How To Create Your Own Photography Presets

How To Create Your Own Photo Presets For Lightroom:

Creating a Lightroom preset can be useful when you want to edit your photos quickly. It can help with the flow of your editing if you have pre-made presets that you could use for quick fixes; lighting, exposure, color correction, etc.

Sure, there are billions of different types of preset packs you can buy, but sometimes it’s better to take the extra time out of one day to make your own that is completely tailored to your style and what you need.

Keep in mind, not every photo can be used with every preset. It all varies on what’s in the photo and the conditions the photo was taken in. 

Figure Out What theme you Want to create:

a tree under the stars with a reflection

An easy way to tell what kind of presets you would want to make is by taking a look at your already edited photos. That way, you can see what sliders you commonly move around to help edit your photos. Do you bring up the exposure in most of your photos? Do you bring down a certain color to hit the sweet spot you need? Do you edit your vibrancy? 

Analyzing past photos is the best way to determine what you should focus on specifically when creating your own presets. Make a list and set it aside until you are ready to create your preset pack. 

How to Create a Preset in Lightroom?

Once Lightroom is open and running, open up the preset tab by clicking the Edit icon, then Presets. 

Lightroom presets screenshot from lightroom cc

From there, click on the Create Preset to add a new preset. The option is available by clicking the three dots in the top right of the Presets Panel. A menu then opens, here you can choose what settings you want to save. 

Lightroom presets screenshot from lightroom cc

Next, you’ll want to pick a name for your preset. Most names for presets come based on the way the photo will feel once it’s applied. Bright, eccentric, moody. Labeling your presets as Preset1, Preset2, etc., isn’t going to be very helpful. You won’t know which one is which and you may spend twice as long trying to figure it out. 

I, Matt Sloniker, add my initials to the front part of my presets. This helps indicate which ones you have made for yourself, versus which ones you may have downloaded.

Organize Your Presets for Easier Access while Editing.

If you have a certain niche for what you take photos of, this can be a little tricky. Typically, preset packs are labeled as what they may be used for. Real estate photos, boudoir portraits, and animal shots all can have very different presets and ways of editing. 

Lightroom presets screenshot from Lightroom cc

You can create a custom group for your specific presets. For example, if you do wedding photography, you can name your pack “Wedding Photography– Bright”. This can help when you are sitting down to edit photos and you have an idea in mind. Labeling your groups as something specific like that will help you in a cinch while editing. 

How to Use a Saved Preset?

Now that you have created and saved your preset, you can put it to the test. Remember, a preset just helps you get the right feel to your photos; each photo will be different and may need more adjustments.

Lightroom preset screenshot from Lightroom cc

You can apply the preset by simply opening the photo, and clicking the preset you want to use from the preset tab. There’s not much else to it unless you want to have the preset applied as soon as the image is opened. To do that, the settings for it are located in the Quick Develop module. 

If you don’t want to completely apply the preset but want to see how it would look, just hover over the preset in the list– don’t click it unless you want it officially applied! 

Say you don’t necessarily want a certain preset on a photo, Lightroom has an option that you can Undo and Revert to Original. You could also save multiple edits of the photos and sift through them later. 

An Easy Way; Using a Template!

If you are looking for an even easier way to make your presets, there’s a shortcut for it. Simply put, you can google “Lightroom Presets” and billions of options will pop up. On Pinterest, there are thousands of photos with each edit laid out on top. There are also downloadable presets that other users have created. These typically cost money, but you can also buy preset packs I created for about $10-$15.

While convenient, it’s not smart to rely on pre-made presets by other people for your individual photos. While it may look good on the examples they provided, they can make your photos not look at all like you expected. They can be washed out, or too much of a hue that doesn’t match your photos too well.

This is why it’s usually better to take that extra time and create your own presets that you would be comfortable using. Ultimately, it’s up to the editor on what they decide to do. This guide was to show individuals how to create their own, and what they can expect out of making their own. 


Adobe Lightroom presets can be great tools to use when it comes to photo editing. Making them ahead of time can potentially save you hours on editing. 

And you don’t always have to use your presets. Be adventurous. Let yourself figure out what works best for you and your workflow. 

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