****DON’T BUY LIGHTROOM PRESETS****
99 percent of them suck………….BIG TIME.
There are also thousands of free Lightroom presets available too. Guess what? They suck too.
So why not? I hear you ask.
Well, in my humble opinion, there are a few reasons but first and foremost……………….
THERE IS NOT A ONE CLICK SOLUTION TO EDITING A PHOTOGRAPH
You will become a better photographer/retoucher if you take the time to break it down and learn how to do it yourself. This rule applies to all aspects of both photography and editing. See what happens when you adjust the individual sliders and the tone curve. Learn the effect it can have on your image. There are literally thousands of free tutorials out there on the University of YouTube. Start there. Learn the craft. Dive in and get involved…….the water’s lovely.
YOUR PHOTOS WILL NEVER LOOK THE SAME AS THE PHOTOGRAPHER’S WHOSE PRESETS YOU ARE BUYING
Not unless you’re taking a photo of the exact same thing, at the exact same time of day with the same camera, same lens combination, at the same aperture, focal length, shutter speed, Iso, same weather, same lighting conditions etc etc etc.
WHY WOULD YOU GIVE UP YOUR CREATIVE INPUT?
It’s your art.
It’s your vision.
Develop your own style. You’re a creative………so get creative.
So what are the options?
My personal advice and this is based on my own workflow and experience………….
LEARN PHOTOSHOP PEOPLE
I know, I know………this is about Lightroom. But editing in Lightroom? It’s doable, but if you want real control over your images then you’re gonna have to learn Photoshop baby. Layers and Blend modes are the fine tuning tools you need for slicker images. I colour grade with LUTs……recipes made up of various LUTs but with the added control that Photoshop allows by means of reducing the opacity or fill. I use Lightroom mainly as a catalogue tool, with only a quick click of the camera and lens profiling checkboxes and maybe a crop before I transfer the image to Photoshop for editing. I also use Lightroom for tethering, which is my number one most useful photography tip bar none…….just in case you hadn’t already heard me bleating on about it!
I’m going to make a post about my editing workflow as I’ve been asked many times about it recently, and I do use some filters in Photoshop but using the opacity and blend modes to fine tune them. Stay tuned for that post. I’ll try and get that together soon.
So are there any Lightroom presets that are actually any good? If 99 percent are bad, then what about that remaining 1 percent? Well if you’re a wedding photographer (I used to be) for example, then there are some very good Lightroom presets such as the Mastin Labs range. If you’re batch editing 500-1000 wedding images then you’re going to want to start with a preset and fine tune from there. We shouldn’t be having this conversation though if you ARE a newbie photographer………what the *bleep* are you doing shooting weddings when you’re a noob? Learning to walk before we start sprinting comes highly recommended.
If you’re editing individual portraits then we need to refer back to point number 1………..there is no one click solution! I hate to repeat myself and I’m not attacking any photographers out there who are selling presets (that’s up to them of course) but I’m just trying to save anyone that’s just starting out a few bucks (or quid) whilst also setting them (hopefully) on the righteous path of developing their own creative editing style.
Editing is fun.
So have fun!
I’m a fine art portrait photographer based in Tamworth, Staffordshire. Specialising in creative and styled portraiture, fitness photography, headshots, family portraits and personal branding for you, for actors, for athletes and for business professionals alike.
Buy me a coffee at my ko-fi page.