The slower winter season is a great time to dial in and hone your craft – and also to try out a new editing style! In the height of wedding season, it’s hard to find time to sleep, let alone play around with a new collection of presets. So, when things slow down, we like to experiment! Need a little guidance in choosing a Lightroom preset that will suit your style of photography and look you’re going for?
We’ve pulled together some things to consider.
What’s your desired final look?
Maybe an easier question to ask than to answer, but it’s an important one! Look for other photographers that you’re inspired by and start pulling together some example images. Then, search for a common thread between them all – do they all have high contrast, warm undertones, or vibrant hues? That’s a good starting point for finding the style you’re most attracted to.
From there, you can look at presets that match the aesthetic you’ve pulled together. Right away, you should be able to rule out a few preset packs that don’t fit the feel. Then, take a look at our before and after sliders to really get to the heart of each preset in the pack. Big things to watch for are how the intensity of the highlights change, which colors are more drawn out and saturated, the treatment of the model’s skin, and the overall warmth of the photo.
What colors do you use most?
When looking at diving into a new preset pack, think about what colors are frequently featured in your photos. Do you shoot in the forest, surrounded by greenery or in front of crisp and clean white backdrops? Those are important factors in selecting a preset that works best with your style, especially as you start to look at the treatment of different hues in the packs. For example, our Pack 01 plays with reds and browns, adding depth to anchor your images. Instead of leaning into greens, like our collaboration with Laurken Kendall, this pack is much more grounded by reds.
Where do you shoot most often?
It’s also valuable to consider where (and what time of day) you shoot most often. If you find yourself shooting indoors and in low light a lot, you’ll definitely want to make sure to keep that in mind when looking at preset packs. Typically, indoor lighting tends to be quite warm, so selecting a preset pack that warms up photos will result in very warm photos. We love using our Kat Presets when shooting indoors – this pack is designed for studio and indoor sessions to offer bold yet soft natural tonality while still bringing plenty of mood. If you shoot outdoors often, particularly in colder climates, the light is often on the cooler side, so we like to use a preset that pulls warmer. The Golden Presets does just the trick – you’ll find filmy hues and tons of warmth.
Looking for a little more guidance?
Here’s a bit of a cheat sheet – but remember at the end of the day, it’s up to you to find the preset pack that you like best! There are no rules of how to use them.
Warm Tones – Golden Presets +Beba Vowels Pack 1 + Moon Pack
Golden Presets are dripping in rich gold tones and lots of warmth for a final product that always looks like it was shot during golden hour. Beba’s Pack 01 adds just the right amount of warmth, while maintaining the colors in the shot and keeping whites pure. The Moon Pack gives you a film-inspired warmth based more in yellow tones than red tones, with a little bit of grain added to each preset for grit.
Film Vibes –Beba Vowels Pack 02 + Annie Ruby Presets + Campfire Presets
Beba’s second pack offers true to life colors, soft warmth, and amazing film tonality – this pack is incredibly versatile and works well no matter what you point your camera at. The Annie Ruby Preset Pack brings forward a creamy warmth with stunning red and yellow hues, gentle shadows, and, of course, a glazy film quality. Crackling yellows and oranges, partnered with bright blue skies are just some of the things to love about Dawn Photo’s Campfire Presets. Her earthy, romantic, and adventurous editing style comes to life with warm skin tones, matte white highlights, and a film profile for a little bit of graininess.
Crisp and Clean – Janelle Elise Presets + Autumn Presets + The Salt Pack
These three preset packs offer mostly true to life color and have higher, clean contrasts for images that pop. The Janelle Elise Pack gently turns up the vibrancy in each photo, with a nuanced brightness and contrast. A full-spectrum enhancement of natural colors and a focus on maintaining soft and warm skin tones is the calling card of our Autumn Presets. Add a little bit more dimension to the shadows, and you have an incredibly versatile pack that’s ready for anything. The Salt Pack offers dynamic energy for presets that are almost too easy to apply to your photos, working incredibly well with overexposed photos to add a little bit of “it” factor.
Sentimental and Intimate – on dark sheets + Monique Serra Presets
Gritty and moody vibes take center stage with Laurken’s On Dark Sheets pack. Her signature ODS 1 preset darkens blacks within the photo for some edge, while bringing out muted green and yellow hues. We love using the On Dark Sheets presets for intimate in-home shoots or weddings with an edge. The Monique Serra Pack sends tingles down your clients’ backs with soft and creamy palettes, a soft contrast, and true skin tones create a romantic glow that will stand the test of time.
Warmth and Rich Tonality – Pack 03 Mark II
Versatile warmth, hazy toned down highlights, and a healthy injection of mood are cornerstones of our new Pack 03. Our re-released version includes 52 color and 2 black and white presets, all of which are outfitted with Custom Profile Sliders to make the pack even more versatile.
Vibrant and Dynamic– Olivia Markle
Powerful colors with warm undertones and bright blues make Olivia’s pack ideal for landscape photography and dramatic portraits framed by stunning surroundings. These presets let the full spectrum of color shine through, while maintaining balanced highlights and a sun-inspired warmth.
All Over the Place – Master Pack 05
Our ultimate photo-finishing presets, designed to answer any lighting challenge you might encounter. This pack is ideal for the photographer who shoots in a variety of scenes – from harsh sunlight in outdoor shoots to underwhelming dim indoor settings, this pack will give you effortless, one-click solutions. We’ve even included presets designed to work with different flash types, like bounce flash, direct flash, and more.
Dynamic Contrast – The Lightning Pack and Blake Hogge Presets
Tonally, these two preset packs are quite different, but they both offer a higher contrast. The Lightning Pack is full of deep blacks, captivating neutrals, and explosive highlights. These presets bring you the blackest blacks without sacrificing your highlights, a little bit of warmth, and vibrant colors – it’s like a shock to the senses in the best way possible. Blake Hogge’s preset pack offers cooler tones, while retaining ambient color. Calm highlights and bursts of warmth offer a full spectrum of emotion.