In the realm of digital photography, where capturing the perfect shot is just the beginning, photo editing presets have emerged as a powerful tool to enhance and streamline the editing process. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a budding enthusiast, understanding and utilizing photo editing presets can significantly improve your workflow, ensuring consistency and saving valuable time. This comprehensive guide will delve into the world of photo editing presets, exploring their benefits, how to use them, and tips for creating your own.

What is a Photo Editing Preset?

A photo editing preset is a pre-configured set of adjustments and settings applied to an image to achieve a desired look or style. These presets can include modifications to exposure, contrast, saturation, color balance, and more. They act as a shortcut, allowing photographers to apply a specific aesthetic to their photos with just one click.

Benefits of Using Photo Editing Presets

  1. Consistency: Presets ensure a uniform look across a series of photos, which is particularly important for branding and portfolio work.
  2. Time-Saving: Applying a preset can dramatically reduce the time spent on editing, allowing you to focus on other creative tasks.
  3. Creativity Boost: Presets can inspire creativity by providing a starting point, encouraging experimentation with different styles.
  4. Learning Tool: Analyzing presets can help beginners understand how different adjustments affect an image.

Several photo editing software options support the use of presets, making it easy to incorporate them into your workflow:

  1. Adobe Lightroom: Known for its powerful preset functionality, Lightroom allows users to apply and create custom presets easily.
  2. Adobe Photoshop: While primarily known for detailed edits, Photoshop also supports the use of presets through Camera Raw.
  3. VSCO: Popular among mobile photographers, VSCO offers a range of filters and presets for quick edits.
  4. Snapseed: This mobile app provides a variety of preset options and is user-friendly for on-the-go editing.

How to Use Photo Editing Presets?

  1. Importing Presets: Most editing software allows you to import presets. In Lightroom, for example, you can do this via the Develop module by navigating to the Presets panel and selecting “Import Presets.”
  2. Applying Presets: Once imported, applying a preset is typically as simple as clicking on it. The adjustments will automatically be applied to your selected photo.
  3. Customizing Presets: While presets provide a great starting point, you can and should tweak them to better fit your specific image. Adjust sliders for exposure, contrast, and other settings as needed.
  4. Creating Your Own Presets: After editing a photo to your liking, you can save those settings as a new preset. In Lightroom, this is done by clicking the “+” in the Presets panel and selecting “Create Preset.”

Tips for Creating Effective Photo Editing Presets

  1. Start Simple: Begin with basic adjustments like exposure, contrast, and white balance before moving on to more complex edits.
  2. Test Across Different Photos: Ensure your preset works well on a variety of images, adjusting as necessary to maintain consistency.
  3. Name and Organize: Give your presets descriptive names and organize them into folders to keep your workflow efficient.
  4. Update Regularly: As your editing style evolves, update your presets to reflect your current preferences.


Photo editing presets are an invaluable asset for photographers seeking to enhance their efficiency and maintain a consistent aesthetic. By understanding how to use and create presets, you can elevate your editing process, saving time and fostering creativity. Embrace the power of presets and transform your photography workflow today.


Q1: What are photo editing presets?
A1: Photo editing presets are pre-configured settings that can be applied to images to achieve a specific look or style quickly. They include adjustments to aspects like exposure, contrast, and color balance.

Q2: How do I import presets into Adobe Lightroom?
A2: In Lightroom, go to the Develop module, find the Presets panel, click on the “+” icon, and select “Import Presets.” Choose the preset files from your computer and import them.

Q3: Can I customize a preset after applying it?
A3: Yes, presets serve as a starting point. You can tweak the settings further to better suit your specific image.

Q4: Are presets only available for professional editing software?
A4: No, presets are available in both professional software like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, as well as mobile apps like VSCO and Snapseed.

Q5: How do I create my own photo editing preset?
A5: After editing a photo to your satisfaction, save the settings as a new preset. In Lightroom, click the “+” icon in the Presets panel and select “Create Preset.”

Q6: Can using presets improve my editing skills?
A6: Yes, analyzing and adjusting presets can help you understand how different settings affect an image, thereby improving your editing skills over time.

Q7: Do presets work on all types of photos?
A7: While presets provide a good starting point, they may need adjustments to work perfectly on different types of photos due to variations in lighting, color, and composition.

This page was last edited on 3 June 2024, at 11:58 am