Lightroom presets are a gift from the heavens to photographers. It allows a photographer to become more productive in photo editing and can increase your workflow by up to 20x in some cases. However, there seems to be a lot of mystery as to how presets work, how you can use them and we have found that some people who want to try them struggle with where and how they should use them. We for one don't want you to become overwhelmed and give up before even getting started! So: here are our top 5 Tips on How to Use Lightroom Presets for Beginners.
1. Choosing the correct Preset
Many beginners make the mistake of selecting a preset without understanding why and then using it without modifying the settings at all. While we design our presets to work with as many photos as possible, with the minimum amount of editing required. We highly recommend playing around with the presets and the settings just a bit more... It literally just takes a few seconds. If you don't like the look of one particular preset on a particular photo, try a different one, adjust the brightness, or colors a little, and with just a few clicks you can get an even better look. Sometimes, beginners are overwhelmed, there’s just too much to choose from at first, and it can be tricky to pick the best preset. But, by simply trying out your presets on a bunch of different photos, you will get a much better understanding of what type of preset works best for what type of photo.
2. Working with RAW Files
One of the simple things that can make an enormous difference in your photography is to work with raw files. A RAW file carries a lot more color information than a standard photo file like a JPEG. In order to change the file type on your camera, check your settings and make sure you are working with RAW files. If you are using a smartphone, depending on what model you use, you can also change the file type to RAW. But don't worry, if you don't have acess to a fancy camera or phone that shoots RAW photos, JPEG files will work perfectly fine, using RAW photos however, will simply give the preset a lot more information to work with, and therefore generate even better results.
3. Use Presets as a Starting Point
Use presets as a starting point for creating your own look. Presets allow you to quickly, and easily retouch and refine the appearance of photos. Once you’ve gotten to know the presets a bit better, think of presets as a starting point for your final look. Adding another layer of your own edits on top of the preset will generate tremendous results! While our presets are also great as a finishing point, simply tap, and boom you're done, if you have the time and you enjoy the process, take an extra minute or two to add your own edits after adding the preset. This can help you build up your own style, while not needing to be an expert in lightroom or photo editing. Our presets take the grunt work out of photo editing, so you can focus on taking better photos, and if you like, add special effects and edits on top.
4. Common mistakes when using presets
There are two common mistakes with presets that beginners make, and it can be easy to notice them. The first one is thinking that presets will fix any mistakes you make in your photographs, and the other one is overdoing it.
Presets are a great for improving your photos, but they won't fix all of your photography mistakes. Following simple photography rules and best practices will ensure you will get a good look. So, even when you've found the perfect preset, don't throw out all of your photography principles as you think the preset will fix it.
The second common mistake we see beginners make is overdoing it. You might really enjoy a particular preset of ours, and you even started adding a layer of your own edits on top of our presets... You are doing great, congrats! But, don't overdo it, often times keeping photos and colors simple, can be a lot better than adding crazy effects. Specifically the vibrancy/saturation, and clarity sliders are effects that we see being used too much, tone it down a little bit, and usually your photos will look better, trust us. Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or a beginner, there are always new things to learn and improve on, so don't be discouraged if you are making any of these mistakes at the moment.
5. There is no perfect preset for every image
There is no perfect preset for every image. You do need to find one that will suit your image and that will be able to let you work with it in a way that works for you. It is that simple. Each person has a unique workflow and not every photo looks the same, so finding the “right” preset for you can be a challenge. That is why we have put together this post for you. When following the principles we listed above, and understanding that not every preset will work perfectly with every photo, you should be able to get a lot more out of presets than before.
You have made it all the way through this blog, first off, give yourself a pat on the back. You are clearly serious about becoming a better photographer, and by going through this blog post, you are one giant step closer. We really hope that you got a lot of value out of this blog. If you have any questions or want some free advice, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you.
If you are looking for presets to help you make your photo editing process easier, make sure to check out Junglepresets.com