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Customising Lightroom Presets

Customising Lightroom Presets

If you regularly use any of my (or any other supplier’s) Lightroom preset packs, then you may often find that you have some preferred presets that you use all the time. You may also find that you have a favourite that you use, but regularly make the same changes after you’ve applied it. If this is the case then you can always save a custom version of the preset.

I’ve actually covered this in most of the Read-me files that come with my own Lightroom presets, but I thought I would go into it in a bit more detail.

There are a few ways you can go about creating custom version of the presets. You can either turn off certain adjustments, or you can make tweaks to the individual settings and save those.

Turning off individual adjustments in a Lightroom Preset

Say for example you’re using one of my Coffee Tones presets, but every time you use it, you find yourself turning off the vignette effect. To make this more convenient, you can create a custom version. To do this you need to simply save a new version with the vignette turned off.

Before we look at the procedure for customising the preset to turn off the vignette, let’s look at some important points about saving presets in general.

When you save a preset in Lightroom, you will get a window with a list of individual adjustments, and checkboxes beside them. When you check one of these boxes, then the current settings for that adjustment are saved as part of the preset. Even if you haven’t actually adjusted anything, that setting will be saved. For example, if you have clarity set at zero, and you save it as part of a preset, it will be saved set at zero. that means if you then apply that to an image to which you’ve already adjusted the clarity setting, then applying the preset with the zero clarity, will overwrite the current setting. This is why it’s important to only turn on the things you want to save.

The adjustments that I use for my presets vary form preset to preset. However, I generally avoid using the following adjustments when making presets as these are generally part of my setup presets:

  • Lens Correction
  • Calibration
  • Sharpening
  • Exposure (see note)
  • White Balance (see note)

I try to avoid using exposure and white balance where possible, but some of my presets do have an exposure or white balance adjustment baked in. In particular Monolith uses exposure adjustments as part of the look, and Coffee Tones uses a white balance adjustment. I try to avoid using exposure as part of the design of a Lightroom preset as it’s something that you’re most likely to want to adjust from image to image, and the same goes for white balance, but sometimes they’re an essential part of the look. You will see when you apply a preset if the individual slider is changed or not, if that setting has been saved.

Saving a new Lightroom preset dialog box

Ok, with that information in mind, back to the example. Here’s what to do to save a custom preset with the Vignette turned off:

  1. Apply the preset you want to modify. Make sure it’s on an image that you haven’t already adjusted.
  2. Click the + Button on top of the Lightroom presets panel in the develop module.
  3. When the window opens, check the settings you want to save as part of the preset, and turn off the settings that you don’t want. In this example, turn off vignette.
  4. At the top of the window, give your preset a name. For example you could call it the name of the preset your customising, with the word custom added.
  5. Select the folder you want to save the preset into.
  6. Click save

This will save the preset as a customised version.

Changing the Settings in a Lightroom Preset

The other possibility is if you want to save a custom version with an individual or multiple adjustments changed. In this case the process is much the same:

  1. Apply your preset
  2. Make whatever adjustments you want
  3. Save your preset using the instructions above.

Combining Lightroom Presets

Another possibility for which you might want to make a custom preset is if you want to combine presets. For example, if you are always applying the same setup preset and the same look, then you can combine these and save it as a custom preset. Alternatively, if you’re shooting with a Fuji X Series camera and you use my sharpening presets, then you may want to combine a look preset (from one of my preset packs, or from another preset maker) with one of the sharpening presets. In all these cases the procedure is the same.

  1. Apply the first preset. For example one of the Setup Presets.
  2. Apply the second preset.
  3. Save the preset using the procedure above.

If you’re combining one of my Fuji sharpening presets with a look preset, then you should apply the look preset first, and the sharpening preset second.

Respect Copyright

One important thing to remember, is if you’re creating custom presets, is to respect the copyright of the original creator. This is regardless as to whether you’re customising one of my presets or some one else’s. You shouldn’t post the custom versions to the web or other file sharing or other output. They’re fine for personal use of course!