Most web and graphic designers use Photoshop on a daily basis as one of the main tools of the trade. Photoshop is incredibly powerful for designing and for photo editing, but Adobe also has Lightroom, which can be used for processing/editing photos and for organization of photo files.
As a designer you probably work with a lot of images, including those provided by clients, purchased stock photos, free stock photos, and possibly even your own photos. Because designers work with so many photos, and because many designers are also photography enthusiasts, Lightroom has become increasingly popular even outside of the circles of just professional photographers.
Also helping to boost Lightroom’s popularity is its inclusion in Adobe’s Creative Cloud. If you have a Creative Cloud subscription for software like Photoshop and Illustrator, you also have access to Lightroom.
The early versions of Lightroom included basic functionality for editing photos, but the Library Module for organizing photos was equally important. Since photographers, even hobbyists, can easily build up an archive of thousands of photos, keeping them organized is essential. But over the years, with each new version, Lightroom’s Develop Module has become increasingly powerful, and Lightroom users find themselves opening Photoshop less and less.
One of the best ways to take advantage of Lightroom’s capabilities, especially if you are just getting started with the program, is to make use of develop presets, which can be used to instantly apply specific settings to your photos. They serve a very similar purpose as Photoshop actions that would be used in Photoshop to apply a certain type of effect to a photo.
Presets can help to speed up your editing workflow, allow you to get amazing effects that you might not be able to duplicate on your own, and they can also serve as an excellent educational resource if you want to learn how to create different types of effects. There are many presets available for purchase, but there are also some that you can download for free.
Finding the best free presets can be a little challenging because you need to weed through a lot of lower quality options as well, so this collection was compiled to showcase some of the best free presets that you can download.
Film Lightroom Presets
These presets will give your digital photos a film-like appearance. These effects are often somewhat subtle, but can help to create truly beautiful photos.
HDR Lightroom Presets
Lightroom is great for allowing you to increase the dynamic range of a photo. The most recent version (Lightroom CC) includes a new HDR merge feature, but in order to do that you will need multiple exposures of the same scene. If you are just working with a single photo you can get an HDR appearance with these presets.
Color Effects Lightroom Presets
There are all kinds of options for working with color in Lightroom. With some dull photos you may want to make the colors pop, and in other cases you may want to use a faded effect instead. You can also do things like bring a blue sky to life or enhance autumn colors in a nature photo.
Black & White Lightroom Presets
It’s easy to convert a color photo to black & white in Lightroom, but simple black & white conversions often look dull and uninteresting. To get the most from your black & whites you’ll need to make some other tweaks as well, and these presets will take care of the work for you.
Vintage Lightroom Presets
Want a vintage effect for your photo? That can be done very easily with this selection of awesome vintage and retro presets.