Have you ever admired Instagram influencers and the beautiful, consistent photos that populate their feeds? Or wondered how to achieve that type of individuality and consistency on your own? Here’s the secret: using Adobe Lightroom Presets. 

Presets free content creators from constant, tedious editing. They allow you to gain a unique style all while doing little work to create, post, and influence. They’re the perfect tool for photographers—or anyone who wants to understand the ins and outs of efficient content management. 

editing on laptop
Instructor Jamal Burger edits a moody cityscape in Lightroom. 

What Are the Best Presets for Adobe Lightroom?

Creating your own preset is fun, but there are a lot of inexpensive, or even free presets out there that can transform an ordinary photo into an extraordinary one in a snap. That said, finding the best presets is subjective. Pretty presets are in the eye of the beholder, after all. 

First, understand your unique style and think about how you want your photos to look and feel. This allows you to choose which presets are best and for your type of photography.  

Try looking around at different styles to determine which ones you like and why you like them. If you’re a product photographer, then focus on that niche and understand what makes a photo stand out from others. The same goes with portrait photography─what do you like about certain portraits and dislike about others? This can best inform how you choose Adobe Lightroom preset. 

Here are a few types of presets to use for a particular look and feel. 

Vintage Look and Feel

A vintage look usually adds some faded features to the photo. Often the highlights are dialed up and shadows dialed down to create a washed-out look. These images are often not very contrasted or highly saturated, and they’re great for portraits and feelings of nostalgia. 

Lightroom offers some great vintage presets preloaded in their app, which doesn’t require any installation. But if you want to take your vintage photography to the next level, try some of these presets. 

Portrait Photography

Portrait presets are perfect for skillful and aspiring portrait photographers. They allow photographers easy editing for beautiful, captivating portraits. Try some of these presets for your next portrait shoot.

Product Photography 

If you work with CPG brands, or if you’re starting something up yourself and want to take photos of products, there are a lot of Lightroom presets for you to choose from. Pairing your crisp tabletop shots with professional Lightroom presets will help set your product photography apart from others. 

How to Install and Use Presets

Lightroom is both a desktop and mobile app, and Adobe has made installing presets on both a seamless user experience. Here’s how to import presets into Lightroom. 

Desktop Adobe Lightroom (CC) Installation for Mac and Windows 

  • Download and extract the .zip file from your favorite Adobe preset creator. Make sure it is a .xmp file.
  • Open Lightroom. On the top right corner, you’ll see a settings icon that looks like bars with dials on them—click this. 
  • When the settings window opens, click the button at the top left that says Presets
  • From the presets window, click the three dots at the top right. 
  • Click Import Presets. 
  • From here, navigate to where you saved the .xmp files and import. 
  • Voilà! Now you can focus on how to use presets.

As a subscriber to Adobe CC and Lightroom, you’ll have access to the mobile app as well. Wondering how to add presets to Lightroom on the app? Don’t worry: All of your imported presets will sync to your app when you install them on your desktop. 

Using Lightroom presets is simple. Once they’re installed on your Lightroom app, you’ll be able to use them with just one click. Simply navigate to your presets menu in Lightroom and try different presets to see which one works the best with your photos. Now get to creating!

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Written by:

Mindy Morgan Avitia