It's very likely that you've heard of Lightroom and its many features. Filled with handy color correcting and organizing tools, Lightroom is an editing program loved by many photographers. In addition to providing an almost limitless supply of creative possibilities to its users, it allows photographers to create their own presets.
A Lightroom preset, like a Photoshop action, transforms a photograph instantly. Unlike a Photoshop action, however, a preset will immediately enhance an image (PS actions take some time to fully transform a shot.) These presets, when saved, can be applied to hundreds of photographs at once. Your editing workflow will improve significantly if you take advantage of this feature. Instead of working on individual images and attempting to create the same atmosphere in all of them, you'll be able to achieve a certain effect with a single click.
Creating a preset is free and possible for anyone who uses Lightroom. Though there's a whole bunch of presets online, many of which are free, it's worth experimenting with your own editing styles and having a go-to preset. If other photographers' presets don't meet your expectations, you can always use your own!
In this article, you'll find out about Lightroom's editing features and how to turn your preferences into a preset. As a reward for learning something new, you'll receive 2 portrait presets. Enjoy! 🙂
Once you've imported your photos into Lightroom, click on Develop. This will allow you to alter almost everything in a single shot. The Basic panel is capable of changing temperature, contrast, clarity, saturation, and more. As the title suggests, these features will cover the basics of your image. Don't be fooled by the simplicity of these tools, however. It's important to be satisfied with your photo's contrast, exposure, etc., before you move on to more complicated sections. View the Basic panel as the foundation of your editing process.
Next on the list is the Tone Curve panel, which is right underneath the Basic panel. This tool further adjusts the depth of your shots, resulting in images that naturally pop. The most convenient way to work with these seemingly intimidating curves is by adjusting the point curve. As pictured below, this can be done by clicking on the circular symbol (located on the top left corner of the panel). Once you click on it, hover over your image. You'll notice various highlights in the curve. If you want to alter the highlights of your shot, for example, hover over a highlighted area and drag your cursor either up or down. Dragging it up will increase your highlights, while dragging it down will soften highlights.
This panel is ideal for enhancing the hue, saturation, and luminance of every color in your photograph. Due to its many options, it can seem frightening. However, experimenting with it will lead to stunning results. Soon enough, you'll realize how useful and harmless this panel is. 🙂
Split toning affects the color of your shot's highlights and shadows. It neither darkens nor brightens. For fans of intricate color correction, this panel will serve as a great source of inspiration.
Detail, Lens Correction, and Effects
The three final panels are perfect for a few final adjustments relating to sharpness, grain, and vignettes:
In the Detail panel, you can sharpen your image as much as you desire. Though sharpness makes portraits very appealing, don't be tempted to overdo it. A sharpness of around 40 creates clear and visually appealing results.
Lens correction will do just what it says: correct any lens distortions. This is particularly useful for closeup shots of people. Wide angles lenses – such as the Nikon 35mm 1.4 – can greatly distort portraits. Such errors can be fixed within seconds in this panel.
In the Effects panel, you can create vignettes, which are vintage-like edges often found in old photographs. These can be either white or black. Dragging the ‘Amount' slider to the right will result in a white vignette, while dragging it to the left will create soft black edges. Grain can also be added in this panel to create a film-y or cinematic effect.
Your free Lightroom presets
Congratulations! You've learned how to navigate Lightroom. Once you're happy with your results, save them as a preset by clicking on the cross on the top right corner of the Presets panel (located on the left side of the program). Give your preset a title, click save, and know that your editing workflow will get smoother and easier in no time thanks to your hard work. Great job!
Download Free Lightroom Presets Here