Photography • Free Resources Free Lightroom Presets that Help You Learn

 

Built into Adobe Lightroom are hands-on, interactive tutorials, and presets that you can use on your own photos.

 

Wouldn’t it be great to learn how to use an application directly within the application? That's exactly what you can do in Adobe Lightroom Desktop, Lightroom Mobile, and Lightroom Web. All versions of the photo-editing app now come with interactive tutorials from top photographers and teachers. With their guidance, you'll work on files and adjust Lightroom sliders as you go along. Additionally, the Discover Inspiring Edits files allow you to watch over instructors' shoulders as they go from capture to final image. If you like the results, you can save them as presets to apply to your own files.

I'll get into more detail in a minute. In the meantime, check out the five presets that the Lightroom team has selected from the many built into the app:

Download the Presets

Preset: Painting Night Portrait. Creator: Ernest Em, known as 19TONES, is an urban exploration and portrait artist.

Preset: Natural Light Portrait. Creator: Chris Orwig is a photographer, author, and teacher.

Preset: BW Ghost Pier. Creator: Nicole S. Young is a photographer, trainer, and dog lover.

Preset: Joshua Tree. Creator: Adobe product evangelist Julieanne Kost is also a fine-art photographer and teacher.

Preset: Subtle Landscape. Creator: Lightroom Product Manager Benjamin Warde is a prolific photographer and aerial photography enthusiast.

To import these and any other Lightroom presets, go to the Preset panel, click on the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner, and choose Import Preset. Navigate to the presets location on your computer, and click on the folder with the presets. You can even import the ZIP file you just downloaded (named "Lightroom-discover-presets-Create-download.zip") and Lightroom will unzip and install the presets automatically.

There's Way More Where Those Came From

Whether you're just getting into photo editing or have been doing it for years, it's worth exploring the 400+ opportunities in Lightroom's Learn and Discover areas. Once inside the app, tap on the Home button, and then tap on Learn to see the interactive tutorials where you can work alongside the photographers and teachers.

lightroom-presets-01_See-Original-File
lightroom-presets-02_See-All-Edit-Steps
lightroom-presets-03_See-Camera-Metadata
lightroom-presets-04_Save-Preset

Below the Learn files are the Discover inspirational edit files, which let you see how an expert started with a camera capture and used Lightroom to create the final image. You can also check out what camera, lens, and exposure the photographer used. When you like what you see in the Discovery file, you can save it as a Lightroom preset by following two simple steps:

  1. With the Discovery file open, click Save as Preset in the upper right-hand corner. Name the preset name something meaningful to you
  2. Click Save. Now the preset is available in your Saved Presets on all devices you've synced Lightroom to. After applying a preset, you can further refine the image by adjusting the Develop settings.

Follow these steps to apply one of these presets to your own image:

  1. For the best success, start with an image that is similar in tone and color to the image featured in the Discovery Inspirational Edit file.
  2. Open the Saved Presets and click on a preset to apply.
  3. Try a few presets to see which look you like the most.
  4. Feel free to adjust any Develop settings to suit your own taste.

You can also create your own presets:

  1. Process an image to your liking.
  2. In the Presets panel, click on the three-dot icon and choose Create Preset.
  3. Name the preset something that will identify it later (not just "Preset 1" or "This is Better").
  4. Select which Develop options to include in the preset. You may want to exclude selective edits, such as Spot Healing or Geometric corrections, as they're image-specific.
  5. Click Save to store it in your User Presets.

Experimenting with presets is a great way to try new image-editing approaches. Sometimes it's exactly what the creative doctor ordered to get out of an image-editing rut.

Credits: Top image © Chris Orwig. All preset-applied examples © Katrin Eismann. Photo of white church © Nick Rains.

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