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How to Install and Use Your New Lightroom Presets

Thank you for purchasing a set of our Lightroom Develop Presets.

This page will help you install and learn how to use your new presets so you can be up and running using them in only a few minutes.

How to install Lightroom Develop Presets

Step #1 – Download and open the Zip file

Once you have completed the transaction and paid for your presets you got a link to download the Zip file (it should be emailed to you as well if you missed it). Do that first, you should see something like this in your downloads folder.

download-zip-file

You will need to then Unzip it. Usually you can do that just by double clicking on it. If that doesn't work you may need an Unzipper program if you don't have one on your computer. For Mac try StuffIt Expander, if you use Windows try one of these free options, or Winzip if you want more unzipping power and options.

Once you've gotten it unzipped you should see something like this, one main folder that contains all the subfolders with your presets by category. Leave this window opened in the background as you go to the next step.

zip-file-opened

Step #2 – Navigate to your Lightroom Develop Presets folder

Next, there is an easy way, and a long way to get these into Lightroom. The long way is to import them by right clicking on one of your existing Preset folders in the Lightroom Develop module, and selecting Import. But that will take forever to get all 100+ of them in there, and you lose all the subfolders and how they are nicely sorted into categories for you. So, to import them all in one fell swoop, AND maintain the folders, this is what you need to do.

Open Lightroom and go to the Preferences settings. On a Mac you will find Preferences under the Lightroom menu, in Windows it is under the Edit menu. If you want to use the keyboard shortcuts it's “Command Comma” on Mac, “Control Comma” on PC. Once you open it you will see something that looks like this . . .

LR-preferences-setup

Navigate to the second tab labelled Presets, and locate the button that says “Show Lightroom Presets Folder”. It is highlighted for you below.

LR-preferences-show-presets

Click it. You will be taken to the actual folder where your Lightroom presets live on your hard drive, using either Windows Explorer or Mac Finder. Next click on Develop Presets to open that subfolder. If you have any other presets that you've previously installed or created, you should see them in this folder. This is where you will need to do a copy and paste of your new DPM presets. As you can see I have many presets, including the ones you're about to install, in my Develop Presets folder.

Lr-develop-presets-folder

Before you proceed!

Backing up everything is always a good idea in case something happens, and you can just reinstall them again if necessary.  So . . .

Before you move on to the next step – save a copy of the downloaded zip file, or the expanded folders, (or both) in another location, ideally an external hard drive that you use for all your backups. If you use a Cloud backup put a copy there too. 

Step #3 – Copy the new Presets to the Develop Presets Folder

Navigate to your downloads folder (the one you kept open from Step #1), keeping the one you just located above opened as well. Ideally put them side by side (like below). Highlight or select all of the subfolders inside the #1 DPM LR Presets Basic Bundle main folder like this:

Select-all-subfolders
Notice I have the Develop Presets folder open just above also.

Next COPY (do not move them) using the Command/Control+C keyboard shortcut. That will copy everything in those highlighted folders (make sure you have all the subfolders highlighted not the main one). Move over to the Develop Presets folder (make sure you are in the main one not one of the subfolders) and paste (Command/Control+V). Alternately if you have saved a backup copy on another drive you can just move all of them by dragging from your Downloads folder to the Develop Presets one – just be sure you are confident about it before you use this method.

paste-here
Make sure you paste here – NOT inside one of the other subfolders!

Step #4 – Close and relaunch Lightroom

DPM-presets-installedIn order for Lightroom to find your new presets you just need to quit the program and relaunch it. Do that now, then navigate to your Develop Module. You should see all the new DPM presets under your Preset panel on the left like so (see the image on the right).

Presets are always sorted alphabetically. The numbers you see at the end indicate how many preset options are inside that subfolder; click on the triangle to the left of any folder to expand it so you can see  off of them inside that folder.

If you wish to rename any folder just right click it and choose “rename”. A little trick if you want your favorites up at the top is to add a “1-” in front of them. Lightroom will then put those folders at the top of the list, making them easier for you to find.

Video tutorial on installation

If you prefer to watch a video on installing your Lightroom Presets you can do so below.

If you have any trouble installing the presets add a comment below and I'll help you out. By commenting as opposed to emailing me, it may help other people who have the same issue. Once I answer it, they can find the answer there and get immediate help. So scan the comments and see if your FAQ or problem has already been answered.

Using your new Lightroom Presets

Once you have your new presets installed you can immediately start using them. I have sorted them into categories to help you find the right ones for your image. They are as follows:

Screen Shot 2015-07-04 at 3.19.37 PM

I will outline what each set is designed to do below, and if you want some tips on using them watch the video at the end. Leave any questions you have in the comments below and I'll answer as soon as possible.

Basic Settings for Import

The first set are for things you may want to apply when importing your images into Lightroom. They include:

  • Lens corrections (automatically apply corrections for lens distortion and chromatic aberration) this will only work if Lightroom can recognize your lens brand and model.
  • Add clarity
  • Add a slight darkening edge vignette
  • Add contrast
  • Add sharpening

Note: You can always tweak or adjust the settings for these later if you use one of them so it's a handy starting point to save you time.

Edge Vignettes

This set of presets includes four that add an edge darkening vignette effect and four that lighten the edges of your image. Again like all presets choose one that is closest to the look you want – then adjust to your tastes and each image individually.

In the example below this is the Vignette Dark Medium preset has been applied. Move the slider to see a before and after.

LR-presets-vignettes-before

LR-presets-vignettes-darken-medium

Image Tone Cooler

Overall this set changes the tone of your image to make it cooler – or have more blue tones. It includes six presets that change the tone of the highlights in your image, and six that change the shadow tone. Note: these ones will overwrite one another. If you choose one for highlights, and then a different one for shadows it will replace the first settings. It also includes three preset which adjust the tone and tint of the entire image – they do not overwrite the ones that apply only to the highlights or shadows and can work nicely together.

In the example below the following presets have both been applied:  Cool Image Tint #1 and Cool shadows #5 Cyan B (split tone).

LR-presets-cooler-before LR-presets-cooler-tint1-shadows-cyanB

Image Tone Warmer

Overall this set is the opposite of the one above, these presets change the tone of your image to make it warmer – or have more yellow (golden) or red tones. They work the same way as the cool ones. The ones that apply to the temp/tint work on the whole image and can be used with one of the others that apply to only the shadows or highlights (but those overwrite each other).

In the example below the following presets have both been applied: Warm Image #2 Temp/tint, Warm highlights #4 Red A (split tone) – as well as:  Clarity bump #2 medium (landscape), Contrast increase whites/blacks +30, and Exposure -0.3. So two presets to warm the image, two to add contrast and punch and one to adjust exposure. Five clicks created this before/after in seconds.

LR-presets-before LR-presets-Image-tone-warmer-2-highlights-redA-clarity2-contrast-whites-blacks30-exp-lower03

Lighten or Darken Image

This set includes eight presets that increase or decrease the exposure, using the exposure slider. You can do this manually but it's just a shortcut to get close fast and then tweak as needed.

It also includes three the bring down highlights that are too bright (different amounts) and three that lift deep dark shadows to open up some detail (three different levels). You can apply one for the highlights and one for the shadows and they will not affect each other or overwrite one another.

In this example image below the following presets have been used: Clarity bump #1 low (portraits), Skin #6 Remove sunburn strong, Contrast decrease whites/blacks -20, Contrast -10, Warm shadows #1 Golden A (split tone). So five presets used once again on this image to warm it up and reduce the contrast to have more detail in the dark areas.

1-LR-presets-lighten-before 3-LR-presets-skin-sunburn-strong-claritybump1-lesscontrast-whitesblacks20-warmshadows-goldenA-lesscontrast-10

The image below was overexposed (would you have tossed it? Not any more – it can be fixed if you've shot RAW) The following presets were used to correct this image: Exposure -1.5, Highlight lower -100, Shadow lift +50, Contrast increase whites/blacks +20, Clarity bump #1 low (portraits), Skin #7 General enhance, Vignette Edge darken strong. So a total of seven presets used on this before/after. Are you starting to see how they work together? I've designed these presets to do just that!

4-LR-presets-darken-before

 

7-LR-presets-darken-minus1point5-highlightlower100-shadowlift50-contrastboost-whiteblacks20-clarity1-skinenhance-vignette-strong

Note: you'll find that often when an image is underexposed the shadows look really blue so it will need some warming up. Images that are overexposed sometimes lack punch so need some extra clarity or contrast to have some good blacks and nice deep, rich colors.

Punch Decrease

As you can see this is a high contrast lighting situation. A combination of presets from the Lighten Darken Image folder have been used, as well as Decrease Punch to lower contrast and bring out detail in the dark areas. Sometimes you need to play around to get the right combination of brightening and decreasing contrast and it will change for each image.

In the example image below the following presets have been used: Contrast -20, Highlight lower -30, Shadow lift +50, Exposure +0.6, Clarity bump #1 low (portraits), Contrast decrease whites/blacks -30, Vignette Edge darken medium.

3-LR-presets-before-punch-lowered 4-LR-presets-contrastless20-highlightsdown30-shadowslifted50-exposureplus06-clarity1-contrast-blackwhites30-vignette-med

Punch Increase

These set is designed to add some pop to your drab lifeless images. They will add contrast and in doing so also boost the color. Try them out in various combinations to get the right one for your image.

The image below shows a low contrast lighting situation and presets have been applied to boost punch, increase contrast and give the image more pop. Note that even though I've used presets to add contrast and clarity, I've also use ones to bring down the highlights and bring up the shadows to maintain detail in those areas. Sometimes it's a dance between several things – try a few and after a while you'll get to learn what they each do.

The following presets have been used: Clarity bump #3 high (increasing clarity really helps on flat images like this or ones with haze or fog), Contrast increase whites/blacks +30, Highlight lower -30, Shadow lift +25, Warm shadows #4 Red A (split tone), Vignette Edge darken medium.

3-LR-presets-before4-LR-presets-clarity3-contrast-whiteblacks30-highlightslowered30-shadowslifted25-vignette-medium-warmshadows4-redA

Sharpen and Noise Reduction

This set of 12 presets adds sharpening and noise reduction in differing levels. It is hard to preview as you need to use these and view your images at 100% or 1:1 in Lightroom to see what they are really doing. Make sure to zoom your view when applying any from this set.

Skin Tones

This is a really handy set that I designed to enhance and correct skin tones including adding a slight tan, a darker tan, lightening skin, or even removing sunburn. I use one of them on almost every image with a person in it, especially when the face is large in the frame.

In the example image below the following presets have been used: I first added some contrast and warmed up the highlights using some presets from those sets. Then I applied: Skin #2 Darker suntan (darken). You can see the effect it has had on her skin. For someone that is pale this will work well – I've gone farther here than I normally would just to demonstrate.

2-LR-presets-after-punch-warmerhighlights-added

3-LR-presets-skin-dark-suntan

Here is the same girl with her skin lightened instead. This can work well if the subject has a dark tan and you can't see their face or they are somewhat in shadow.

2-LR-presets-after-punch-warmerhighlights-added

4-LR-presets-skin-lighten

I couldn't find a photo of anyone with a really bad sunburn but you can see what it has done to the red scales of the fish. The reduce sunburn preset is really handy!


6-LR-presets-skin-before

7-LR-presets-skin-sunburn-strong

Tips for using your new presets

Watch this video as I walk you through how I use the presets and some suggested ways you can incorporate them into your work flow.

Some things to keep in mind using presets:

  • You can always adjust the settings after you apply any preset.
  • All editing in Lightroom is non-destructive meaning you can't ruin your image and you can always undo it.
  • You can tweak the settings of any preset and save it as a new one custom tailored to your tastes and style.
  • You can can learn what each preset is doing by going through the panels on the right and looking at what it has changed.
  • You can make your own custom ones too.

So enjoy your new DPM Lightroom Presets and let me know if you have any questions.

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