How do I use free Lightroom presets?
By downloading a free Lightroom Preset, you are downloading a set combination of photo edits, free of charge. These edits can be applied to photos for an instant filter effect. This post lists a number of free Lightroom presets, allowing you to edit your photos quickly and easily.
Adobe Lightroom has been popular with photographers for several years, and in the past couple of years it has also increased in popularity with designers and hobbyist photographers. While Photoshop offers all kinds of possibilities for photo editing, there are a few significant benefits of using Lightroom. Most significantly, Lightroom includes very useful features to help you keep your photos organized through its Library Module.
Professional photographers obviously have a large volume of photographs, so organization is critical. For designers and hobbyist photographers, its very easy to build up a large number of photos rather quickly. As you may have found, managing and organizing a growing number of photos can become quite cumbersome. Lightroom helps by allowing you to create catalogs and collections, use keywords, ratings, flags, and color labels to organize and sort your photos. While Lightroom’s Develop Module is where you are likely to spend the majority of your time, the Library Module is really what separates it from Photoshop and other alternatives.
Another advantage of using Lightroom is speed. Because Lightroom is geared towards professional photographers that deal with a large volume of photos, making it possible to process and edit photos quickly is a point of emphasis. In terms of speed, the recently released Lightroom 6 (or Lightroom CC if you are a Creative Cloud user) included speed enhancements to make your workflow faster. One of the ways you can speed up the process of editing photos is to make use of Lightroom develop presets.
Presets are to Lightroom what actions are to Photoshop. You can apply a preset to your photo and achieve a certain look or effect quickly. In fact, presets generally are applied faster than Photoshop actions. When you run an action in Photoshop, it will carry out step-by-step, and in some cases, it is not very quick. Lightroom presets apply the effect simply by changing specific settings, which allows them to be applied almost instantly.
There are a few different ways to take advantage of Lightroom presets in your workflow. You can create your own presets to be used later, you can purchase professional presets, or you can download free presets. Just like with free Photoshop actions, the quality that you’ll find is very mixed. Some free presets are of a comparable quality to what you would pay for, but others are not very good. In this post, we will highlight 40+ of the best free Lightroom presets that you can download to enhance your images and photography.
Keep in mind that the result of presets will vary from one photo to another, just like with Photoshop actions. No preset will look great with every photo. You may want to make some tweaks or adjustments to the settings after applying the preset to customize the results for your photo. In order to be able to do this effectively, you’ll need to have some familiarity with Lightroom’s Develop Module and the different tools and settings that are available. If you’re not already familiar with Lightroom, here are a few resources that will provide a solid foundation for you:
Aside from organization and quick editing, Lightroom even allows you to do some touch ups without the need for Photoshop. While you can’t do advanced photo manipulations in Lightroom, some things like softening skin can be done with the help of the spot removal tool and/or the adjustment brush. Lightroom also has a radial filter and a graduated filter that allow you to make selective adjustments for things like creating custom vignettes or enhancing a sky or a sunset. Lightroom’s crop tool is also easy to use. The combination of all of these tools and functions is that for general photo editing you can probably handle almost everything in Lightroom without the need to go back and forth from Photoshop.
If you want to learn more about the specific tools in Lightroom, please see our collection of Lightroom tutorials.
For designers who haven’t yet tried Lightroom, if you have a Creative Cloud membership with Adobe, you already have access to download Lightroom. Adobe even offers a Creative Cloud option for photographers that gives access to just Photoshop and Lightroom for $9.99 per month.
At the end of this article, you’ll find instructions on how to install Lightroom presets.
Free Lightroom Presets
How to Install Lightroom Presets
If you haven’t used Lightroom presets in the past, you will need to make sure that they are properly installed before you will be able to use them. The installation process isn’t complicated, but there are a few steps that you will need to take. The first step is to download the preset or presets that you want to use. There are plenty of quality presets list above to get you started, but this process can be followed with any develop preset. For this example, I’ll use the HDR preset from PhotographyPla.net that was showcased above.
Once you have downloaded a preset, you should see a .lrtemplate file. You may need to unzip the download and open a folder, but ultimately the file or files that you are looking for will end with .lrtemplate.
Copy the .lrtemplate file or files to your clipboard. Then, in Lightroom go to Edit > Preferences (PC) or Lightroom > Preferences (Mac). This will open a window like the one you see below. Click on the button that says “Show Lightroom Presets Folder”.
Now, open the “Lightroom” folder.
Then open the “Develop Presets” folder.
Once you open the Develop Presets folder, you will see a “User Presets” folder. The presets that you create and use yourself will go in this User Presets folder. If you have not installed any other presets yet, you will see nothing here except for the User Presets folder. If you have installed other presets, they will show up here.
You can now paste the preset file that you copied.
You can either paste the preset files as shown here, or you can add them in folders. The last step is to close Lightroom and re-open it. Now when you go into the Develop Module of Lightroom, you will be see all of your available presets listed. Just click on one to apply it (if the presets are in a folder, you will need to open the folder first).
And now you are ready to start using the Lightroom presets that you have downloaded!