Video: Upgrading Lightroom 3 Presets to Lightroom 4

I’ve heard a lot of talk about what happens to presets that were created in Lightroom 3 (or LR2) and now used in Lightroom 4. I know a lot of people have presets that they absolutely loved in Lightroom 3 and they simply don’t seem to look the same in Lightroom 4. That’s because of the differences in sliders in the Basic panel. Sliders that were in Lightroom 3 simply don’t exist in Lightroom 4. So Lightroom does it’s best to “guess” what the should look like but you’ll see it’s not always right on the money. So today’s video goes over a few options you have if you had a preset in Lightroom 3 that you want to use in Lightroom 4. As always, leave your thoughts below. I’d be interested to hear if you’re having any “they don’t look the same” issues with your older presets and if you find yourself converting them over to Lightroom 4, or just tweaking the preset each time you apply it. Thanks!

Author: Matt K

Matt is a full time Education Director for the NAPP and Kelby Training. He's a best-selling author of various books on Photoshop and Photography co-hosts the live weekly photography talk show "The Grid" and is co-host of "Photoshop User TV". In his spare time he practices as a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys spending time with his family in Tampa, FL.

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30 Comments

  1. Very nice. Thanks for the info.

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  2. Well done Matt; helps a lot

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  3. in a nutshell (or “post-production 101″):
    - if you’re happy with the result, you’re done
    - if you’re not happy with the result, tweak the sliders until you’re happy

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  4. Thanks Matt, Great timing on me reading this as I just realized a preset that I liked in LR3 did not work and I was trying to figure out why.

    Great information as always !!!

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  5. Similar topic on camera profiles – I have several built up from previous releases, how do we tell which is the latest and greatest – I have Nikon D70 and D700… Thanks.

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  6. Until I get the time to tweak all my presets in LR4 I took an image switched to PV2010 and applied my LR3 presets and saved them as a new preset. Now I just click on the preset and it changes to PV2010 and applies the preset. I like the LR4 basic adjustments but so far I havent had any problem tweaking the presets with PV 2010.

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  7. I have the Killer Preset disk for LR3. Can I install it into LR4?

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  8. Hey Matt, any way we can get your videos on iPad??

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  9. Wow! Great tip. I’m a big fan of the presets so this comes in at a very timely moment.

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  10. Creating a virtual copy,
    changing one of them to 2010,
    applying the preset to both
    and
    flipping back and forth while adjusting – works pretty well.

    /ML

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  11. I haven’t upgraded to Lightroom 4 yet, but this is the kind of stuff I am always anxious about when new versions get released. I think I might wait until my wedding season cools down before getting LR4. Thanks for the info though. I’ll be sure to refer back if I have any troubles.

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  12. You mentioned changes in tone curve between 3 and 4. I note the default for 4 is linear whereas it was medium contrast earlier. I have heard that the 4 linear default produces results similar to the 3 medium contrast default. Is this true? What are the differences in the tone curves you mentioned?

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  13. Are you going to come out with new versions of the presets you did for LR3? I loved your wedding fairytale but it’s just not the same in LR4 :(

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  14. I’ve heard a lot of talk about what happens to presets that were created in Lightroom 3 (or LR2) and now used in Lightroom 4. I know a lot of people have presets that they absolutely loved in Lightroom 3 and they simply don’t seem to look the same in Lightroom 4. That’s because of the differences in sliders in the Basic panel. Sliders that were in Lightroom 3 simply don’t exist in Lightroom 4. So Lightroom does it’s best to “guess” what the should look like but you’ll see it’s not always right on the money. So today’s video goes over a few options you have if you had a preset in Lightroom 3 that you want to use in Lightroom 4. As always, leave your thoughts below. I’d be interested to hear if you’re having any “they don’t look the same” issues with your older presets and if you find yourself converting them over to Lightroom 4, or just tweaking the preset each time you apply it. Thanks!

    Post a Reply
  15. Hey Matt,

    Great subject to discuss! I’m not one for over the top HDR. I have RC’s book and have used it a lot on my bracketed photos. However, since LR 4 and ACR came out with the new sliders, I’ve start doing a lot of single photo HDR! I think that HDR is an effect that enhances shadows and highlights. If you can reach that effect without bracketing, that’s fine. I also think that not every photo is a candidate for HDR.

    I have a question for you. Hope you’ll be able to answer it. I have a problem with my LR 4 (also had the same problem with LR 3). The problem happens on PC and iMac. When I use “edit in” (doesn’t matter what plugin, Nik, Topaz, noise ninja) after I exit the plugin every time I move a develop slider, the program pauses and reloads the photo. This really slows down my workflow having to wait for the re-rendering of the photo. If I close LR4 and re-open, it works fine until I use “edit in” again. This doesn’t happen if I go into PS and then back again. It only happens with the plugins. Does this happen to you? I’ve left support messages to Adobe and they tell me it’s a plugin problem. I don’t buy that, because all the plugins do the same thing. Any idea what I might do?

    Thanks for your insight and help!

    Dennis

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    • Hey Matt,

      Sorry about this comment. I put ii in the wrong post. I did leave the post in your latest blog. Sorry I double posted!

      Dennis

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  16. Glad you posted this. I’ve often wondered why people tag or mention “No HDR used here” as well. Nothing really to prove. If its a great image (like that one was), it stands on its own. Beautiful work…..done. I really cant see anyone looking at it and saying….”Well, I don’t know…its kinda like..Oh wait, what does it say here. NO HDR….aaaahhh, I like it now!)

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  17. Hi. I noticed that some presets based on grad filters don’t work at all anymore. Even though they use the exposure slider. Any idea why? or best way to update?

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  18. I have more or less the same experience. Since using LR4 people sometimes consider a picture of mine as “nice HDR”; I never liked HDR because in many cases the result was obvious unnatural. But with LR4 (and Viveza2) you can get better results than in the old days of HDR.

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  19. Very thought provoking commentary, Matt…thank you!

    For me, I really tire of this endless debate between pro-HDR types and the naysayers. I think HDR style photography (whatever that is exactly) got off to a bad start years ago because EVERYONE processed to this hyper-real imagery that in some cases was really good and in other cases…well…not so good. I’ve seen some beautiful work by, for example, Trey Ratcliff and Brian Matiash both of whom lean more toward that hyper-realistic style. I’ve also seen beautiful work by many photographers who use HDR techniques to extend the impression of dynamic range generating a very natural and realistic looking image. Some of your own photographs come to mind.

    Bottom line, though…Who cares? If a photograph sings to its audience, do any of us really care how it was made? Can we simply just enjoy it in all its glory? I really don’t understand why we feel the need to label and/or quantify our work. As you said, does it help at all that this photographer stuck a “No HDR” label on his photograph? It’s a very nice image beautifully done; I really don’t care if it has the look of HDR or if he did all his post-processing in a bikini! :)

    I guess to answer your primary question I would prefer that if we have to apply labels to photographic techniques such as this I would prefer “HDR effect.” You’ll drag me kicking and screaming to use that label on my own HDR images so, no thanks, I’ll bow out and present my images without rhetoric.

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  20. Hi Matt and thank you for all your wonderful Lightroom tips including this one.

    I have a question regarding your own presetes, are they available in one place to download or do I need to scroll through all you posts to find them? (And yes, I’m a regular follower but my computer recently crashed and I need to find them again).

    The other tip, I would really like to see a review in some way on other available presets to purchase/or are free for LR 4. Yours are great of course ;-) but there might be need for other looks as well. Yeah yeah, just a idea!

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  21. Hi,

    For your question on the No-HDR photo I think it really doesn’t matter how you call it.
    Anyone knows by looking at it is that it’s fixed, no camera can make that shot as it is shown. So to me it’s an effect and yes I call it an HDR effect so people know that what I’m about to show will have adjustments on light and dark.
    Nothing wrong in that and calling it HDR wether or not out of a single shot or more than one it already says it all.
    15 years ago “Google” was unknown, now if you say lets google it you don’t have to explain yourself, same goes for HDR (effect) soon.

    Love your work and the way you do it.

    All the best from Holland.

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  22. this was a great help, i can upgrade to LR4 without fear of losing my presets.

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  23. Thanks, Matt!
    The upgrade has been sitting on my desk, watching me use LR3 because I was mostly worried about losing my presets. I feel like my composition and my presets combine to reflect my style. I have resisted installing the upgrade b/c I didn’t want to lose a few of the presets I use daily.
    Very clear, very helpful and you got me off the fence!
    Thanks,
    Joe

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  24. This is so welcome. I had tried to duplicate the lightroom 3 presets that I loved and did more or less do that but my efforts weren’t as good. This is like a ginormous holiday present ahead of time.

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  25. I am having this issue with the creative b&w 4 from lightroom 3. I loved this preset. I used it all the time. Non of the new lightroom 4 b&w presets produce the same effect. I copied everything over from my lightroom 3 preset but I have to use it with the 2010 calibration. I tried to do the before after to get the updated version but there was a yellowish hue that I could not get rid of. I guess I will have to play some more!

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  26. I was so disappointed to see the video is no longer available, however, I read through the comments and found a very simple solution to my problem of not being able to use your vintage NY presets since upgrading from LR2 to LR4–I simply changed the color process from 2012 to 2003 and voila! All the presets I loved in LR2 (mostly your NY) are working.

    Thank you for your generosity in sharing these presets and tutorials. :)

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