I remember when I first started photography, I edited every image by hand in Photoshop. It was a painstakingly slow process, especially when I was having to edit photos from an entire session or football game (hours upon hours upon hours). While I think it was valuable for me to learn how to edit everything by hand in Photoshop, I knew it was time to speed up my workflow. That’s when I finally downloaded Lightroom, and I wish I would’ve made the switch sooner!
As with Photoshop, I think it’s super valuable to learn what each of the adjustments in Lightroom actually do. You have way more control over how your image turns out, rather than just relying on a preset to do the work for you. Additionally, no amount of editing or fancy preset can fix a bad photo, so keep that in mind as well as you consider which presets to purchase.
All that being said, presets are such a quick and easy way to streamline your workflow and help you achieve the look you’re going for with your edit. They can also be a great learning tool if you’re new to Lightroom, because you can start paying attention to what adjustments the preset is actually making to the image. Here are a few of my favorite presets for Lightroom, along with the links where you can grab ‘em for yourself!
I made my own preset to edit my photos in my current style, but it reminds me a lot of the VSCO packs. VSCO is all about emulating the look of film, which I personally love (it’s timeless!). They have several packs to choose from, so if you’re considering buying VSCO, do a bit of research on their site to figure out what presets will fit your work best.
The photo above was edited with Porta 160 (with minor tweaks) from Pack 6.
2. Jenna Kutcher
If you don’t follow Jenna or listen to her podcast you totally should! She’s an incredible photographer and educator, and she has a ton of free resources on her site. These presets are available for free on her website after you sign up for her email newsletter.
The photo above was edited with the Color 1 preset.
3. Jordan Brittley
I came across Jordan’s website when I was considering changing my editing style from the moody look to something a little brighter. I love her shooting and editing style, and when I saw she had a free preset available, I downloaded it right away!
The photo above was edited with the Light and Airy preset.
LXC is basically the go-to for the moody edit. I know a lot of photographers who use these presets, and they really do produce beautiful, soft results! I used LXC for several months before changing my editing style.
The photo above was edited with LXC 03.
5. Innate Light
I came across the Innate Light preset pack in a Facebook photography group. Everyone was talking about them because they give off a very moody vibe, and they were pretty cheap. While I do like these presets on certain images, I found that they were usually too contrast-y for my liking and required more tweaks than I usually have to do.
Tip: If you do end up buying these, make sure you click “Reset” on your photo in the Develop tab in between applying the presets if you’re testing out which one to use. They kind of layer on top of one another otherwise, so you won’t be getting the same result each time without replicating the layering process.
The photo above was edited with North West.
I hope this post helped you find some presets to help make your photos pop! If you know of any other presets you love, let me know in the comments below!