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Mastering Lightroom in 7 Days--Developing Photos With Presets

Editing photos in Lightroom using presets saves me so much time!  I can’t imagine editing photos without them.  That being said, the workflow is a little different than editing it on your own.  So let’s get started.

**Note: When I say presets, I am also including Lightroom Brushes and Filters. Just thought you should know at the start! :)

Where to Start?

I always start by evaluating my photo and making a few decisions about what it needs.  Is it underexposed? Is the white balance WAY off? Did it turn out the way I envisioned it? Does it need a little ooomph?  These thoughts may even apply to a group of photos that I will be editing at the same time.

This helps me decide if I want to use Brushes and one of my creative presets (presets not in a workflow collection) or one of the Workflow Preset Collections.

Workflow Using Brushes, Filters and Creative Presets

Creative Presets like those in the Pretty Pastels Collection or the Make It Matte Collection work best on images that are well exposed and have good contrast.  The problem is that if you use Lightroom’s Basic Panel to make these changes, your changes will likely be over-ridden when you click on the preset.

The solution is to use Lightroom’s Brushes and Graduated/Radial Filters to make the necessary changes to your photo BEFORE applying any creative presets.

  1. Use Brushes and Filters to Make Local Edits!  Correct issues like underexposure, overexposure, and color casts using these tools.  While you are here you can sharpen eyes and soften skin if needed. **Hint: The Pretty Presets Lightroom Brush and Graduated Filter Bundle makes this SO much easier!
  2. Reduce Noise! If you have a photo shot at high ISO, then go down to the Detail Panel and increase the “Luminance” slider a bit to help decrease the noise.
  3. Create A Snapshot! Make a Snapshot of what you have done up to this point.  To do this, move over to the panels on the left-side of the Develop Module and find the one called “Snapshots.” Click on the “+” sign to the left of the word “Snapshots” and give the Snapshot a name.  Essentially what this is doing is recording all the steps you have made to this photo up until now.  This is an easy way to come back to a nice neutral beginning if you plan to play around with several different presets.
  4. Apply a Preset! Now, move over to the Presets panel on the left-side of the Develop Module and choose the preset you want to apply.  If you are unsure which preset to try, hovering over the preset will show you a preview in the Navigator above the Presets Panel.  When you find one you want to try, click on it and the changes will be applied to the main photo in the center of Lightroom.
  5. Finish or Adjust! If you like it, you are done.  If you need to tweak the preset, you can do so over in the Basic Panel (and other panels, of course) on the right.
  6. Want to Try Some More? If you’d like to play around by trying more presets, create a Snapshot (following the instructions in #2 above) between each play with presets.

I started on this image using the Add Light and Fix Casts Red brushes from the Perfect Portrait Brush Collection over the two children.  Then I added Bejeweled V1 from the Fine Art Film Collection.  I finish it off, I increased my exposure a little.  

Workflow for the Workflow Presets

What makes the Workflow Presets sets our most popular presets here at Pretty Presets is their ability to be layered together to create so many different looks.  They also greatly reduce the amount of time spent editing your photo. (The Workflow Sets include: Pretty Presets Workflow, Clean and Creative Advanced Workflow, Black and White Workflow, and Color Luxe Workflow)

  1. Adjust your White Balance! I do this step first using the White Balance dropper at the top of the Basic Panel.
  2. Pick a Workflow Collection! Choose one of the Workflow Sets you want to use for editing.
  3. Work Down the Preset Collection! No matter the workflow collection you chose, begin working down the preset collection set applying the edits that your photo needs. You just need to click to apply the presets.
  4. Create a Snapshot! Make a Snapshot of what you have done up to this point.  To do this, move over to the panels on the left-side of the Develop Module and find the one called “Snapshots.” Click on the “+” sign to the left of the word “Snapshots” and give the Snapshot a name.  Essentially what this is doing is recording all the steps you have made to this photo up until now.  This is an easy way to come back to a nice neutral beginning if you plan to play around a little more.
  5. Use Brushes and Filters! If you find issues with your photo that aren’t being addressed with the presets, use Lightroom’s Brushes and Filter tools to address those issues.  This is also a good time to sharpen eyes and smooth skin if needed. **Hint: The Pretty Presets Lightroom Brush and Graduated Filter Bundle makes this SO much easier!

 

For this image, I used the 6 presets highlighted above from the Clean and Creative Workflow set.

To finish it off, I used brushes from the Perfect Portrait: Retouch and Makeup Brushes to smooth the skin, enhance the eyes, and smooth the lips.  I also used the Spot Removal Tool to remove a few pieces of dry skin.

Happy Developing with Presets!

Don't Miss the Other Installments in this Series!

1. Mastering Lightroom in 7 Days: The Catalog

2. Mastering Lightroom in 7 Days: Importing

3. Mastering Lightroom in 7 Days: The Library Module

4. Mastering Lightroom in 7 Days: The Develop Module

5. Mastering Lightroom in 7 Days: Developing Your Photos

6. Mastering Lightroom in 7 Days: Developing Photos With Presets

7. Mastering Lightroom in 7 Days: Exporting and Everything Else

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