Develop Presets

Lightroom is rich with presets. There are metadata presets. Keywords sets. Web templates. Print layouts. The list goes on and on. However, one of the features of Lightroom that gives it such power and makes your workflow much more efficient is the ability to create, save, and reuse Develop Presets.

To start on your Develop Preset adventure you need to go to, you guessed it, the Develop module. In the left panel, below the navigator, you will find the Presets section.


You may only see Lightroom Presets and User Presets in your section but we’ll look at organizing your presets a little later.

After you have made some adjustments you can create a preset in a few ways. From the Develop menu choose New Preset… or use the shortcut Shift-Command-N on a Mac orShift-Ctrl-N on a Windows PC.


You can also click the + on the right side of the Presets section.


All of these will open the New develop Preset dialog.

New Develop Preset.jpg

The first part of the dialog is where you will name your preset and decide where to file it.

New Develop Preset-1.jpg

Enter the name of your preset. It’s best if you use a name that tells you something about what the preset looks like. Then drop down the folder menu.


As you create or collect presets you may want to put them into folders in order to organize them. Just click the New Folder… to create a new folder. Or, if you already have a folder created, choose that folder.

The next two section of the dialog deal with what you want to include (or exclude) for this new preset.

New Develop Preset-2.jpg

As you can see the settings are grouped into logical sections. When you bring up the dialog it may have any variety of boxes checked and unchecked depending on what you have done previously. To start fresh choose either the Check All or Check None button at the bottom of the dialog. Which one? Well, if you intend on including most of the presets and excluding just a few then choose Check All and uncheck the few you want to exclude. If you only want to include a few settings then choose Check None and check the few you want to include.

If you select the Auto Tone checkbox in the Auto Settings section then it removes your ability to choose any of the Basic Tone settings. These will appear grayed out.

New Develop Preset-4.jpg

This makes sense since if you choose Auto Tone then you are relying on Lightroom’s algorithms to set these basic tone values for you.

From here just pick and choose which settings to include in your preset masterpiece. When you are done click the Create button and your preset will now appear in the folder you chose.


Develop presets are accessible from the Develop Module. They are also available in the Library module by right clicking an image and choosing Develop Settings from the contextual menu. Here, all your folders are expanded so you can see the individual presets but this can make for a very long scrolling list. Also, you don’t have the advantage of seeing what changes the preset will make. In the Develop module you can see the effect in the Navigator window as you hover over a preset. They can also be applied during import if you like.

One more thing to note about Develop Presets before we end. They are stackable. So long as the settings each controls don’t conflict with each other you can stack them and not change settings for either. For example, if the first preset only changes the basic tone settings.

New Develop Preset-5.jpg

And the second only changes the color settings.

New Develop Preset-6.jpg

Then you can stack them without either of them altering the other’s values.

In addition to creating your own presets there are a great many good ones available for free. Gavin Seim has posted an extensive list on his Pro Photography Show blog along with instructions on how to install presets that you download.

So get out there and start exploring the world of Develop Presets! You’re gonna have a blast!