Cinematic teal and orange. Muted pastels. Digital photos that look like old film stocks. These trends have dominated the photography world in recent years, as more photographers push the boundaries in post-processing. In 2020, a unique editing style is more than just a way to stand out. It’s also a creative signature, and more photographers are finding it by experimenting with Lightroom presets.
While some prefer to make their own, others are taking advantage of the stellar presets already available online from other artists. Presets, like filters, take the guess-work and hassle out of photo editing, giving you the power to achieve any aesthetic you want—whether it’s inspired by your favorite photographer, akin to an iconic filmmaker, or reminiscent of your grandma’s grainy photo album.
The process of installing presets is simple:
- First, when you find one you like, you’ll download a zip file from the web or get one via email after purchase.
- Unzip the file, head over to the Lightroom Develop module, and expand the Presets panel.
- Click the + icon to import your presets.
It’s that easy.
Here’s a look at 12 of our must-have preset bundles available, all created by photographers on 500px.
Lightroom presets for landscape photography
Adventure and landscape photographer Max Rive has an Instagram following of more than 1.8 million people—and it’s easy to see why. With 336 total preset combinations, his pack allows users of all levels to emulate his majestic, awe-inspiring aesthetic through his signature use of contrast and color. You can go trendy with Instagram-inspired looks or follow in the footsteps of landscape painters past with dramatic and sublime edits. The bundle is currently available for a heavily discounted $49.
Nick Verbelchuk straddles the genres of adventure, travel, lifestyle, and landscape photography—and his presets do the same. His preset pack has something for any established or emerging photographer hoping to add a bit of polish and “pop” for professional-looking—and wanderlust-inducing!—images. Whether you’re looking to correct your exposure on bright, sunny days; craving deep, saturated blues; or longing for a moody, Icelandic vibe, there’s a preset in here for you. Get the bundle for $35.
TJ Drysdale’s digital store has something for everyone, including editing tutorials, Photoshop actions, and, of course, Lightroom Presets. Like Drysdale’s fairytale-inspired photography, these presets defy easy categorization; they’ll work for portraits, fashion photos, landscapes, and more.
His packs include standouts like Portrait Moods, Cinematic Presets, and Film Presets, but for the landscape photographer, you can’t beat the romance of Pacific Northwest, a set of 14 premium presets that bring out the verdant greens and blues of the forest and sea. You can get it for just $9.99.
Lightroom presets for wedding photography
Zürich-based photographer Sascha Kraemer is a master storyteller, and his Oh Yes Presets capture the epic romance associated with many of the sprawling destination weddings he’s documented around the world. These aren’t your standard, cookie-cutter wedding presets; they’re all about tapping into honest memories and creating something timeless. You can get all 15 presets in the All in One bundle on sale for €89.00.
Julia & Gil describe their wedding photos in three words—atmospheric, lively, and honest—and those adjectives could just as easily apply to their presets as well. They have three collections: Wedding, Portrait, and Mobile. These packs are all about soft colors, nostalgic film-like textures, and gorgeous, natural skin tones. Get their signature wedding preset collection (pack of 10) or the portrait collection (pack of 8) for €49.
Lightroom presets for portraits
Heck Yeah Presets are the brainchild of the photographer and educator Ben Sasso, designed primarily for wedding and portrait photographers. There are three collections, including the Heck Yeah Film Pack for a faded, grainy look, the Heck Yeah Art Pack for rich and creamy colors, and the Heck Yeah Bright Pack for luminous skin. You can get all three collections at once for $195—a $30 discount.
Nathan Elson presets are the perfect choice for monochrome enthusiasts. This set comes with two Focus presets (Focus Light and Focus Dark) for low-key portraits, Charcoal for outdoor portraits made on overcast days, and Ultimate Contrast for those working with hard light. There’s also a color offering: Push & Pull is all about getting that dynamic range just right. You can use it for just about any portrait, from fine art to commercial headshots. Get this versatile set for $35.
Bonus: Elson also has a Cinematic Color Grading Preset Pack for images that “pop” off the screen.
Lightroom presets for lifestyle photography
Toronto-based lifestyle and portrait photographer Jeff Isy has several bundles of custom presets, ranging from Summer Gold to Golden hour. Some will give your portraits that tanned, beachy vibe so many photographers crave, while others will lend them a nostalgic glow. Isy’s latest collection includes all his favorite presets from 2019, totaling 28 for desktop and 30 for Lightroom Mobile. You can snag the whole lot for $50.
Lifestyle photographer Victoria Bee makes presets for all genres: portraits, interiors, food, travel, wedding—you name it. Most of them will give you that clean, airy look we’re used to seeing from leading influencers and bloggers, and she’ll even provide customizations upon request. All of Bee’s presets are affordable, and there are tons of options available. You can get the best-selling Iced Coffee pack, for example, used to edit the photo above, for $3.55.
Lightroom presets for family photography
Florida-based photographer Twyla Jones is known for her soulful pictures of families, and her presets are ideal for creating that emotional, cinematic atmosphere. Think: vibrant tones, evocative contrast, and just the right amount of grain when you want it. Her latest pack comes with six color and two black-and-white presets; you can purchase it for $75.
Lightroom presets for fashion photography
Stanley Parrish offers a wide array of presets for everything from natural light portrait photography to in-studio fashion shoots. A good place to start is with his Lightroom Preset Pack 1, which includes a total of 15 presets, including Orange & Teal Hit and Pretty Woman for a cinematic atmosphere and Fall Vibes and Summer Vibes for a seasonal twist. This versatile bundle is available for just $15 a pop.
Lightroom presets for night photography
Finnish photographer Juuso Hämäläinen is no stranger to the night sky, and in addition to his General and Fairytale-themed preset packs, he offers a set specifically for night photographers. Think: the northern lights, the Milky Way galaxy, and early morning fog.
Hämäläinen created this pack in part to help emerging artists who want to get started shooting in trickier, low light conditions; it comes with 15 presets, divided into four groups (Auroras, Moonlight, Stars, and Early Morning). With this selection, you don’t have to travel all the way to Scandinavia to get magical images—though you certainly can. It can be yours for €19.90.
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- The Best Photography Grants in 2020
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