Building Your Lightroom Preset Library

by Ken Milburn

One of the most time-saving features of Lightroom is Presets. Presets are very much like Macros or Actions in Photoshop. Lightroom lets you create two different kinds of Presets: Develop Presets and Metadata Presets. I'll do an upcoming blog about the value of Metadata Presets. This Blog is about Develop Presets. Much like a Photoshop Action, Develop Presets let you record any series of adjustments that you've done on a given image as a Preset that can then be applied to any other image(s) with a single click.

When you click a Preset, it's effect is added to that of any adjustments or Develop Presets you've already applied to that image (unless one of the Adjustments in that Preset happens to be As Shot, which simply removes all the Adjustments that have been made to that file to date). When you're in the Develop Module, you can preview the effect of any Preset in the list simply by placing your cursor above it. The Preview will change as fast as you drag your cursor over the Preset names.

Presets Panel.jpg


2007-03-29 12:17:10
Presets are great, but if you have a lot of them (say the 80 pre-made ones from Jack Davis mentioned at the end of the post) I find that the list becomes fairly hard to use (requiring tons of scrolling). Is there any way to make presets display in nested folders?

Not that I've been able to discover so far. But I think it's a great idea...just like sets of Actions. You could have those little expand/contract double-arrows like the ones in the Quick Develop Panel. -Ken

2007-03-29 15:03:17
Very useful? Dozens of really minor variations on the same theme? One should learn to use the sliders instead, not rely on the crutch of someone's canned presets.

Yes, they're very useful because they're instantly visual and additive. There's nothing to prevent you from using the sliders and you still have the advantage of very quickly seeing some significant changes and variations without wasting time. -Ken

There's currently no way to nest presets.

Yes, that's what I said. -Ken

Ken, you say "When you click a Preset, it's effect is added" - no that's wrong - when you click a Preset, its effect is added.

Oooo!!!!!! Bad boy make typo. Ugh!!

2007-03-30 01:52:27
No, you said "Not that I've been able to discover so far." I was confirming that you certainly were not mistaken.

OK, we non-native speakers probably recognize correct English better than you natives. Misuse of apostrophes is like leaving dust spots on your pictures.

Marc Brown
2007-04-18 20:50:22
I agree, there needs to be a way to nest these things, I just downloaded the 80 presets today and it's just overwhelming. Fun to mess around with but too much.