Images processed with Vintage Film preset
Ansel Adams once said “you don’t take a photograph, you make it”. This process of making photographs includes more than just the shooting. It includes the post-processing too.
In Adams’ day, this meant in the darkroom. Today, for many of us, it means in Lightroom.
It’s software with more features than you’d ever need to learn, but there’s one in particular that can transform your workflow.
Like the filters found on more simple photo-editing apps, they change the look of your photograph with the click of a button.
Some people don’t like them. I’m not one of those people. And that is why I’m going to answer the question why use Lightroom presets?
Use Lightroom presets to save yourself time
This is the single biggest, best, and most important reason to use Lightroom presets. They just save you time.
Editing and post-processing your photographs in Lightroom manually means adjusting every slider – for things like contrast, vibrance, shadows and highlights etc) – by hand.
It’s a process that will quickly become tiresome and repetitive.
But what gets repeated can often be automated, and Lightroom presets work by automatically changing all the sliders to a pre-determined position instantly.
And so this automation means more free time for you to be doing something else.
Depending on what type of photographer you are, this could be spent shooting more photographs, writing posts for your blog, or being out there finding new clients.
Spend your newly acquired free time how you wish, but it’s the Lightroom presets that have given it to you.
Use Lightroom presets to give your work consistency
If you’re presenting a set of photographs in any capacity, be they posted on a blog, published in a book, or printed and hung on a gallery wall, it’s important they have a consistent look.
Achieving this while manually processing them – remember, by adjusting all the relevant sliders by hand on every single photograph – is, to put it kindly, a pain in the arse.
It means you’ll have to keep checking back to previous photographs to see if the one you’re currently working on is looking right.
Using Lightroom presets means you don’t have to worry about this, so long as you use the same preset throughout your set.
Some photographs may need tweaking, but that’s understandable. It’s also still far quicker and easier than doing them all by hand.
Looking at the bigger picture, this consistency can also help you stand out as a photographer by giving your body of work a look that people recognise as yours.
As Chase Jarvis says, if you want to stand out, finding your style or voice is key. Being different is more important than being good.
Find or make some Lightroom presets you like and use them to give your work a consistent look that people will recognise as yours.
p.s. the three images used here were all processed with the same preset from my Vintage Film pack. And they have a consistent style, don’t you think?
Use Lightroom presets to improve your processing
As well as saving you time and effort with your post-processing, Lightroom presets actually help you to improve it too.
This improvement comes in both the results and in your understanding of how to achieve them.
If you’re just starting out with manually processing your photographs – and everyone was a beginner at some point – then you might still be flailing around in the dark.
Still at the trial and error stage.
This is an important part of the learning process. It is highly beneficial for you to learn for yourself. But, right now, the results you’re getting could most likely be better.
Downloading or buying Lightroom presets made by someone else just gives you instantly better-looking photographs.
This is great in the short term, and they can be used to improve your processing skills in the long term too.
When applied, Lightroom presets will show you exactly what sliders and other settings have been adjusted.
By looking at these, you can learn exactly how people who know enough to make their presets available to the public process their photographs.
You could then use this knowledge to create your own. Or, to save time (yet) again, you can even use the existing presets as a foundation to create your own.
As it’s possible to tweak the adjustments made by a preset and then save that as a new one, this can be achieved quickly and easily.
To recap, Lightroom presets can help you to:
- save time with your post-processing
- give your work consistency and your own style
- improve your photography and processing skills
To get started with this right away, check out my own Vintage Film Lightroom presets pack today.
… p.s. if you’ve learnt something from this post on Lightroom presets and think others will too, why not give it a share?