Presets in Lightroom 4

Not long ago I was watching in youtube a presentation from Jared Platt at B&H (nice and pragmatic presentation, worth watching).

In this presentation Jared talks about creating presets in Lightroom for activities you do too often. And his suggestion is preset things by “task” not by “final look”.

Explaining: if you create a preset for a given look, like “back and white, with grain and vignetting” you’ll have another one without grain, another one with grain but no vignetting and son on. At the end you’ll have thousands of presets and you’ll never find them after a while.

His suggestion is to create them by task. A preset for the grain, another for the vignetting and when you need you just apply them one after the other and their result is additive.

I decided to give it a try and something I do way too often is noise reduction + sharpening. There fore I decided to create a set of presets on that. Like what do I apply for a ISO 100 shot, what do I apply for a ISO 200 shot … and so on. For noisier ISO’s I use a high or low detail setting depending on the level of detail of the shot. So presets for that too. By the way, organize them in folders, so you don’t get lost and give them meaningful names.

Lightroom 4 – Presets area – Exemple folder

How do you do that?

Do your adjustments on the area you want. Like, I have set the noise reduction and sharpening for a ISO 100 shot.

Then, on the preset area, click on the “+” sign to create a new preset.

Lightroom 4 – Create new preset

This will bring up a pop-up window that will allow to name the preset, define in which folder it will sit and which parameters do you want to include in the preset.

The parameters you include are very important. If you did not set the exposure, it’s on “0”. If you include exposure, it will set the exposure of your shot to “0”, regardless of you already having it set to another value. So, only include the parameters you really want to be affected.

Lightroom 4 – Define your new preset content

Bottom line. If you find yourself repeating a task way to often, preset it, this will speed up your workflow. Believe me when I say that repeating a task that might take something like 10-20 seconds in a shoot of 200-300 images amounts a huge time in front of the computer, you could be shooting something else 🙂


About Cris Da Rocha

Astrophysicist, DB manager, cyclist, musician and, why not, "photographer to be". Back to enjoy photography after many years ... it's cool. Might share something nice and get something new.
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2 Responses to Presets in Lightroom 4

  1. ndjmom says:

    Totally understand the preset option redundancy. The noise redundancy issue came up with me recently. I created a present for a 1600, but when I applied it to 400 then it was totally not applicable. I’ll have to set some up like yours.

    • I actually found myself redoing the noise reduction for each ISO in each shoot, that was a lot of time in tweaking. You know it can always look better if you move the slider 0.01 to the left or to the right :-).

      Or I was browsing my catalogue for a already processed image with the same ISO speed so that I could copy it …

      They presets were the option. And if you have time/will to tweak it, it’s a starting point.

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