Creating a Lightroom preset can be incredibly handy in terms of rapidly processing an image to a specific set of criteria that you have chosen. These presets can range from a “Basic Import” preset to get your RAW images to a certain point immediately after importing, right through to complex presets with split tones and specific processing adjustments.
How far you choose to take this is up to you, but my personal opinion is that no two images are the same and should be processed in a unique manner specific to your original artistic vision. Having a whole bunch of presets that you simply skip through in the hope of finding one which works on an image is a bit like playing roulette.
That being said, having a basic preset to apply a specific toning effect or a set of basic adjustments to an image can dramatically increase your Lightroom workflow efficiency.
Today I’m going to share my “Basic Import Preset” with you and help you through the steps to creating your own custom preset. Please bear in mind that the values I am going to mention in this post are my personal preferences which I apply to my images taken with Canon gear.
Enter the Develop module, open up a RAW file and hit the ‘Reset’ button so that any adjustments you have made are set to zero.
The first adjustments that I like to make is in the “Lens Corrections” panel.
Here I check the following options:
- Basic >> Enable Profile Corrections & Remove Chromatic Aberration
- Profile >> Setup: Auto
From here I move up to the “Detail” Panel and dial in the following values:
- Amount: 25
- Radius: 1.0
- Detail: 25
- Masking : 90
- Noise Reduction
- Luminance: 10
- Detail: 50
- Contrast: 0
- Colour: 25
- Detail: 50
- Smoothness: 50
From here I move up to the “Basic” Panel and make the following adjustments:
- Highlights: -25
- Clarity: +5
- Vibrance: +10
- Saturation: +4
This are the basic adjustments that I like to make when importing, so that I know that all of my images have been standardised. Some people like to zero their settings completely, and this is also fine – the main point here is that you set a standard from which to base the rest of your workflow on.
Now that we have all of the adjustments defined, we can create our “Basic Import” preset.
Head on over to “Develop” in your top Menu bar and select “New Preset”.
You should end up with a check box like below.
Next to “Preset Name”, you can specify a name for this preset, eg “Jon’s Basic Import”, and then define a preset folder where your preset will be stored. User presets is the default option and your best bet.
Make sure you select the “Check All ” options and then hit “Create Preset”.
Now, to use your preset you can either access this from your left hand side bar and go to Presets >> User Presets >> Jon’s Basic Import and apply the preset to any image in your library. My preferred method is to apply the preset when importing my images in the right hand sidebar of the import window.
Simply open the “Apply During Import” drop down menu and under “Develop Settings” select User Presets >> Jon’s Basic Import and the settings will be applied to all images that you have chosen to import.
This works for me. It is by no means a necessity, but I find that it helps me to get all of my RAW images to a specific point from which I can then choose which images to carry on to the next step of my workflow. In this next step I may very well change some of these initial preset settings (such as clarity, vibrance and saturation) but this all depends on the image and my final artistic vision.
I hope you find this useful!