Happy Friday folks. It’s one of those Friday’s where I was in the mood to make a video tip instead of writing one so here goes. The tip is on making Develop presets. Presets are probably one of the most popular aspects of my blog site here and I see lots of people ask questions as to how to make presets. Sure, the process of making them is simple – just click the little + icon in the Develop module under the Preset panel and you’ve got a preset. But what about the settings behind the preset? Do you include Exposure and tone-based settings in the preset? What about White Balance settings? I’ll go over my thought process in this video but I’d love to hear what you guys think as well. How useful are they to you? Do you download them and never use them or do you use them every day? Let us know in the comment area. Well, that wraps up another week. Have a great weekend!

Click here to watch the video. (13MB)



  1. Ross 6 April, 2009 at 08:24 Reply

    I just shot RAW + JPG … for the first time … and am importing both into LRv2.3 Vista 64 … wondering if there is a way to apply a Develop Preset to “only” the DNG/RAW files , and “not” the JPGs?

  2. Doug Crist 30 August, 2008 at 00:25 Reply

    Firstly, please forgive me if this is not posted in the right place.

    I’ve downloaded LR 2.0 and am trying to learn it. I have loaded some raw NEF images and done some work on a couple. That’s the problem, I really don’t know how much work. I’ve deleted the history several times because it was getting long. I just want to reset the image back to the way it was at the beginning, essentially abandoning all changes. I’d rather not have to somehow remove them all from the catalog and load them all over again. This is much harder than dealing with JPGs in Elements!

    Thanks for any help,

  3. Scott 9 July, 2008 at 14:51 Reply

    Thanks I use your presets all the time. Just got back from Switzerland and used/modified your deep blue preset for some of the photos. Now seeing the video I need to go back and make sure I saved my modified preset correctly.

    Thanks keep up the good work!


  4. Ali M. 1 July, 2008 at 16:12 Reply

    Hi Matt,
    I had a question for you on RAW import and presets but couldn’t find a way to send a direct email. So I thought it was relevant enough to post here.

    When I was shooting in .jpg, I had set my camera to produce a bit more saturated colors than default. I didn’t like the more drab colors that was produced by default by my Nikon D70 (based on a few web recommendations, I did this in the Optimize Image menu by setting Saturation to + and Color Mode to IIIa)

    Now that I’m shooting in RAW, it seems to me that these settings are not imported with the pictures… As far as I can tell, only the WB setting can be set to “As-shot”… and I see the brightness, contrast, and sharpening settings are also set to some positive number… but that’s about it.

    I’m trying to minimize the amount of changes I make to the images after import and only modify the few images that I think need changes. Ideally, the majority of the images should be good as-shot.

    I did some web searches and saw others that had the same complaint as me. This behavior just doesn’t make sense to me, the information is there, LR just needs to apply it (some people were claiming that other software does this automatically).

    So if that is the case and LR is leaving the pics unchanged at import, perhaps this should be a feedback to Adobe to add this as an option. Otherwise, the only workaround seems to be to create a preset and apply it at import (though this will have the undesired affect of marking all your photos as changed with the little badge)


  5. David Hopkins 1 July, 2008 at 12:01 Reply

    Can anyone help I opened Lightroom this AM to find a pop up saying my catalog is not valid does any one have a sugestion of what I can do

    Thanks David

  6. Craig 1 July, 2008 at 02:22 Reply


    I love your presets, I scroll through them frequently and often myself using one of them. One question though- I just used your auto adjustment preset (everything else), and it seems that it is overexposing all my pictures. Is it supposed to be adjusting exposure? and to that extreme?

  7. amanda 30 June, 2008 at 21:41 Reply

    Thanks for all the presets Matt. I’ve downloaded most of them but the most useful of the bunch (for me) are the edge darkening, contrast, white balance, and split tone presets.

    I’d love to have more B&W presets. I still find myself relying on photoshop actions for those.

  8. chuck 30 June, 2008 at 15:07 Reply

    Thanks for answering a question I had on how to handle laptop/desktop changes.

    I hope you can in the future address how I can move all of my photos into a single folder with subfolders such that I don’t affect my current lightroom file mapping.

    These folders have been created over years of using previous Photoshop products that did not have asset management capabilities.

    I would like to put all my photos into a single folder that is accessed by Lightroom in a single catalog but some folders are already in Lightroom and I’m afraid to make any changes to the file structure that would screw up what I’ve already cataloged.

    As a corollary question, are there issues regarding db capacity or response time that I should avoid if I make the catalog too big?

    Thanks for the Killer Tips, they are most helpful.

  9. Joe 30 June, 2008 at 13:47 Reply


    I use your presets frequently and enjoy the tips. My favorites have to be the 300 looks.

    One question, Can you rename presets?



  10. Errol Sasse 30 June, 2008 at 11:28 Reply

    Hey Matt, I am here in the countryside of south brasilian and I enjoi very much your tips and videos. Thats the way i`m learning. I work with photografhy as fine art and advertasing in the 70th and them during a long time I abandon it because of a family bussiness. Now, 30 year latter I`m photografhying again, because that’s the job of my life, its what i really like to do, you know. I discover Lightroom and your Lightrrom Killer Tips three months ago and with your aid my pictures came to look the way I like and want. Thank you very much.

  11. Mike Lao 29 June, 2008 at 20:42 Reply

    hey matt, thanks for the video! i always look forward to downloading the presets you create.

    btw, i dont see the video on itunes. do you know why?

    mike lao

  12. Tim 27 June, 2008 at 23:29 Reply

    hi matt,

    * what is the best way to go about working with adjustments in lightroom and switching over to photoshop for some tweaks, sharping, etc…
    – i have always started off importing my photos into lightroom – doing a bunch of adjustment to the image – than i edit some more in photoshop and save the file. that new file is now in lightroom with the photoshop edits, but all the original LR adjustments are embedded and no longer editable to the original.
    * i take a portrait – import into lightroom – adjust settings in lightroom (to a BW image say) – edit to photoshop with lightroom adjustments applied – fix some blemishes in PS and add some sharpening – save the file. now when i go back into LR the file is updated, but i have no way of changing it back to color for instance – what is the best way to constantly switch between the two programs without losing my LR adjustment history???
    is it just a case of doing all my photoshop work to the original file before adding any LR adjustments???

    your presets are great, i download and use them on a regular basis. almost every photo i import into lightroom has your auto adjustment preset applied to start it off.

  13. C. Diane 27 June, 2008 at 20:42 Reply

    Hey Matt,
    I enjoying watching the video. I can pick them up by watching what you just show us how to set up our own preset. It very easy but other thing that I have offering you to set up the subtitle for the hard of hearing who might have hard time trying to understand what you say. Hope you dont forget that suggest that I wrote back then.
    I do enjoy this very much and keep up the good work. Winks!! Have a good weekend. Will look forward to your next blog. Just dont forget the suggestion that I want you to do for me as well.


  14. Kathleen 27 June, 2008 at 16:05 Reply

    Your presents are a great starting point for my pics. Usually the auto color one, vignetting, and sharpening are looked at and/or used with most of my pictures. But the best part is that they have revealed to me the range of diversity that LR possesses. So in that sense, the presets have been a very good teaching tool and now I have more confidence in my own presets by messing around with yours. Thanks for your blog. Both yours and Scott’s blogs are on my “daily go to” list.


  15. Klaudia Frizzell 27 June, 2008 at 15:21 Reply

    Thanks for all you do on presets. I am religious about saving any you offer. I use them as a starting point. They help me decide on the tone or mood I want to associate with a picture. I also just want to give some kudos on lightroom in general. I am a very happy user and am waiting for 2.0 to be released. Thanks again!

  16. Can Atabas 27 June, 2008 at 14:26 Reply

    Thanks Matt for all these useful staff 😉 I’m using your presets almost everyday. I try first which preset looks good on my photos and then adjust almost everytime one or more settings.. Sometimes i use two or more of your presets on a simple photo..

    Here are some examples: http://demasu.deviantart.com/gallery/

    Thanks again for all your great presets.. I will be waiting for more 😉

  17. Martin 27 June, 2008 at 14:25 Reply

    This is an important video from Matt, if only to highlight what some other presets fail to do i.e. they should leave your basic settings alone. Its always worth checking out what someone else’s preset actually does to the settings – partly to learn about the effect of settings, but mainly to check that its not altering basic stuff like white balance and exposure etc. Fortunately Matt’s presets are pretty reliable!

  18. GreggL 27 June, 2008 at 11:36 Reply

    Yes, Matt. I use them all the time! Love them and it’s the primary reason I don’t use the less expensive Aperture. The resources (including what you’ve made available!) for Lightroom simply out-weigh the benefits of going with Aperture.

    Thanks for all you do, and keep up this excellent BLOG.

  19. Dave Latour 27 June, 2008 at 08:07 Reply

    Maybe I am doing something wrong, but I downloaded the Summer Haze preset from the blog a couple of days ago but for some reason it will not stay in my presets folder in Lightroom. I also have the same trouble with other downloadable presets. Can anyone tell me what I am doing wrong?

  20. Alistair Finlayson 27 June, 2008 at 03:38 Reply

    Keep up the good work Matt your presets rock and I use them all the time back hear in bonnie scotland. Would like to know more on exporting files I can’t seem to get a high res jpeg from the what was a raw file to start with .

    all the best Alistair..

    P.S say hello to Scott& Dave
    there stuff floats my boat to.

  21. Dilip Barman 27 June, 2008 at 02:43 Reply

    Thanks, Matt, for discussing the making of presets. One thing that I wish for (a Lightroom requirement?!) is some sort of comment field that is visible to the user. The creator of the preset could document his/her intent and suggestions on how to use the preset that way.

  22. Kay 27 June, 2008 at 02:41 Reply

    Very useful. I especially use your (1st) auto adjustment settings almost every day, the dark edges and sharpening presets as well. I toy around with lots of others on a regular basis as well. Basically I use them a lot and always look forward to you posting them.

  23. Seim Effects 27 June, 2008 at 01:56 Reply

    Neat video Matt. I think it’s great of you to put out presets. I make preset collections that we sell over at Seim Effects, but I’m all for free goodies and we have those on the site as well.

    We also have directory page dedicated to free presets on Pro Photo Show, the Seim Effects Sister site. You can bet your presets are on the directory.

    I use your presets as a way to learn new techniques and get ideas in refining my own presets and effects workflow.

    Keep up the good stuff… Gavin

  24. chad 27 June, 2008 at 00:57 Reply

    Thanks Matt. One question. Has anyone developed any presets to mirror the in camera adjustments of the d300. for example, setting to vivid rather than normal. Seems like it should be doable, but have searched everywhere and can’t seem to find. I know you’ve shot with the d300 and are the lightroom master, so figured i’d ask. Thanks

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