When you download Lightroom Presets, you may not know how to use them or where to put them. Of course, the more you download, the more cluttered your presets area will be. Over time, you will likely want to come up with ways to organize them to ensure that you can use them easily.
Don’t worry about trying to figure it out for yourself – we’ve put together this guide which will help you get it right the first time. Once you’ve read all about it, you can also watch a video tutorial prepared by Grace Pamela that will show you the techniques in action, and read more about the basics of Lightroom here.
Do you need presets to get you started? Check out Summerana’s Dark and Moody Presets!
Opening Up Lightroom
Let’s start by getting you to the right place to find your presets. First of all, open up Lightroom and let it load. When it’s ready, head to the ‘Develop’ tab – this is located along the top bar menu on the right-hand side if you’re having trouble finding it.
The develop tab is where a lot of the magic happens in terms of getting your images ready for your clients. It’s a very useful place to know your way around, so spend as much time as you can on learning how to use it!
Next, take a look at the left-hand side of the screen. You will see a small version of your image which is the navigation panel, helping you to keep track of where you are when you are moving around a zoomed-in image. Just below this is your presets panel.
Here you will find all of the presets that you have brought into Lightroom. There are likely to be some in there already which come packaged with Lightroom, so even if you haven’t set up your presets that you have downloaded yet, you will still see something there.
Checking Your Presets
Here you can start to explore your presets and see how they are organized by Lightroom automatically. Each preset will have its own folder in the system, which is denoted by an arrow pointing towards the name of the preset folder. When you click on this arrow, it opens up the whole folder and you can see all of the stages of the preset folder.
If all you can see is the list of your presets from one folder and you want to get rid of it so that you can see the other presets more easily, just click the arrow again. Now it will close up the folder so that you have returned to seeing the names of the preset folders only.
When you have familiarized yourself with your presets, you might want to rearrange some of them. We’ll do that in the next step.
Rearranging Your Presets
Moving your presets around is probably not done in the way that you expect. First of all, navigate to one of your presets – note that you don’t want to choose a folder, but the preset itself. Right click, and you will bring up a list of options. Go to ‘Show in Explore’ or ‘Show in Finder’ – the options will differ depending on whether you are using a Mac or a PC.
The folder that opens up now is the folder where all of your presets are stored. You can go up a level to ‘Develop Presets’, which contains all of your preset folders in the same way that they are organized in your Lightroom panel.
You can use this view to create new folders to move your presets to, allowing you to create new collections that make more sense for your workflow.
You can also change the order of your presets within their folders, making them show up in a different way when you view them on Lightroom. Right click on an empty space in your folder and you will find a list of options which includes ‘Sort By’. Hover your mouse over this option and it will open up a list of the sorting methods. You can sort your presets by their name, the date they were last modified, their type, and their size, and change it to ascending or descending.
An easy way to set things up the way that you want them is to use sort by name, then simply rename your presets with the letters of the alphabet at the start of their existing names. In other words, the “Flare – Golden Hour” Lightroom preset from the Summerana Color Me Fall Preset Collection could be renamed as “AFlare – Golden Hour” if you want it to show up at the top of the list.
You don’t have to move presets out of their original folders to put them into a new collection: you can also copy and paste to create a duplicate preset. This is really useful for creating a specific workflow or putting your favorite presets together, without losing their place in the collections that they came from.
You can delete your presets and folders too – so make sure that you back them up before making any changes.
Once you are satisfied, close Lightroom and open it up again. Your presets and folders will be in their new places.
Be aware that there is one thing you can’t do in Lightroom when organizing your presets. You can’t create a new folder inside an existing folder.
This might be a little annoying, for example if you were hoping to set up a lot of different collections and then put them under groupings to keep your preset panel tidy. Unfortunately, it just can’t be done.
The one thing that you can do is be clever about what you name your folders so that they show up in the right order and still make sense for how you want them to flow. You can even make empty folders, or put in just one preset as a placeholder, to break up your folders list so you know which section you are looking at.
Now that you’ve read our guide on organizing your Lightroom Presets, be sure to check out Grace Pamela’s video so you can learn even more!