How to Use Lightroom Presets to Edit Photos Faster

Lightroom Template Featured

There are plenty of available photo-editing apps, but nothing beats the reliability of Adobe Lightroom. Available for both desktop computers and mobile phones, the software gives you powerful tools to make your photos look like a pro. One of the more highly-regarded features of Adobe Lightroom is the availability of presets. This tutorial shows how to use the Lightroom presets to quickly edit photos.

What Is a Lightroom Preset?

In simple terms, a preset is a filter applied to photos imported into Adobe Lightroom. The operative word is “filter.” What sets a Lightroom preset apart from other apps with filters, such as Instagram, is that it’s technical without scaring you away from using it. In fact, it is a very useful and friendly tool for professional photographers who use presets for their artistic value.

For example, if you want to produce a dramatic image, a black-and-white preset is a good place to begin. Check out these examples of black-and-white photo presets. If your artistic vision has a Hollywood feel, you can start with one of these free cinematic presets. Please take note that every photo requires a specific preset based on your desired output.

Color In The Sea Lightroom Prese
Image source: Pixabay

By using Lightroom presets, you can do editing magic: from simple things like adjusting hues, texture, details, shadows, and clarity, to complicated things like adjusting the RGB (red, green, blue) values of your picture. There are plenty of Lightroom presets available on the Web: some are free, some are not. If you don’t feel like buying a Lightroom preset, you can also create your own.

Where to Find Free Lightroom Presets

A simple search on the Internet will give you a rundown of free Lightroom presets available for download. Typically, a download link containing your desired presets will be emailed to you. Other websites let you automatically download Adobe Lightroom presets straight from their website. Once you extract the zipped folder, you’ll receive a file containing instructional documentation and the preset itself. Take note that a Lightroom preset for desktop computers has a .lrtemplate extension.

Lightroom On Laptop
Image source: Pixabay

These websites offer free Adobe Lightroom presets for download:

A free and compact version of Adobe Lightroom is available for both iOS and Android users and also has a handful of free Lightroom presets. You’ll find more mobile presets on these websites:

While a desktop version of a Lightroom preset has a .lrtemplate extension, its mobile counterpart carries a .dng extension. The difference is that the desktop version is more technical, while the .dng format is basically an image that is embedded with pre-determined settings. This being said, do not be confused if you get an image file once you download a mobile version of Lightroom presets.

How to Install a Lightroom Preset on Your Desktop

Installing a Lightroom preset is surprisingly easy.

  1. Unzip the folder containing the Lightroom preset. Make sure that you unzip it in a location that will be easily located for easy importing.
Lightroom Upload Desktop
  1. Go to “File,” then select “Import Develop Profiles and Presets” to bring up the file selector dialog box.
2 Uploading Downloaded Template Desktop 2 1
  1. Locate the folder with your desired Lightroom preset. Select the preset and click “Import.”
2 Uploading Downloaded Template Desktop 3 (1)
  1. Confirm whether your downloaded preset is properly imported to Adobe Lightroom. To do this, go to the left part of the screen and look for “User Presets.” Click the “+” icon to access “User Presets.”
2 Uploading Downloaded Template Desktop 4 1
  1. Scroll down to the bottom part under the “Presets” section to find “User Presets.” If the imported preset is not there, it was not successfully imported, and you’ll have to try again.
2 Uploading Downloaded Template Desktop 5 1

How to Install a Lightroom Preset on Your Mobile Device

Before we go on to the step-by-step guide on how to install a Lightroom preset on your mobile device, remember that Lightroom presets for mobile devices are not a typical preset file. Instead, it is an image with certain settings saved. These same settings can be copied and applied to your images.

  1. On your Adobe Lightroom app, make separate albums for different moods. For instance, “Happy Presets,” “Sunny Presets,” “Monotone Presets,” and the like. This will come in handy later on in editing your photos, as it provides you with a pseudo menu for different moods that your photos will require.
  2. To make an album on the Adobe Lightroom app, tap on the plus (+) sign aligned with the word “Albums.” Tapping that will lead you to a dialog box that will let you create and name a new album.
Lightroom Mobile Upload
  1. Upload the downloaded Lightroom presets in .dng format to the album you have created by tapping on the icon pictured below that is located at the bottom of your mobile screen.
Lightroom Upload Preset Mobile
  1. Once loaded, you will know that it is a preset, since it will prompt a DNG label on the top-right corner of the photo you uploaded.
Lightroom Downloaded Presets Mobile

Now comes the fun part: using the Lightroom presets you just have installed on either your desktop computer or mobile phone. Applying the Adobe Lightroom presents as filters in your photos is relatively easy.

How to Edit Photos Using Lightroom Presets on Your Desktop

You are now very close to turning your rather dull photos on your desktop into awesome images worthy of appearing on your social media accounts. Follow the steps below.

  1. Import photos to your Adobe Lightroom software by clicking on “File -> Import Photos and Video.” Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + I on Windows or Shift + Cmd + I on Mac.
Lightroom Editing Desktop
  1. Imported Photos will populate your screen. Select one to edit. Hover your cursors on “Presets” located at the left part of your screen. Scroll down to the bottom under “User Presets” to find the presets installed on your desktop computer.
Lightroom Urser Presets Desktop
  1. Click on the Lightroom preset of your choice. Your selected image will automatically carry the settings of that preset.
Lightroom Edit Desktop
  1. Sometimes the preset you select will not be good for your image. To tweak it a little bit, you can choose to manually adjust some details like brightness, exposure, highlights, shadows, and saturation. You just need to slide on the numeric values of these details in a panel located on the right side of your screen.
Lightroom Preset Editing
  1. After editing, export your photos by clicking on “File -> Export.”
Lightroom Export Desktop

How to Batch Edit Photos Using Lightroom Presets

Doing the aforementioned steps can be daunting, especially if you edit many photos. To edit more quickly with Adobe Lightroom presets, follow these easy steps:

  1. Import multiple photos to your Adobe Lightroom. Click “File” and choose “Import” Select the photos you wish to edit.
Lightroom Batch Edit
  1. This will take your photos to the largest part of the screen. You can batch edit by highlighting all the photos.
Lightroom Batch Edit Desktop
  1. Look for the “Quick Develop” panel located on the right side of your screen. Click on the drop-down arrow and scroll all the way down to find “User Presets.” Clicking that will render filters to all highlighted images. All you need to worry about now is correcting minor details individually.
Lightroom Quick Develop

How to Edit Photos Using Lightroom Presets on Your Mobile Phone

Follow these simple steps to edit Instagram-worthy photos with Adobe Lightroom presets right on your trusty smartphone:

  1. Open your Adobe Lightroom app. On the landing page, import photos by tapping the blue icon shown in the image below. Select the photo to be edited, then tap “Add.”
Lightroom Mobile
  1. Tap “Library” and go to the album containing all of your imported presets. Select a preset. The picture will open on your screen in .dng format.
Lightroom Presets Mobile
  1. At the top-right corner of your mobile screen, tap the three-dot icon, then tap “Copy Settings.”
Lightroom Copy Settings
  1. A separate page will appear on the screen, containing all the settings embedded on that preset. Deselect certain settings according to your preferences. Tap the checkmark once you are done.
Lightroom Settings Mobile
  1. Go back to the photo you want to edit. Tap on the rightmost icon on the Adobe Lightroom app. Tap “Paste Settings” to apply the preset settings.
Lightroom Paste Settings
  1. Save your edited image by tapping the share icon at the top of the screen. Select “Export to Camera Roll” to save your image.
Lightroom Export Mobile

Creating Your Own Lightroom Preset

Provided that you have already scoured the Internet looking for a perfect Lightroom preset to no avail, you can create your own Lightroom preset yourself. Follow these steps on the Adobe lightroom software:

  1. Import a photo. Edit details by setting basic elements like exposure, brightness, clarity, saturation, and the like in the “Basic” panel on the right.
  1. Once you are satisfied with how the picture looks, click “Develop Module” in the navigation above the panels on the right. On the left side, click the plus (+) button next to “Presets.”
Lightroom Create Presets
  1. Select “Create Preset.” In the “New Develop Preset” dialog box that shows up, select or deselect the checkboxes for filter settings as required. Give your preset a unique name. Click “Create.”
Lightroom Creating Preset

The process is similar on a mobile phone. Here’s what to do:

  1. After editing the imported photo to your preferences, tap the top rightmost icon, then select “Create Preset,” where you can also name it.
Lightroom Create Preset Mobile
  1. You can then use this newly-made preset by accessing it in the “Presets” tab on the lower part of the screen. Look for “Yours” and select “User Presets” to apply this Lightroom preset that you created.
Lightroom Presets Mobile 1

Now that you have you have beautiful photos create with Lightroom presents, share them to your Instagram profile or any other social app.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are a photographer, it pays to shoot in RAW format instead of the usual JPEG. The latter tends to compress the values of an image to produce a single image with the smallest size possible without compromising quality. Images shot using a RAW format, however, tend to eat up much space in your SD card. Either way, both are read by the software and the app. At the end of the day, it is really up to you.

2. Will I lose my presets if I switch to a new phone?

Worry not, as the Adobe Lightroom app is a cloud-based app. Presets you have imported or created on your old phone get backed up to the cloud and will show up on your new phone automatically when you connect to the Internet, as long as you use the same Adobe ID on both devices.

3. Can I share my created Lightroom presets with my friends?

Definitely. You can send both the .lrtemplate and .dng files that you have created using Adobe Lightroom via email. After importing these files into their respective computers and smartphones, your friends can use these presets to their heart’s content.

Princess Angolluan
Princess Angolluan

Princess is a freelance writer based in Croatia. She used to work as an English teacher in Hokkaido, Japan before she finally changed careers and focused on content writing & copywriting, while running their own digital marketing company in Europe. For 5 years, she has written many articles and web pages on various niches like technology, finance, digital marketing, etc. Princess loves playing FPS games, watching anime, and singing.

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