Mike Rodriguez polled his students to see what they would like to see in Scott and RC’s upcoming podcasts and I decided to steal one of his ideas… sort of. This is one of those tips that if you have never heard of it may make you curse because of how it can save you a lot of time from doing the same steps over and over again.

Lightroom ideas

Screen grab of Mark’s comment to Scott about what to cover of Lightroom Podcast

As I was working on this blog post Arnaldo from video who is a good shooter and really working on taking his photography to the next level came in to my office to bug me… er… I mean talk about business and important KelbyOne matters in case Scott is reading this.

He was looking at my screenshots and I asked him if he applied a preset to his images when importing. He said, and I quote… “Wait a minute! You can do that!” I then showed him how and and he said… “golly!  I am going to set up an import preset right now!”  By the way he didn’t really use the word golly. So I figured some of you might like this one too. If you know this one… go tell a friend they will love you for it.

Work smarter with Presets!

Create a preset that you can apply to your images as a base edit to help you do less work per image. Easiest way to do this is to open an average image that is not too bright or dark and open it in the Develop module. Now make all the adjustments that you would normally make such as Sharpening, Clarity, Vignette and my favorite Auto Tone. Don’t do any specific tweaking with things like the Adjustment Brush or Gradient tool… just get a nice base edit. Once you have the settings you want, go over to the Presets panel on the left and click on the Plus sign in the corner.

That is all it takes to make a Preset… just move some sliders and then click the plus sign to record all of those adjustments in one place. You will be prompted to name your new preset. I like to name this one with the word Import in it to help remind me of what I am using it for, but you can name it anything you want. Make sure to leave checked any of the settings that you want applied. Notice  in the image below, since I wanted to add Auto Tone that the Basic Tone settings are grayed out. We tend to not use anything Auto because we think it is going not be good, but most of the time the toning is pretty darn good and I only have to tweak the exposure a bit… but the main reason why I use it is because it ses the perfect White and Black points for me so I don’t have to do the Shift Double click trick. (Ask Scott about that if you don’t know it. :D) Once you are satisfied click Create. Congrats! You have created your first preset! It will now appear under Presets in the User Presets menu.

Import     import sauce name

Take it one step further… with Import Sauce!

When you import your images into Lightroom, there are probably several repetitive step that you do to most of your photos. As Scott mentioned a few posts back, he almost always adds a vignette of -11. I almost always add a touch of Clarity and Sharpening along with the Auto Tone button to set my White and Black points and hopefully get me closer to a baseline exposure. I found myself going into every shot and doing pretty much the same thing aside from slight variations in toning. That is why you want to have Lightroom apply your base Import sauce preset to every photo on Import so that you don’t have to touch those sliders unless you want to change the look.

This does two things… it saves you time in not having to tweak as many sliders as you used to, but it also makes you feel better about your images upon first looking at them. Especially if you shoot in RAW. Seeing your crisp images pop up on the screen and then they suddenly turn blah right before your eyes is an experience all RAW shooters have in Lightroom. You think “Hey! that looks pretty good!” and two seconds later… “hey, that looks like crap.” This happens because until the RAW preview is built, the Jpeg preview is shown in its place with its sharpening and secret sauces applied then the untouched flat RAW image takes over. So why not add your base sauce on import so that it looks more like the Jpeg to keep the good feelings going.

When you get to the Import dialogue box, look over on the right-hand side and toggle down the “Apply During Import” menu.

import settings large

Now is a good time to add copyright info which if nothing else should have your website or a way for folks to find you incase they come across your image and want to use it or buy it. HT to RC for that tip!

import sauce

Simply choose your preset that you created from the User’s presets  for the Develop Settings and now it will run that preset over every image.

Now when you import any new images the Import Sauce is applied. This means that hopefully you won’t have to do much in the Basic panel but slight tweaks. On a side note: you can also see it showing you on the Preset Menu on the left the little plus sign next to Import sauce which tells you which preset is tagged for import. If you want to use a different one, simply right click on that preset and choose “Apply on Import” from the menu and it will now have the plus sign.

import develop

The goal at the end of the day is to spend less time tweaking the same basic adjustments and spend more time on the creative parts of developing. Let Lightroom do the repetitive work and those few seconds saved on each image will really start to pay off in your workflow.