Presets. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly


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The above pictures were edited using Luminar 2018, a super editing tool from Skylum. It does indeed make editing very easy. The software works very easily, has a very good number of presets and filters. The various adjustments work through sliders, like those of Lightroom, and so are extremely easy indeed.

The pictures that I took, were snapshots. I took them while I stopped for chai at a roadside stall in Delhi, and used them for my Facebook Group, called “Chai Stories’.

What did I do? I applied a “Street Photography” preset from Luminar, added in an LUT (which is a Colour Look Up Table), and when I thought that the look was good enough for what I wanted, I created my own preset. I then applied this to all the other photos,

Why use a preset?

For one simple reason – they help to save time. Sort of. One of the things that I have noticed recently, that here are loads of people selling their presents and actions. Some of them are really useful, and some of them are just a pain in the butt. Most of them are meant for Lightroom and Photoshop.

In Luminar, I tend to use the presets that are meant for Luminar. What this means is, that there are a finite number of presets, which makes it easier to look for the presets. This is a huge positive, as you can find that the number of presets in your library can amount to a lot, and you end up losing a lot of time searching for the preset that you want. Especially since you often have to wade through a whole bunch of tosh that comes with many presets that you may be tempted to buy for Lightroom. I have a bunch of presents, actions, and brushes, so I know what I am talking about!

So, buy Lightroom presets with care!

What are the advantages of a preset? Yes, they can save time, if you know how to manage the list of presets that you have. They can help you arrive at a look relatively quickly

Do they enhance, or detract, from creativity? It all depends on how you use them. If you just use them as a quick way to get a jazzy look, and make this part of your standard workflow, then – yes. All your pictures will all soon start to look the same.

If you use them as a starting point, and then make adjustments, then they can indeed aid your creativity. However, you need to start to develop your vision for the end result fairly early on in the develop process. Or, not.

Like in all things, there is the good, the bad and the ugly!



  1. I like using presets sometimes as a starting point and sometimes for inspiration. Most of my Lightroom presets come form onOne and were free. I have more than 100 that i sorted according to my categories.

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