Learn how to save your common adjustments as presets in Adobe Lightroom. Then, pull them up any time with this short and easy guide.
Adobe’s Lightroom is one of the most beloved go-to apps for adjusting digital photography. It’s a powerful legacy program that sets a standard for comprehensive light tweaking, color correcting, cropping, lens correction, and many, many more functions used to turn images into a photographer’s wildest visions.
What Are Lightroom Presets?
Presets are saved parameters or settings for a program. They’re ubiquitous in the digital image realms, and cut time spent on adjustments to a fraction of what it would take to evaluate and treat each image separately. Most people get to a point where they know what they want and how to get there. Whether for set-and-forget presets, or just a way to set a starting point for more fine tuning, presets are valuable personal affects in one’s visual style.
So it makes sense then that we should learn how to not only create our own, but save them for future use when we have our preferences down to a known set of parameters. They come in handy for workflow reasons as well as keeping a collection of images consistent to a style.
How to Install Lightroom Presets in Lightroom CC
To install presets in Lightroom, we need to locate and import the .xmp files. If you try to just double-click open them, it’ll open a really long Illustrator files full of text code. We’ll have to open Lightroom CC and do an import.
1. Find and Import the Preset File
Click on File in the main menu, then Import Profiles & Presets. This will open the file browser window. From there, find your .xmp Preset file, and click Import.
2. Open the Preset Browser
After you import your file, Lightroom will return to the normal photo view. You’ll have to open the Preset Browser in order to find, use, and rename your Presets and the Group where they are collected and themed.
To open the Preset Browser, hit Shift + P, or go to View > Edit Panels > Preset Browser. This will expand the panel with the presets, listed in groups. Here you’ll find the standard Presets that come with Lightroom CC, such Color, Creative, and B&W.
Underneath those are your newly imported Presets, under the named they are/were saved under. This name might be gibberish, so let’s rename them something more descriptive. To rename the group, simply right-click (or two-finger-click on laptop) the name and set a new one. Do the same for the Preset’s name if desired.
3. Preview Your Presets
Easily preview your Presets and the included Presets without committing and having to undo by hovering the mouse cursor over the individual Presets. You’ll need to expand the Groups to do this. Click the right-facing arrow next to the Group name to expand those lists.
How to Install Lightroom Presets in Older Versions of Lightroom
If you’re still running an older version of Lightroom, like a version 4, 5, 6, Lightroom CC 2017, or Lightroom Classic, no problem. It’s just as easy to import Presets, albeit slightly different.
Open your version of Lightroom, and hit Command + , (comma key) to open Preferences, then click the Presets tab along the top. Or click Lightroom in the main menu, then Preferences > Presets.
In the Location section, click Show Lightroom Presets Folder.
That will open the folder where your Lightroom Classic (the version in this case) presets are saved. The Settings folder should be highlighted, so open that.
Now, locate the Presets you want to import, perhaps in your Downloads folder if you downloaded them from a website, and drag them to the Settings folder.
Go back to Lightroom Classic and quit the program. When you reopen Lightroom Classic your presets will be loaded. Locate them by referring to the Editing control panel on the right side of the window, under Quick Develop.
Click Saved Preset dropdown, and hover over User Presets. You’ll see any Presets you moved to the Settings folder here. Voila.
Cover image via Ester_K
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