Adobe Lightroom is the most popular editing suite for photographers in the world, and it fully deserves that accolade.
It offers a huge array of editing tools to get the most out of your images, and for the majority of photographers it's the only editing program they will ever need. Sure, it doesn't offer quite the same potential as Adobe Photoshop, but it's also much less complicated than it's bigger brother.
Besides, who's to say you can only use one or the other? Personally, I find that Lightroom has 90% of the functionality I need when post processing, but if it falls short for any reason I can take my image into Photoshop straight from Lightroom. It's the best of both worlds!
A perfect illustration of how simple and intuitive Lightroom can be is the array of presets on offer. Dozens of websites offer their very own Lightroom presets, and we've got some of our own completely free ones. You can find out more about them here.
However, many beginner photographers are put off the idea of Lightroom presets. They think they'll be annoyingly tough to install and use, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Here's how easy it is:
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Installing Lightroom Presets on Lightroom CC 2018
- Open Adobe Lightroom CC 2018
- Navigate to left sidebar and find "Presets" tab.
- Click the "+" icon.
- Select "Import Preset".
- Navigate to your downloaded preset files and voila!
That walkthrough really didn't need five steps, but this is meant to be a tutorial so I thought I should make it look like one. It really is that simple in the newest version of Adobe Lightroom.
Installing Lightroom Presets on Older Versions
Fortunately, it's not that much more difficult on the older versions of Lightroom. This same method applies to Lightroom 4, 5, 6, and Lightroom CC 2017, and is also very similar across both Windows and Mac.
- Open Adobe Lightroom.
- Navigate to Edit > Preferences > Presets
- Open the folder named "Lightroom" and navigate to the "Develop Presets" folder.
- Copy your downloaded Lightroom presents into the "Develop Presets" folder.
- Restart Lightroom.
A Closing Thought on Lightroom Presets
I'm a huge advocate of using Lightroom presets and have gotten to a point now where the majority of the presets in my library were created by me to suit my own style. If you're a beginner I certainly recommend trying out some Lightroom presets that others have created.
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However, don't think of them as a "one click and done" process. Instead, use these presets as starting points and then fine tune the settings to suit the individual image. Every image is different, so using a one size fits all approach to processing isn't a good idea.