The Magic of Presets for Image Processing

Reaching for shorthand terminology while having a conversation about Lightroom Presets one day a friend referred to them as a sort of (Photoshop) “Action”.
Not such a bad simile really.

Like Actions, Presets are image processing shortcuts one can utilize while developing digital photographs in both Lightroom and Camera Raw.

Presets should be treated as a catalyst for image evolution.

Rarely will any single Preset work perfectly on each and every photo it is considered for – and this process of consideration is by-far more easily accomplished in Lightroom than in Camera Raw not least because of the sophistication of LR’s Develop module's workspace.

Lightroom has a “Navigator” window within-which effects are instantly rendered on-the-fly as one simply hovers their cursor over each Preset’s title. And Lightroom’s “History” panel is also significant in our work with Presets, especially for the process of building new recipes! (NOTE that there is no ‘Navigator’ and no recorded image processing History available in Camera Raw.)

By working with an extensive collection of Presets in Lightroom, saving each potential start-point as a Snapshot for additional sweetening and fine tuning later, one has the potential for creating a series of worthy image variations – all from a single Master image!

And, once again unlike Camera Raw, Lightroom has the ability to save them each individually as “Virtual Copies” – image rendering instructions, not physical pixel data all wrapped-into the original Master image file as metadata.

SEE this example.

a short animated film by michael maersch
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