Last updated on June 15th, 2020

The photography workflow can eat a lot of time from end to finish. An efficient way to speed it up is during the image editing process. In this guide, I’ll be providing a summary on how to edit in Lightroom with presets. I’ll be also providing free Lightroom presets for Instagram. I created them specifically for Instagram users, but they can be used for any social media channel or even for professional photography. They’re a complimentary way of not adding to the cost of Lightroom.

If you decide to download my free Lightroom presets, please consider sharing this page with your friends or linking to it. This help others save money and encourage me to give away more goodies.

In addition, if there is a certain look or preset style that you want, let me know in the comments section below and I’ll try to make them.

Pros

  • Saves time.
  • View multiple image variants in a short amount of time.
  • Gives you new creative ideas for photography.
  • Can be used with Lightroom Mobile, CC, and Classic.
  • Many companies and photographers offer free presets.

Cons

  • Requires an image with an acceptable amount of exposure, saturation, and clarity.
  • Difficult to determine which settings were changed. 
  • Takes away from novice Lightroom users becoming more advanced.
  • No native way to import presets into Lightroom Mobile without a computer.

What Are Lightroom Presets and How Do They Work?

Lightroom presets are specific manual settings created in the develop module that are saved and then can be later applied to other images to save time.

A basic example would be if you increased the contrast and saturation of an image in Lightroom and saved the contrast and saturation slider amounts as a preset for future use. This is similar to Instagram filters.

Lightroom also supports metadata presets. These are for adding information like copyright details to your images. As we continue, the presets we are referring to in this summary are develop module presets.

Presets are not exclusive to Lightroom; other applications, such as Adobe Premiere Pro or Capture One, also have presets.

Lightroom presets can be created by anybody that has Lightroom including Lightroom Mobile.

Many photographers and designers offer Lightroom presets for free or for a cost.

Why Use Presets for Instagram?

 The presets offered on Instagram offer faster image editing but they are limited in number.

Using Lightroom presets for Instagram allows you to obtain many filters – free and paid – that can be used on your Lightroom Android or iOS app for more creative options.

Presets also help with branding your Instagram account. According to several social media marketing agencies, branding is one of the best strategies to increase Instagram engagement.

Many businesses, bloggers, and influencers use a branding strategy to increase followers. A consistent style to your content will make your Instagram account look aesthetic.

An example of branding your posts or stories is by color grading your images. Having a preset designed to color grade your images will make the task faster instead of manually adjusting the settings each time.

Best Practices When Applying the Presets

The Lightroom presets aren’t magical settings that will always make your Instagram photos pop.

There are some things, more specifically some settings, that need to be taken into consideration.

When a preset is applied, or when a photographer creates a package of presets that are to be shared, there is no way of knowing what type of images these presets will be applied to.

Yes, I can create Lightroom presets designed for landscape shots that were photographed with a wide-angle, but there is no way of knowing what the exposure or saturation of the original image will look like. In other words, the Lightroom histogram information is unknown by me. In addition, sharpness, detail, and many other variables in an image will be anybody’s guess.

For this reason, it is important that after applying a preset, you should further adjust the image to make it look aesthetic to your satisfaction.

Maybe the most important when it comes to image editing is to not oversaturate images. It’s tempting to make an image more colorful than Crayola but don’t do it.

Download My Free Lightroom Presets for Instagram Here

My presets can be downloaded via Dropbox. They are archived ZIP files that come in XMP format. The presets also work with Adobe Camera RAW.

lightroom preset colors by aperlust

Download Colors Pack – Includes 11 Presets


lightroom preset dragonfruit by aperlust

Download Dragonfruit Pack – Includes 5 Presets

 

lightroom preset cappuccino by aperlust

Download Cappuccino Pack – Includes 5 Presets

How to Install Lightroom Presets on Mobile App and Lightroom CC

The easiest and fastest was to install presets in your Lightroom Mobile app is to do so using the desktop version of the new Lightroom CC.

This way, you’ll have the presets installed on your desktop and mobile app through cloud syncing.

  1. Open Lightroom CC
  2. Open or click on a photo to go to the Develop Module.
  3. Click on the Edit icon located at the top in the right pane.
  4. Click on Presets.
  5. Click on the Ellipsis… → Import Presets.
  6. Choose the presets you want to install. Individual presets will be an XMP file, and a package or grouped presets will usually be in a compressed format, ZIP file.
  7. Click Import.

The presets are now loaded onto Lightroom CC. Wait a few minutes and they’ll automatically sync to your Lightroom Mobile app on your Android or iPhone

How to Install Presets in Lightroom Classic

  1. Open Lightroom Classic.
  2. Go to the Develop Module.
  3. Go to the Presets tab in the left pane.
  4. Click on the + sign → Import Presets.
  5. Choose the presets you want to install. Individual presets will be an XMP file, and a package or grouped presets will usually be in a compressed format, ZIP file.
  6. Click Import

The new presets will be located in User Presets.

How to Add Presets to Lightroom Mobile or the New Lightroom CC

How to Create Presets Lightroom Classic

Creating Lightroom presets is easier than most beginners think.

The idea behind it is you save your favorite image adjustments.

Follow these steps to save your develop settings as a preset:

Go to the Presets tab in the left pane.

Click on the + sign → Create Preset.

Name your preset in the Preset Field.

Assign it to a group in the Group dropdown or create a new one.

Select the settings you want to save. It’s recommended to click on Check None first.

Click Create.

Your new preset will now be located in the Preset tab in the assigned Group.

Tips on Creating Lightroom Presets

There are many settings that you shouldn’t save as part of preset.

For example, the crop tool: you won’t know the aspect ratio of the original or final image.

Likewise, you won’t know the Exposure of the original image.

The Detail tab. The sharpness and noise of an image is anybody’s guess.

These are just some guidelines on how to make the best presets, especially if you’re going to share them with other people. It’s best that the end-user of the presets makes the final adjustments, especially when it comes to the Basic panel and the Exposure settings: Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, and Blacks.

Of course, all rules in photography get broken. There’s nothing wrong with experimenting different combinations for the type of preset you want to make. And if it works, that’s great. If it doesn’t, no harm in trying.

Easily Create Instagram Stories

Canva

You’ll be able to create Instagram Stories on the go with Canva’s free mobile app.

Canva is a drag-and-drop graphic design online and mobile app that allows businesses, bloggers, and influencers without graphic design experience to swiftly make digital assets. This includes Instagram presets for posts and stories.

The application includes stock images, fonts, icons & shapes, and photo filters to create engaging content.

The best part of Canva is that it comes with a free basic membership which is adequate for most people.

Canva Instagram Stories screenshot

Snappa

Snappa is an online website that allows photographers, bloggers, and influencers to quickly create high-quality graphic designs.

And of course, they come with the ability to make social media graphics including Instagram Stories.

The great thing about Snappa is that their free plan includes 3 downloads per month. Which is more than enough for many people.

See my Snappa review for more details.

Snappa social media posts screenshot

Premium Lightroom Presets

If you’re looking for more presets, then you can also get them at Creative Market, Envato, or Etsy.

Creative Market

Photographers and designers at Creative Market offer premium Lightroom presets at prices for as low as $5.

The platform has hundreds of preset packages to choose from. I recommend joining their email list because they send out weekly free products.

Other products Creative Market offers are Instagram Story templates, influencer and social media branding kits, Pinterest templates, and so much more.

If you’re looking to sell your own digital products, then read my Creative Market review.

creative market lightroom presets

Envato

Like Creative Market, this digital marketplace offers premium Lightroom presets.

The main difference with Envato is that they use a subscription payment plan in order for customers to get their hands on products. The plan costs $16.50/month and has unlimited downloads. They also offer free downloads.

With Envato, you can also find WordPress themes to build a website, music tracks, Photoshop templates, etc.

Envato Lightroom presets

Etsy

Etsy was originally a marketplace for arts & crafts for small businesses. The products sold on Etsy were tangible goods that were mailed.

Now fast forward and Etsy offers digital products with instant downloads. As you can predict, they also offer Lightroom presets for as low as $4. Not bad.

Etsy Lightroom presets

Conclusion

Lightroom presets are a great way to optimize the photography workflow, especially if you’re on an Android or iPhone.

It’s best to start off with free Lightroom presets so that you can save some money. And I hope you enjoy my presets.

Buying premium Lightroom presets should only be done if the free ones aren’t satisfactory or want a larger preset collection. Purchasing presets helps support designers, photographers, and other creators who dedicated their time, so you should take this into consideration.

If you enjoy my presets or have any suggestions, let me know in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Lightroom Presets Worth It?

Yes, Lightroom presets are worth it considering they can save time in your image editing workflow. But not all presets are created equally and some are poor quality. Often, you’ll also have to make final touches to your image after applying the preset.

How to Use Lightroom Presets

The best way to is to apply the preset first to your image, then adjust the develop settings according to your preference.

Where to Buy Lightroom Presets?

There are many online websites that sell presets, a few large companies that sell them are Creative Market, Envato, and Etsy.

How to Get Lightroom Presets on Mobile App

The easiest and fastest way to get custom presets on your Lightroom Android or iOS app is to install them first on the desktop version of Lightroom CC. The presets will automatically sync to your Lightroom Mobile app.