digital photography tips with Digital Photo Mentor Darlene Hildebrandt

Get Inspired · Find Creativity · Seek Adventure

How to Install Lightroom Presets

how to install lightroom presets

Now available – Digital Photo Mentor Lightroom Presets! – get more info here.

This tutorial will walk you through how to download and install any presets that you have purchased (either from this site or another) or even any free ones that you've been given or found online.

There are lots of free ones available but do your due diligence selecting presets. I've seen sets of literally thousands of presets, not only is going through them all is time consuming, but you may only end up with a few that are usable and helpful. So go with ones you find that work for you, from trusted sources (like me?!).

Step #1 – Download and open the Zip file

For the sake of this article I'm using our new LR Presets Basic Bundle for example purposes. Once you have your presets you will likely get link to download a zip file. Do that and you should see something like this in your downloads folder (make sure you note of where you've saved it or downloaded it to).


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.


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 . . .


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


NOTE: If you are running the current version of Lightroom Classic CC, then you will see the following screen. 

  • If the preset files have the “*.lrtemplate” extension, choose “Show All Other Lightroom Presets” and put the new presets into THAT folder.  Then LR will convert them to XMP so they are usable with your version.
  • If the files have an XMP extension, choose “Show Lightroom Develop Presets” and put them into that folder.

Click the right option as indicated above. You will be taken to the actual folder where your Lightroom presets live on your hard drive, using either Windows Explorer or Mac Finder. If you are using the option in red above copy the new presets into that folder.

If you are using the blue option above, 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.


IMPORTANT: 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:

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.

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, it may help other people who have the same issue. So don't be afraid to ask questions.

Also now available – Digital Photo Mentor Lightroom Presets!

We're happy to announce the launch of our new Lightroom presets basic adjustments bundle. A collection of over 100 presets to help simplify your workflow.


Digital Photo Mentor is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

lightroom alternative photo editing software

{ 4 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment

Next Post:

Previous Post:

Featured Photography Special

4 Weeks to Better Photography

An online photography class for beginners, with new lower pricing for 2018 and Downloadable Videos.

Join the Photo Community

10 Photography Challenges

Participate in monthly photography challenges. Join our very interactive community, participate in challenges each month that help you stretch and grow. Learn new skills and make your photos "pop".

More Articles Here

All my past photography articles here.

We publish regularly, so if you'd like to posts sent directly to your inbox, just put your name and email into the big orange box at the top of this page.

Adobe Training

Learn how to use Lightroom
Learn how to use Photoshop