amazing, but she loves her clarity up higher, she's like, well, on the scale to this person, where do you like your clarity? Um, okay. Question? Totally. Question, 'cause I definitely wanna make sure that everybody at home understands this 'cause I think it's very important, this is from MDIJB, who says, I do not understand how you add a sequence of presets and change only one item at a time without changing other things on other sliders. That's a great point. Please explain how I can make my own presets and restrict the changes that a preset makes to only one item. I love that. That's great question, thank you for asking that. And just understanding, again, like, maybe even going through again telling us, what are the things this one's changing, what are the things this one's changing. I'm gonna show you guys exactly how, 'cause what we did is we created the universal preset. Right. We didn't create these small presets, and let's do that together 'cause I think that'd a fun exercise. Cool. Okay, this is the HDR black and white which is designed for environmental portraits, just like this one. Remember the whole sky, cloud, ocean thing? Yes. I can do that burn, burn, grab a new brush, go sky, cloud, ocean, paint it off the couple, then I can pull this anywhere I want. So, I can hold down ALT or option and dial it back or forward. Isn't that kinda fun? You can take kind of a boring image and turn it into to something pretty crazy very quickly. So, this is a fantastic question, I thank you guys for asking it 'cause honestly I probably would've forgotten to show you. My bad, sorry about that. So, we talked about separating out, um, we all are good, like, in our heads we now understand the different sections that we're gonna use to control things, correct? So, let's say we do apply, like, the HDR vivid color to this and it's making this adjustment, and let's talk about dynamic range first. What did we say we were using to control dynamic range? Base tones, right? We also said we might control it with, well, we're gonna control contrast with the dehaze and stuff like that, but mainly it's base tones. So, if you look under the presets, we're gonna go to base tones, this is where we're controlling dynamic range. So as I click through this, you'll see that only these four sliders are being adjusted, right? So watch this. I'm gonna go from HDR, to this is Highlight Recovered. Highlight Recovered doesn't do anything for shadows, right? HDR, we can vary and adjust the levels of HDR-ity. Levels Boost is designed for kind of a different purpose so it's gonna look crunchy. Levels Boost actually boosts levels' contrast, by, if you notice, it's pulling up your highlights, pulling up the whites, so it's actually boosting up contrast without messing up with your shadows. Shadows Lift is actually pulling the shadows up. Okay, while retaining, do you guys see how the highlights stay primarily where they're at? This allows you to target something very easily. So, when you wanna make that adjustment, let's say we wanna create the slider, we wanna create this specific base tone adjustment for HDR. We're like, I like that look, I like the way it looks, okay. We're gonna click plus for a New Develop Preset, you're gonna check none, turn off everything else. Then just turn on highlight, shadows, whites, and clipping and this is where this structure is so important because I actually wrote down on paper every single thing, how this was all gonna interact with each other, so the entire system has been planned out so that you can actually work through in a layered fashion. So, you need to design it based on what you want to affect what. So, let's say (keyboard clicking) Dynamic Range and we're gonna, I labeled it based on strength was plus, or plus plus, or plus, plus, plus. So, we're gonna say plus plus. I'm gonna put this into our CreativeLive demo. Create. And then let's do the other one. So, let's create another one, I'm just gonna use this to make the adjustment for me, so this is higher, CreativeLive demo, it's gonna go to the same folder, it's gonna go Dynamic Range plus plus plus. Create. So, now this preset is only adjusting dynamic range. (mouse clicking) Now, obviously that takes a lot of time to go in and do that kind of stuff, and that's why we made this system available to everybody, but this system, while it's, and we have thousands of users across the world that swear by it, I'll be the first person to say, it's not gonna be right for every single person. You have to decide what you want, and that's why we're teaching this class to help you guys decide and figure out what it is that fits your needs. But does that make sense now, how we separate each of these components out? So, if I give you a couple more examples... Okay. Let's talk about a foundational preset. Let's first select it and make the adjustment. So, a foundational preset is gonna give you a starting point for your base tones, it's gonna give you a starting point for clarity, it's gonna give you as starting curve. It doesn't give you any color adjustments, they're just foundational presets. It doesn't give you any split toning, it gives you a starting point for your detail and sharpening, and that's basically it. So, then from there, you're gonna layer over that what additional changes you wanna make. So, for stylization, if we wanna just make, let's say, this, I wanna have this have that dark matte look to it, okay? So let's do that, and let's do black and white, I think it'd be fun. I'm gonna go dark matte. Okay? So, if I wanted to make this, I would dial in that tone curve, press plus, check none, tone curve. So that becomes just the tone curve for that. We'll go through and create those layered presets in that fashion.

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!