How Can Lightroom Presets Improve Your Photography?

How Can Lightroom Presets Improve Your Photography?

Images processed with Vintage Film presets

If you’re looking to improve your photography, or pretty much anything else you do, it’s important to be open to all ways of doing that.

It’s easy to be romantic about how improvement is made; especially with the cult of hard work alive and well among many a content creator and their respective followers.

But to stand out, you’re going to need more than hard work. Anyone can do that.

You need to be smart too.

Pounding the streets and shooting regularly might be your hard work. It is mine. It’s where most of my photographic improvement has happened.

But using Lightroom presets is one of many smart things you can do to improve your photography too.

Let’s see how.

Lightroom presets improve your photography productivity

A huge facet of working smart is being efficient and effective.

They’re not the same thing, by the way.

Being efficient means doing tasks quickly. Being effective means doing the tasks that will have, you know, an effect on something.

As Lightroom presets help save you time with your post-processing, they help you with both.

One major function of Lightroom is its capability as a library for your images.

Once they’ve all been uploaded, you can quickly and easily sort through them, delete the ones you don’t want, process the ones you do (preferably with presets), and export them to wherever you want to save or publish them.

The time and mental energy saved by this efficient and effective process means you have more time and mental energy to be out shooting more photographs, which, as already stated, is the hard work you need to put in to improve more.

So, Lightroom presets improve your photography (indirectly) by giving you more opportunity and desire to get your camera over your shoulder and your feet on the street.

Lightroom presets improve your photo editing skills and understanding

Whatever our style of photography, we all start out from the same position.

It’s a position of knowing absolutely nothing about what we’re doing.

That’s contrary to where we think we are, as this graph shows, but it’s true.

There’s a lot to learn if we’re to improve. Fortunately, there are plenty of places we can find the information we need.

Perhaps unexpectedly, this includes looking under the hood of Lightroom presets to improve our editing skills.

When you apply a Lightroom preset you can see what adjustments it makes.

You can see whether the contrast, vibrance, and clarity are reduced or increased. You can see what happens to the individual colour hues and the curves. You can see if grain and vignettes are added.

This means you can learn a lot more about what’s really happening than you can by applying, say, Instagram filters that give you no information as to what they do under the hood.

If you want a vintage film look, seeing what some Vintage Film Lightroom presets – like the ones I used to process the images used in this article – do to your images can help you to understand how that aesthetic is achieved.

Of course, you could just use them. That would improve your photographs.

But would it improve your photography? Would it improve you as a photographer?

If you take note of what’s happening when presets are applied, you’ll then be able to replicate that. You’ll even be able to create your own presets that give exactly the look you want.

It’s knowledge that you wouldn’t have gotten if not for the Lightroom presets improving your photo editing skills and understanding.

Lightroom presets improve your photography results

This is why we do it, isn’t it?

You can use Lightroom presets to improve your photography productivity and your editing skills and understanding, but the end result is what we really want to be the best it can be.

The good news is, Lightroom presets help you improve that too.

If you’re just getting started with them, you’ll probably be using someone else’s.

If that someone else is making them available to you, they probably know how to make a photograph look nice. That means using their presets can make your photographs look nice too.

Probably nicer than you can make them look by manually processing them by yourself.

It’s that simple.

Another way Lightroom presets can improve your photography results is in opening your eyes to the infinite possibilities of new styles.

Ask someone who’s never heard of Father John Misty what their favourite Father John Misty song is. Ask someone who’s never drank coffee what their favourite coffee is.

So if you’ve never seen photographs given, say, a vintage film look, how can you know whether you want to try that look for yourself or not?

Searching out different presets broadens your horizons for what you can do with your photography.

This means they can improve your photography results both by showing you what’s achievable and by helping you to achieve it.

As said, they can also free up your time and mental energy so you can get out and shoot more, and help you understand how to better process what you come back with.

Hard work is important.

But this is how Lightroom presets can improve your photography in a smart way.


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written by
Hi, I'm Lee - creator of My Favourite Lens and the one whose work you're seeing whenever you read a post on here.
I shoot as much film as I can in as many different cameras as I can, and I enjoy playing with vintage lenses on digital cameras also.

Everything I do and what I learn along the way gets shared on here, to inform and inspire you to get out and shoot as much - and as well - as you can too.

2 thoughts on “How Can Lightroom Presets Improve Your Photography?”

  1. I’ve bought hundreds of presets over the years and use only one or two colour ones. I’m a rare case in the sense that I am colour blind, deficient is a better way to call it as I still see colours, with red and green shades so using presets may result in me having too much red, orange or yellow in skin tones and I wouldn’t notice it unless someone points it out and only then do I notice it. For black and white, no issues of course. Forget tweaking white balance to make a preset work, again because of my inability to full realize what colours are actually present. As such I tend to rely on camera colour profiles insteadl, Fuji in my case, as they are generally safe on skin tones except for uber vivid ones that are obvious. But they can get boring especially when you see the work of talented people on the gram universe. I wish i could use them without having to tweak colours or white balance. But again I’m an exception otherwise I would use them all the time because I like experimenting. Cheers

    • Thanks for sharing, Paul. I’d never considered colour blindness as having an effect when editing photographs and I imagine a lot of others haven’t either.

      I guess I take not having to deal with that for granted, so thanks for bringing it up and making more of us aware. 🙂


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