Collecting new Lightroom Presets can be so much fun, and addicting! Presets can cut your processing time and add inspiration in times when you need it. However, there are times when you just can’t find the preset to do exactly what you want. For those occasions, it’s good to be able to roll your own. Here’s the quick and easy walkthrough on how to create your own Lightroom Presets.

1. Choose a photo

Start with a photo that matches the style you will want to use this preset on. In my example, I want a preset that looks good on cityscapes, so I chose one of my photos of buildings and the street in Boise, Idaho. If you want one that you’ll use on portraits, start with a portrait. Makes sense, right.

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2. Develop the photo

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Edit to taste. Apply all of the vibrance boosting, noise smoothing, or split toning you want to see. Make it your own. As a photographer, you’ll develop a shooting style, but much of a photographer’s style is revealed in their editing as well.

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3. Click the “+” sign next to Presets

The title of this step seems pretty self explanatory. Click the plus symbol. It’s the button that signifies you want to create a new preset.

4. Choose which settings to use

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After you’ve clicked the + button, the “New Develop Preset” box should appear. Here is where you can choose which settings you want to include in your preset. You might be inclined to just choose them all. However, there can be advantages to leaving some open. For instance, if you only want your preset to add sharpening and clarity, make sure to leave the others open. That way, if you apply the preset after you’ve gotten the image’s tone and white balance where you want it, it won’t overwrite your edits.

5. Name the preset

You can be as clever or as comprehensive with your naming as you’d like. It’s a good idea to name your Lightroom Preset something that will help you remember what it does though. A name like Carl, may not help much. Something like Warming Glow might be more descriptive. Another thing to consider is organizing your presets into folders. If you select the dropdown box labeled “Folder:”, there is an option to create a new folder. You can organize your presets in a way that makes sense for your workflow. Perhaps a portrait folder and a landscapes folder, etc.

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Boom! You’ve created your first Lightroom Preset. Now what? Now use it! When you’re in the Lightroom Develop module, you’ll see it when you expand the Presets panel, organized by the folder you put it in. If you didn’t create your own folder, it’ll be in the “User Presets” folder.

Another very powerful way to use your preset is to apply it to many of your photos at once in the Quick Develop panel part of the Library module. Select one or more of the photos you’d like to apply it to. Then in the Quick Develop panel, select the “Saved Preset” dropdown and choose the preset you’d like to use.

I love hunting new and beautiful Lightroom Presets, but sometimes the ones you make yourself are the best ones for you. If you have made some that are worth sharing, I’d love to help you share them with the world. Drop me a line and I’ll check them out.

Categories: Photography


A Web Developer, Photographer, and well rounded digital renaissance man, Paul infuses everything with creativity. He walks a thin line between introverted programming geek, and gregarious global business marketer.


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