The honest answer as to whether
Full disclosure, we offer Lightroom presets here on Photography Goals. But despite that, I am going to do my best to talk honestly about the benefits and pitfalls of using
You can try a free one by clicking below…
presets Are Worth It
There are a lot of benefits to using
Here are some of the ways that
Probably the most common use of
There are many many sliders in
If you do a decent volume of editing then you know that there are certain edits that you do on every single image. Things like adding contrast and saturation to a RAW image, increasing the base sharpening and the sharpen masking, and perhaps even adjusting the color calibration based on your camera’s specific RAW file characteristics are all examples of these types of edits.
But you can also save time with more unique creative edits. Maybe you aren’t sure if you want to add something like our Sunset Glow look or the Cinematic style. Even if you know all the settings to get to that look, having a preset let’s you just hover the mouse over both, take a look at the result, and make a quick decision. Even if the image ultimately needs additional tweaking, having a handful of
Once you choose the style, a well designed preset can get you started off most of the way there. Even the best
Consistency of Style
Now let’s get into some of the benefits of using
Whether you are building a personal brand or simply want all the images from a single session to have a similar look and feel,
Many photographers, especially those just dipping their toe into the world of professional photography, overlook the importance of consistency.
Right now you might be yelling at the screen, “but I want to be unique.”
I get it…but that’s not what I am talking about. Having a consistent style across a number of images doesn’t detract from your uniqueness, it enhances it.
You can always let your style grow and evolve over time. You can even change styles from shoot to shoot or even have multiple sets of images within one shoot that each have their own style.
Everyone has those days when you look at an image and have no idea what to do with it.
One of the huge benefits of
Learning New Editing Approaches and Techniques
This one is specifically geared towards purchasing
Everyone approaches photo editing in their own way. In
So back to
Whenever you download a new preset, take some time to apply the settings to different typs of images and take a look through the sliders in the develop module.
What did the preset creator do to accomplish the look?
What adjustments did they use?
What happens when you make some changes to those adjustments or add adjustments to sliders that weren’t used in the preset.
I guarantee you’ll learn something by taking the time to deconstruct every preset you download. Even though we develop some very helpful
You don’t know what you don’t know, and taking the time to try a variety of new
presets Aren’t Worth It
Despite all these benefits, there are plenty of examples of when
Here are some common mistakes I’ve seen people make with
1. Using Crappy
At this point, every IG “Influencer” has their own set of
What ends up happening is that someone with a big following might spend a little bit of time playing around with the sliders in
Except the preset doesn’t work the same on your photos at all! That’s because it wasn’t designed or tested to be useful on a wide variety of photos.
How To Identify Bad
The creator isn’t a photographer/photo editor
Avoid “influencer looks” and stick with
The preset uses all the sliders in the basic panel
They have names that don’t actually describe what they do.
It may sound cool but “epic travel
2. Setting It and Forgetting It
If you are simply using
BEFORE applying the preset, you need a properly exposed image to work with. If you can accomplish that straight out of camera…good job! Otherwise, use the exposure adjustments on the basic panel (or even the “Auto” button to get a balanced exposure).
AFTER applying the preset, make sure to check the image to see if it looks like you want it to. Some color grading can affect things like contrast, so you may need to make small adjustments to the contrast, or the blacks and whites sliders to retain some detail in the shadows and highlights.
3. Ignoring Other Editing Skills
This kind of goes with the last one.
Learning at least the basics of using
4. Assuming It Will Work On Every Photo
Not every preset will work on every photo.
For example, here at Photography Goals, we have a preset pack called Sunset Glow. They are all variations of a color grading effect that gives outdoor images that golden hour look. But, I don’t reccomend using that on an indoor photo because it’s going to look weird.
Some (like that example) are easy to figure out. But other