Best Lightroom Presets of 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

Every picture speaks a thousand words. Pictures capture moments that will forever be lost to time. Be it a person you love or a fleeting smile on a day long-forgotten, these pictures hold entire worlds within them. Though it is the camera that captures the moment, the magic of recreating it lies in the editing. Most photographers today find the precision that they are looking for in Adobe Lightroom and its predetermined presets.

Comparison Chart of the Best Lightroom Presets

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Enlighten Lightroom Presets

  • Has 200 photographer-tested Lightroom Presets
  • Features 30 brush presets to look after every last detail
  • Great to experiment with and discover your own style
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Soda Pop Vibrant Lightroom Presets

  • Designed with bloggers and social media influencers in mind
  • Creates warm, vivid and dynamic looks
  • Three-lifetime downloads of each file type
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The Essential Collection

  • 100% non-destructive, that is, can be reset to the original image in just one click
  • Compatible with Lightroom 4, 5, 6 and CC
  • Works on RAW, TIFF and JPEG images
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MCP Portrait Pro Lightroom Presets

  • Features a collection of 80 professionally-collected premium presets
  • Best Lightroom preset for portraits
  • Compatible with Lightroom 4, 5, 6 and CC
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Pink Rose Lightroom Presets

  • Has 10 mobile and desktop compatible presets
  • Best Lightroom Presets for Instagram
  • Gives photos a soft pink glow
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Interior Design & Real Estate Lightroom Presets

  • Features 27 varied real estate and interior design presets and 15 brushes for various needs
  • Best Lightroom Presets for Real Estate Photography
  • Perfect for staging and displaying home sales, interior design, decor, home sales, and more.
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Bliss Lightroom Preset

  • Has 9 presets, compatible with both the mobile and desktop
  • Best Wedding Lightroom Preset
  • Creates a vintage look by enhancing, beautiful warm tones
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Nature Lover Lightroom Presets (V1)

  • Best VSCO Lightroom Preset
  • Has 1 Adobe Lightroom Preset with 7 variations in intensity
  • Works with both mobile and desktop
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What Are Lightroom Presets?

Lightroom Presets are a set of editing settings within Adobe Lightroom that allow you to customize effects and adjustments with just a few clicks. These presets are a powerful image editing tool. Images that would once take up hours of tedious editing to perfect, can be done in a matter of minutes with the pre-made effects of these presets.

Not only do they make the editing process far more efficient but they are also immensely useful when it comes to easing the workflow. From retouching photos to adding retro effects, the Lightroom Presets look after every little detail. And with the right preset, you can really bring your photos to life.

Are All Lightroom Presets The Same?

The beauty of Lightroom Presets is that each preset is tailored to suit a specific vibe. While some presets may give your photos a more intense, dramatic feel, others imbue them with the tranquillity of the gorgeous blue tone. 

Each preset is designed to be distinct from the other, created to cater to a myriad of needs and moods. A preset like The Pink Rose Lightroom Preset, for instance, creates a soft pink aura around photos while another, more vibrant Preset, may make the colors in your photos pop. Though both can be used to define the pictures on your Instagram feed, for instance, each preset will create a feel significantly different from the other.

Characteristics of Our Favorite Lightroom Presets 

While there are many Lightroom presets on the market, some stand out more than others. For instance, we look for simple and easy to use functionality and features which enhance images without looking unnatural. Some of these features include:

Skin Tone

When looking for a preset, one of the most important factors is the skin tone. A preset that saturates or overworks the skin tone may leave you with results that are less than satisfactory. This is why, no matter the overall vibe, a good preset should also create a beautiful, natural skin tone.

Exposure

Exposure is another thing to consider when applying presets to pictures. A properly exposed photo, for instance, is more likely to resemble the result promised by a given preset. Different photos, however, have different exposures based on lighting, style of photography, and various other factors. So, a preset that does not affect the exposure of your image is always useful and also helps maintain the uniqueness of each image.

Customer Reviews

A huge indicator of a good preset is in the reviews that it gets. Genuine reviews from customers speak volumes about a product and can help you better understand the preset that you are looking at.

Aesthetic Appeal

Every preset caters to a different aesthetic and to make a choice of presets you must first have an understanding of your own style. A preset needs to highlight your work and complement your own aesthetic. So, read the preset descriptions, understand exactly what effect each preset provides, and always pick a preset that makes your photos stand out.

At the end of the day, every photographer has their own sense of aesthetic and these presets are created by photographers based on a style that appeals to them. High quality presets take months of testing to create. Every preset is defined by a certain style and you need to find the one that matches the vibe that you want to create.

Quick Take - Best Lightroom Presets

Before we dive into our review, here are the best Lightroom presets:

  1. Enlighten Lightroom Presets
  2. Soda Pop Vibrant Lightroom Presets
  3. The Essential Collection

Review of the Best Lightroom Presets

With so many brilliant and creative preset packages available, choosing among them can be a bit of a dilemma. So, here are a few of our top Lightroom Preset recommendations.

PROS

  • Stack and layer presets to create a completely unique look
  • Works particularly well with portraits and has great customer reviews
  • Organized in an intuitive folder system, making it super easy to find the desired preset
  • Great for controlling the exposure and offers beautiful overlays for a professional finish
  • Save a series of steps that work well with images with ‘Save a Fave’ to use a combination you love over and over again

CONS

  • Might be too expensive for some

Why it Stands Out to Us

MCP Enlighten Presets is one of the best out there for people who like to explore different styles and effects. As the best overall preset, these presets are super flexible in their usage, extremely easy to use, and can really ease your workflow. With four easy steps, you can get polished, professional-looking pictures in absolutely no time. 

In terms of organization, these presets are an absolute dream to use. The intuitive folder system makes locating presets a breeze and any errors can be easily undone without fear of having to start the entire project all over again. The presets are perfect for the perfectionists at heart, catering to the tiniest of imperfections from red eyes to dull colors.

With its wide array of features, the MCP Enlighten Presets are by far the most fun to play around with. From a range of black and white looks to a variety of lighting effects and cool overlays, you can experiment to your heart’s content until you get your picture-perfect image.

PROS

  • Has 10 gorgeous presets 
  • Super easy to install and use
  • Works really well with outdoor pictures
  • Perfect to make the pictures on a social media feed stand out
  • Compatible with both professional cameras and mobile devices (Android and iPhones)+

CONS

  • Might be a bit pricey

Why it Stands Out to Us

For all the beloved influencers and IG baddies out there, the Soda Pop Vibrant Lightroom Presets are exactly what you need to give your feed that perfect pop. Each preset is unique in its tone and will give your pictures an ethereal, sultry vibe. It is incredibly simple to use and immensely simplifies the workflow, especially for our on the go influencers.

With the Tropical Lift pushing the blues to teal and the sandy-peach highlights, oceans have never looked more inviting. The Rosy Light preset will give your pictures a warm look with filtered-shadows and gorgeous rosy highlights. The Soda Pop Vibrant Lightroom Presets can bring a make a simple picture come alive. It lets you bathe your picture in beautiful hues and warm tones Edit your picture to match the vibe and make your feed absolutely unforgettable.

PROS

  • Extremely affordable
  • Works with photos taken in any kind of lighting
  • Comes with an easy-to-follow installation guide
  • Adds a touch of analog photography to the digital workflow
  • Fully adjustable as per the need and ideal for any kind of image

CONS

  • Price should be taken into consideration

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Essential Collection by Lightgram is the best that money can buy. This ensemble of presets brings together a perfect blend of subtlety and dram. It is a collection of some of the most unique and diverse presets to fit your every need. 

An abundance of options at an extremely affordable rate is one of the best parts of the collection. 

To add to it, the Essential collection of presets is beyond flexible in its use. From compatibility with various kinds of images to a diverse range of presets perfect for every mood, there isn’t much these presets can’t do. 

These crisp and dynamic presets are ideal for almost every kind of image and are bound to add a new dimension to your portraits. From the soft vintage vibe to the dramatic flair of a good black and white. From muted mattes to vibrant color pops, these presets have it all and can jazz up any picture. 

PROS

  • Comes with complimentary video tutorials 
  • Great to create professional-looking portraits
  • Super easy to understand and helps save time
  • Each preset has two versions for RAW and JPEG respectively
  • Allows you to undo certain adjustments while retaining others

CONS

  • Restricted to the use of portraits

Why it Stands Out to Us

MCP Portrait Pro Lightroom Presets, as the name suggests, works beautifully to give your portraits that professional studio look. From bright day shots to more mystic black and white shots, these eighty presets cater to practically every kind of portraiture. 

With the Pro kit, you can do away with the tedious job of manually editing photos in just a few clicks of a button. Organized into separate categories labeled Contrast, Dark, Details, and so on, the presets are incredibly easy to locate and navigate to get the best results in no time.

Darken tones, perfect details, and make your portraits pop with Portrait Pro. Each preset adds a layer of depth, definition, and dimension to your picture. With crisp, clear adjustments and a multitude of options to explore, you can create timeless portraits that speak volumes.

PROS

  • Works beautifully in natural light
  • Easy to achieve uniformity in images 
  • Extremely affordable and easy to use
  • Great for lifestyle bloggers, fashion and beauty influencers
  • Perfectly complements all skin tones and colors to enhance photos

CONS

  • Limited flexibility and variety

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Rose Pink Lightroom Presets shine a gorgeous glow on the pictures that you take. Designed for social media, these ten charming, pretty-in-pink presets will make your photos look almost dream-like. 

With the delicate tones, it is easy to create a consistent vibe for your feed using these presets. The pink highlights beautifully complement all skin tones and colors and really work to enhance the natural beauty of the photo. 

Every picture tells a story and what better way to captivate audiences of a lifestyle blogger or a beauty guru than the pink halo of the Rose Pink presets. With a light, airy vibe, these presets are perfect for all the IG influencers out there looking for the soft, fairy-like aesthetic.

PROS

  • Work on RAW and JPEG images
  • Quick and efficient customer service
  • Can be used with Mac, PC, Android, and iOS
  • Compatible with both Lightroom and Photoshop
  • 25 Tool Presets including filter, split filter, tonal and vignette

CONS

  • Usage limited to real estate and interior design photography

Why it Stands Out to Us

Editing photos for real estate can be a tricky job, especially as you try to balance out the various colors and contrasts. Created on popular demand, the Interior Design and Real Estate Lightroom Preset by The Luxe Lens was exclusively designed to match the editing needs of interior design and real estate photography.

These presets breathe life into a picture, making it the ideal option for people dealing in real estate, staging houses, showcasing decor and interior design, and so on. The Interior Design and Real Estate Lightroom Preset smoothens the workflow and gives you multiple effects and adjustments to try out.

You can detail your pictures with the different brushes and tool presets. With the click of a button, you can turn the vibe of a space from absolutely grand and resplendent to warm, cozy, and comforting. From beautiful black and whites to warm to peachy tones, these diverse presets encompass almost every need you could possibly have to make a property look its absolute best.

PROS

  • Extremely easy to install and use
  • Easily suits any kind of portraiture
  • Creates lovely images for social media and blogs
  • Great for lifestyle, wedding and portrait photography
  • Works well to enhance the yellows and browns in pictures

CONS

  • The presets are not the most versatile and may not be able to fulfill all needs

Why it Stands Out to Us

Everybody loves a good throwback. The Bliss Lightroom Presets by Lightroom Masters gives your pictures the sought-after chic, vintage look with just a few clicks. These presets work brilliantly for people with a creative bent and can be an immensely useful tool for the people attempting to create an aesthetic feed.

These presets will create amazing warm tones in all of your shoots - from a fall wedding to a fashion photoshoot. The enhanced brown and yellow highlights give pictures the feel of memories of long ago. Soaked in an aura of warmth and reminiscence, the Bliss Lightroom Presets can create some truly unique images in a matter of minutes. 

PROS

  • Create a simple, rustic and ageless vibe
  • Great for Adventurer and Wanderlust Photographers
  • Eases workflow and provides an effortless VSCO look
  • Extremely simple to use and can be applied to any image
  • Acts as a great base off which you can build an editing style

CONS

  • Lacks variety in effects 
  • Minimal flexibility and relatively restricted range of uses

Why it Stands Out to Us

Ever since the popularity of the VSCO girl (or boy) on social media, recreating this sought-after the effect has become quite the trend in recent years. The Nature Lover Lightroom Presets offer a quick and easy solution. A single preset can produce that awesome VSCO-look in no time. 

You no longer need to fiddle with settings and effects until you hit the right combination. With 7 levels of intensity, you can easily create the exact vibe that you are looking for. This preset saves a ton of editing time and also acts as a great foundation off of which you can start developing your own editing styles. 

The Nature Lover Preset is simple and easy to understand. And like they say, ‘Less is More.’

Lightroom Presets vs. Photoshop Actions - Comparison Overview

The Similarities

In many ways, the two share a lot in common. Both presets and actions, for instance, speed up the editing process and make the workflow for a photographer far more efficient.

Easy to Operate

Both are incredibly easy to operate and allow you to achieve results that you may not know how to create for yourselves just as yet. In addition to getting equally beautiful results, both presets and actions, are a great base to learn more about your craft, and to experiment with your own style of editing.

Lightroom and Photoshop are both incredibly dynamic editing tools for any photographer, be it an amateur with a keen curiosity or a professional with a passion. Just as presets are Lightroom’s way of applying effects and adjustments to an image, Photoshop actions are, in essence, a script of steps that will do the same to an image in Photoshop.

The Differences

The differences between the two, though minute, are what set Lightroom presets apart from Photoshop actions. For one, presets offer much more control over the editing process and are much easier to customize than actions. While minor tweaks in Photoshops might require you to sift through multiple layers to find the one that you want to change, making adjustments in Lightroom is comparatively fast. Moreover, Lightroom has fewer compatibility issues and the presets run much faster and more smoothly than Photoshop actions, which usually take a few extra seconds to run.

An Easier Workflow Solution

All in all, Lightroom leads to a better workflow. The differences between the two, however, are minor and both presets and actions have a lot to offer in terms of their ability to polish and refine photos quickly and easily. And at the end of the day, the choice is a matter of personal comfort and preference.

How to Install Lightroom Presets 

Though installing your Lightroom presets may seem a little intimidating at first, you have nothing to worry about. Just follow these easy steps and you should have your presets ready to roll.

  1. Download the presets onto your device and make sure to extract them from the zip file. You can do this by right-clicking the zipped folder and selecting ‘Extract All’ from the menu or, if you are using a Mac, by double-clicking on the folder.

  2. Open Adobe Lightroom and go to the Develop Module listed in the top right corner of the screen.

  3. In the Develop Module, you will find a Presets panel to the left of the screen. The panel will already contain some basic presets that come bundled with Lightroom. Before installing your presets, you might want to make a folder for them in the Presets Panel so that your presets are nice and organized. To do this, just right-click anywhere within the panel and select New Folder.

  4. Once you’ve named your folder, click on the folder and select Import to import the unzipped presets from Step 1.

Voila! Your presets are installed and ready for use. For a more detailed explanation, be sure to check out the video below on how to install Lightroom Presets.

Conclusion 

On a final note, Lightroom presets can be an indispensable editing tool that can save time, organize the workflow. They are also a great learning curve for photographers. Each preset facilitates a different look or style and the choice of presets used is based solely on one’s own needs and preferences. Explore various presets, experiment with your style, and create yet another memory for a lifetime.

People Also Ask

If you are just getting started with Lightroom, presets can prove to be a bit of a challenge to get the hang of. In hopes of easing your journey a little, we have attempted to answer a few commonly asked questions about Lightroom Presets.

Where Are Lightroom Presets Stored?

Lightroom presets tend to perform a vanishing act on us at times and locating them can be a rather frustrating experience. Though computers and operating systems may vary, Lightroom presets will consistently be located in the same place due to the way in which it is designed.

Mac OSX: /Users/[user name]/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom/Develop Presets

Windows: C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Lightroom\Develop Presets

One way of identifying the location of your Lightroom presets is to select the following from the top main menu:

Edit  >  Preferences (Lightroom  >  Preferences on mac) and then click on the Presets tab. Once this is done, click on Show Lightroom Develop Presets which will take you to the location of the settings folder where the develop presets are stored.

Are Lightroom Presets Worth Buying?

The answer to this question is, quite honestly, based on individual preferences. Lightroom Presets can be an invaluable asset to a photographer. They can save time and also help hone skills. However, if used the wrong way - as a crutch rather than an accompaniment -they may prove to be a waste.

Do Professional Photographers Use Lightroom Presets?

Most professional photographers have spent years developing a certain style of editing that only comes from being well-versed in the tedious task of manual editing. Professionals, therefore, when using a preset, will tailor them to suit their exact needs and may use these presets in order to make the workflow easier, quicker, and more convenient. 

How Do I Add Presets to Lightroom Mobile?

  1. Unzip the downloaded presets on your computer
  2. Save the unzipped presets on any cloud storage option so that they can be accessed on your mobile phone
  3. Open the Lightroom Mobile App and add the DNG/Preset files
  4. To add a preset: Settings > Add Photos and select the location from which you will be pulling out the DNG/Preset files from
  5. Once imported, select a newly-imported file and click on the three dots in the top-right corner
  6. Create a Preset name and group and you are good to go.

Are Lightroom Presets Free?

A majority of the Lightroom Presets are sold commercially. However, there are quite a few presets you can use on your photos that are available completely free of cost.

What’s the Difference Between a Preset and a Filter?

Very generally, a filter refers to a piece of software that allows you to change the look of an image by adjusting various effects and parameters while a preset is more like a series of defined settings for each of these parameters. A preset will, therefore, offer more control over editing and thus a more consistent look to pictures, as opposed to a filter for which every picture means starting off with vastly different degrees of exposure and quality.

What Are Presets For?

Presets are an editing tool - a configuration of certain settings that are designed to create a certain look for your photos. With a few clicks, these presets can perfect your photos and create any vibe that you desire.

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