Presets – More Retouching Presets

Today I’ve got an update to some older retouching presets I created for the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom 2. On an interesting “retouching” side-note (and one that I promise I did not plan) Scott Kelby wrote a really fascinating article on the Kelly Clarkson retouching controversy. What I found most interesting is that it’s not about what you’d think (a retouching ethics article). They’ve been done to death. It’s about an entirely new angle on retouching that nobody ever speaks about, but is an absolute reality. Definitely worth a read.

OK back to the presets. This update happens a lot for two reasons: 1) I add new presets and, 2) As I use my presets for a while I find that I need to change their settings. These presets focus on some of the basic retouching effects you can achieve with the Adjustment Brush. Now, before you download them, keep one thing in mind. These aren’t for high-end fashion retouching. Photoshop is still the best place for that. They’re geared for some quick enhancements that you can do right in Lightroom when you just don’t have the time to move the photos into Photoshop. In this set, I’ve included:

1) Brightening/Whitening Teeth
2) Whiten Eyes
3) Red Lips
4) Iris Enhance
5) Skin Softening (Low)
6) Skin Softening (High)

Just like the last set of retouching brushes, I tried to stay pretty conservative on the settings but one of the challenges I came across was the settings worked differently on different photos. But I do think they’re a good starting place. Plus, you can always quickly adjust the sliders after you apply them.

Anyway, these are a little different to install from the regular Develop presets so here’s the instructions.

1) Navigate to your Lightroom presets folder. The easiest way to do this is to go to Lightroom’s preferences by clicking the Lightroom menu and choosing Preferences (PC: Edit > Preferences). Then choose the Presets tab and click the “Show Lightroom Presets Folder” button to open the Lightroom Folder.

2) Now go into the Lightroom Folder. Then go into the Local Adjustment Presets folder. You’ll know you’re in the right folder because you should see the file “Soften Skin.lrtemplate” there too.

NOTE: A number of Mac readers commented that their presets were not stored here. Here is the location that a few readers gave, though mine are not located here: Pictures/Lightroom Settings/Local Adjustment Presets

3) UNZIP the file you downloaded from the bottom of this post. I repeat UNZIP the file you downloaded. Do not try to install the ZIP file :)

4) Copy and paste the “.lrtemplate” files into the Local Adjustment Presets folder.

5) Restart Lightroom


• Click here to download Matt’s Retouching Brushes.


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  1. Matt, I’ve tried to load the presets into lightroom with no success. They do not show up in the brush module nor the presets bar.
    I have Lightroom CC 2015

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  2. Matt,
    Do you have any suggestions for fixing the white reflection in eyes from contact lenses? I took some shots this weekend, and instead of red eyes, I have white eyes.

    Thanks for all the tips you post, they are great!

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  3. Matt you are the best thing that happened to Lightroom. Thanks a tonn buddy and a Happy New year 2011 to you and your loved ones.

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  4. I’ve never used LR2… I see that LR3 has these type of adjustments in the brush section already… would I need to download these presets or are they all ready to go for LR3?

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  5. Does the download link no more work?

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  6. Fantastic stuff Matt – very many thanks for these; they will save me hours…

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  7. Instalation went flawless into my PC. Thaks

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  8. Thank you!!! Worked GREAT…no problem on my Mac!

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  9. Guys, I downoaded the presets but still don’t understand how they work – after I chose one and start applying the brush nothing happens. Maybe I’m doing smth wrong – I only used standard brushed before, not presets

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  10. Love your presets and have used these on ver 2 of lightroom. I loaded them in the beta 3 and only had to uncheck the option to save with catalogue and now working thanks.

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  11. Hi, Matt, I love your info and your style of presentation! I have a few questions, though, please?
    1- When I use these brushes, the lips and eyes and teeth work great, but the skin ones seem to leave a grey shadow/tinge.
    2- Where are those previous brushes you made, please? I looked online but couldn’t find them.
    3- Also, do you have any print layout templates we can download? I’m having to use Photoshop and Lightroom to make pages for an 8-1/2″ x 11″ book (Mpix) , largely because I want black pages with a white stroke around my photos (harder than you might think!)
    I thank you for any help you can give.

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  12. Thanks lyle you answered my question.

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  13. Do these work with Lightroom 3 Beta? I can seem to get them to show up and tried all the suggestions above.

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  14. Here is a before and after of what I did with these brushes.

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  15. This is a perfect presets, very good!

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  16. I noticed the missing User Adjustment Brush presets when I first upgraded to 2.4 and it is still missing in 2.5 except for the Soften Skin that came bundled with LR.

    Like comment 26 above from Jan Schwarz, I am also a Windows (Vista) user but I am still unable to see both the Develope User and the Adjustment Brush User Presets without checking and unchecking the “Store Presets with Catalog” box as recommended by her post.

    My Lightroom2 Catalog.lrcat file is located at Lightroom directory and I have copied all the Adjustment Brush User presets into that location but it is not working for me. I have also followed her advise to copy to LightroomLightroom Settings folder eventhough my Lightroom2 Catalog.lrcat file located one directory level higher and it still does not solve it for me.

    Can someone who has successfuly implemented the above kindly point me to the right location on where to copy the files to?

    thank you.

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  17. I lost my skin softner adjustment in my presets when I added these. Adobe said there is no way to get it back without reinstalling…anyone know how…thanks, Erin

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  18. for mac is/Users/nicolas/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom/Local Adjustment Presets

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  19. Wow! Great presets!

    Thank you very much!

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  20. Great presets!!

    Matt is there a easy way to copy all of the lightroom presets i have on my main computer (including folders) to my macbook? or do i have to copy and import them all individually?

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  21. Thanks Matt for the presets, they’ve been working great. On this same note is there a way remove the shine on a persons face? Is there an adjustment brush preset I can use?

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  22. I was having the same problem not seeing the presets. When I unchecked “Store Presets With Catalog” they appeared, BUT I lost all of my own user presets.

    When “Store Presets With Catalog” is checked Lightroom stores your user presets in a folder called “Lightroom Settings” in the same folder where your Lightroom catalog is kept. If you don’t have “Store Presets With Catalog” checked then it stores the settings in Application DataAdobeLightroom

    I think that Lightroom should point you to the correct folder when you click the “Show Lightroom Presets Folder” button depending on your setting of “Store Presets With Catalog”, but it dosn’t. It always opens the Application Data folder.

    If you put the presets in the Lightroom Settings folder where your catalog is stored, then they’ll show up even when “Store Presets With Catalog” is checked, and you’ll keep all your other user settings.

    (These are all Windows examples)

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  23. For those folks still not able to see these presets when they are in the Develop Module, have chosen the Adjustment Brush, and have clicked the drop-down menu beside “Effect”…

    I was not seeing the new presets either UNTIL I went into Lightroom’s Preferences, to the Presets tab, and UNCHECKED “Store Presets With Catalog”. As soon as I unchecked this, the new presets appeared in the Effects drop-down menu.

    Hope that helps!!

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    • Half an hour and multiple restarts of LR could have been saved/avoided had this tip been in the instructions. I’m not saying I’m not grateful for the chance to experiment with the presets. Thanks Matt, John, and everyone!

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  24. I don’t comment often but I would like to take the opportunity and thank you for those presets. :-)

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  25. Thanks Matt! A quick try-out shows they are full of win…

    Folks – don’t forget you can adjust them and then Save the “new” version if they aren’t quite right for you, just click on “Effect” then “Save Current Settings As New Preset”

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  26. Ok, I just installed the Keymote, iphone app and am totally excited about going through my photos lightning fast. The only problem is that I can’t seem to find a way to run develop presets from keyboard shortcuts. I’ve tried everthing from recording an Automator “watch me do” action to trying to use Quicksilver and QuicKeys to no avail. It has to be possible because RPG Keys can run specific develop presets from their special hardware. I’d rather not spend hundreds of bucks and I figured if someone our there either knows or can find the answer, it would be you. Thanks, and please don’t tell me I’m going to have to wait for LR 3.


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  27. Problem solved! I did a file search on ‘Local Adjustment Presets’ on my PC. I found it in a specific folder I used to save my mail Lightroom catalog. Copied the .lrtemplates in there… tadaa! Workes like a charm.
    Maybe you want to do a system search as well.. Good luck!


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  28. Those having trouble finding the installed presets,

    Have you selected the adjustment brush tool?
    Have you then clicked on the adjustment you would like to do
    example exposure?
    Once you click on exposure you should get a drop down for all the rest of available adjustments, the presets should appear in there.

    Make sure you followed the instructions in the original post of the brush presets.


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  29. The restore trick doesn’t work for me either. Where are the experts? Matt??

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  30. Kathie,
    Tried your solution and I still cannot see the presets when using the Adjustment Brush. Confirmed files in correct folder and restarted LR2 a number of times. Any suggestions?

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  31. I went in and click on one of the restore buttons and now I can “see” the presets. I love Adobe, really but I do think the software guys love to make this stuff obscure! Oh well I found a shining light and now I’m going to play. Thanks for making this available! Kathie

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  32. I cannot “see” the presets under Effects either. I’ve checked that they are in the correct folder. What am I missing? Shining a stronger light would be so appreciated!

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  33. Matt,
    After 4 or 5 epispodes of D-Town TV that covered lens to death (I mean that in a good way), please don’t pass on this question too fast, at the heart of it this is a LR question. I want to invest in more fast glass and I can’t decide between the 24-70 or the 70-200. Since I’ve been using the 18-200 quite alot, how can I sort my metadata in Lightroom to find where my sweet spot has been when I use that lens?

    Thanks, your the best – Charlie

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  34. Matt,

    You’re previous presets were great, but now the only preset that turns up in the list under effects is ‘soften skin’. I cannot see or import the other presets, allthough they’re all in the same folder.

    Can you shine a light?


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  35. Lyle, Thank you so much for taking the time to clarify that! I knew it was something simple I was overlooking. I greatly appreciate your time and kindness. Now it’s time to go play with those awesome presets!

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  36. Thanks for the presets Matt – nice as always!

    Scott’s blog post is a bit odd in my opinion. Since when is retouching, clothes and poses the same thing? Maybe one could discuss the need of makeup, but retouching is something completely different.

    I think there is a huge difference between retouching and clothes. Otherwise people should be naked for the sake of realism.

    No, Scott, I think you are way of target this time. Nobody’s perfect, not even Mr Kelby. Maybe the post needs a bit retouching? :-)

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  37. Thank you, Lyle! That resolved the issue. Without any of these effects previously, the only options under Effects were Exposure, etc. Not the most intuitive setup, but now resolved.

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  38. Folks – if you’re not seeing the presets, it’s because you’re probably looking in the wrong place.

    These are adjustment brush presets – click on the adjustment brush, then below and the left of it – you’ll find the word “Effect:” – to the right of it there is a pick list, the presets you’re looking for are probably there. I have not downloaded this set yet, but have “Soften Skin” on mine…

    Hope this helps clarify, for someone at least.

    Thanks Matt – nice stuff as usual.

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    • Thank you…. I found them thanks to your comment. I feel like duhhhhh…why didn’t I think of that… 😀

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    • Phew !! Thanks to Lyle for clearing that problem up in such a concise manner.
      I got it now!

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    • You are the best Lyle! Thanks for clearing this up so easily!

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  39. I am having trouble with this as well. You say they are brushes, so you see them when you use the adjustment brush–where do you see them? I think I am missing something simple and would greatly appreciate some guidance. Thanks!

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  40. Matt,

    Awesome brushes!! I tried the white teeth, iris and red lips ones. I guess they work like a charm. I had to actually tone down the red lips brush strength to 25% to avoid over-saturating. But, as you rightly said, they work slightly differently on different photos. Use, but with care!

    Rick, SteveP,

    These are Brushes. So you will see them when you use the Adjustment Brush. These are NOT develop presets like Creative, aged etc.

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  41. Thank You, Matt … LOVE your presets!! Question: When I installed the presets, the ‘iris enhance’, and ‘skin soften – low’ and ‘skin soften – high’ all show the 8/17/2009 date… BUT the ‘brighten/whiten teeth’, ‘brighten eyes’ and ‘red lips’ still show a 10/1/2008 date. Why is that? Is that correct?

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  42. Yup – same problem as Rick. They don’t show up in Lightroom presets list after restarting. This is with LR2. Matt – have you missed out a step in the instructions?

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  43. Nice timing with Scott’s post today :-)

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  44. Matt,
    Thanks for the tip. The only problem I have is that I (Mac) followed your instructions, found the folder with the skin softneing file, put the new ones there, restarted LR, but don’t see any of them, including skin soften. I assume I should see them in Develop Module, under Presets, where I have LR Presets (Creative – Aged Photo, etc, but no skin softening). So I tried the alternative location others used, found the folder, put another set of the new Presets in there, restarted, but still nothing. BTW, there was no skin softening preset already in that folder. I also clicked on the retouch brush on the right side panel, but didn’t see anything like presets in the submenus. Am I missing something? I have done nothing weird/”creative” with my LR setup.



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  45. I can’t wait to try these out. I have been playing around with different ways to retouch portraits, this seems like a simple way to do it right inside of Lightroom and I hope the results are great (I’m sure they will be).

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  46. Matt,

    I’ve use your previous set all the time. You really have done a nice job with these, and Adobe should include them with the standard product! Looking forward to using this updated set.

    Thank you.

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  47. Thanks for doing what you do!!! Can’t wait to get home and try these presets!

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    • Thank you for the presets.

      Post a Reply

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