Presets – Graduated Filters

I’m back in Tampa from Photo Plus in New York last week and I wanted to say a big thanks to everyone who came up to say hi during the show. It’s always great to get out and meet the people I see comments from here on the blog. OK, now for some presets. This week I’ve got some graduated filter presets. There are literally a ton of ways I can go with these presets so I’ve decided to get fairly specific and create presets for blue skies. When you download them, you’ll see they’re listed in -1, -2, and -3 stop increments (just makes more sense to me then 0.3, 0.6, and 0.9). However, if you’re the traditional filter kinda person, then by all means feel free to change the names once you import them (just right-click on the preset name to rename it). You’ll also see that I’ve included placement for 3 locations. Top Third, Bottom third, and Middle. The top and bottom probably make sense since we typically try to position a horizon at the top third or bottom third. However, after looking through some of my photos, I’ve realized that when there’s another subject in the photo the horizon will often need to shift toward the middle which is why I included that one. Oh, and there’s also separate presets for vertical and horizontal photos because Lightroom has issues with presets created for just one or the other. Finally, there’s a few other settings thrown in there to help enhance the sky as well as any clouds in the sky. Whew! That sounds like a lot for some simple presets doesn’t it? The good news is all you have to do is click on them to use the preset.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy them. I’ve got a few more ideas which I’m sure you’ll see in the coming weeks. Thanks and make sure you leave a comment and let us know what you think.

Click here to see a sample of the presets.
Click here to download Matt’s Graduated Filter Presets
Click here to see a video on how to install presets.


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  3. Hi Matt,
    I purchased the packet of graduated filter preset. I followed the video that shows going to preferences, presets and show in finder. I copied and pasted the presets into the local adjustment preset folder. They are there along with your brush presets (which have loaded fine) but they do not show up when I restart lightroom. I have tried renaming them and copying them in a second time but they still don’t show up. I am at a loss on what to try next. Do you have any suggestions on how to get them to work.
    thanks, tom

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  4. Just down loaded your gradient preset; I am having trouble installing in LR3 and/or CS5 and the video link for your installation video does not seem to be working. Any help would be appreciated.

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  5. Cannot get the camera filters, (nikon) to work on my lightroom 2. All help appreciated.

    Kudos to your sites.


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  6. For those of you who are Cokin Filter graduate filter fans…..

    Chromasoftware ( has a set of filters for Photoshop that duplicate Cokin filters down to the Coken filter #, and you can rotate the filter across 360 degrees just like you would do on a film camera


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  7. Thanks for these great presets. Now I can easily put color and vibrancy into photos of the overcast gray glare that is the so-called light of too many days here in the Pacific Northwest. Lightroom 2 is great but your presets (and Sean’s) add a lot to my use of and understanding of it. (Tweaking presets to see what happens how — great fun!)


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  8. Hey Matt,

    I just good back from Rome with some pictures with a washed out sky. Your presets just save the day and restored most of the detail. Such a minor correction has improved several of my pictures tremendously.

    Thanks a billion for providing these excellent presets for free on your blog.

    – Dennis

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  9. I hate ad, but I NEVER ask somebody to remove the ads from their websites.. That’s silly. Anyway, another nice preset, I collect all of your presets, Matt.. Kind of a stalker 🙂

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful presets for FREE..

    God Bless,


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  10. Hey, Matt,
    As always, you’ve hit another home run here with the grad presets. Thank you very much for sharing your work with your readers-watchers-jealous Lightroomers! You make this program fun and useful.
    God bless.

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  11. Great idea Matt to distribute them. And I have another reason to update to LR2. The examples look great. Thanks in advance. Jaap (Netherlands)

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  12. Matt,

    Any idea’s on how to connect a Canon 50D to a 64-bit Vista PC to shoot tethered? Seems like Canon and Nikon have not yet embraced the 64-bit operating system, which does not make sense. After all, the push for a larger mega pixel count, makes RAW files larger, which in turn encourages us to jam more RAM into our PC’s, and thus my switch to the 64-bit OS, which breaks the 4GB RAM barrier.

    Can you influential guys do anything about this? I mean Adobe sure saw the light, what’s with Canon & Nikon? Why are they so non committal about releasing 64-bit drivers for their pro cameras? You got pretty fired up about some HRD stuff the other week, well I think this is another worthy cause to get fired up about. What’s the point in getting all this 64-bit software for photographers, it you can’t plug your camera into your 64-bit machine to start off with? Sure, you can whip yer flash card out and shove it into a card reader, but I’m talking about tethered shooting (full camera control from your PC).

    Help please!!!

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  13. Great preset, thanks so much. Dickie and Sean mentioned vertical presets mismatch the image for some people. Dickie, how do you adjust the template to compensate?

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  14. Got that right Matt!
    And because of your addition of a middle preset, which I had considered adding long before this, my hand was forced, so I’ve an update coming with Middle on all the presets.. I’m not even going to count the number of presets in the set now!

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  15. Alex – I don’t list my email, but posting your questions here is the same thing. These comments go to a folder in my email inbox which I look through about once a day.

    Pen – Thanks. I can definitely understand selling presets though too. See, it’s pretty easy for me, as I just release the presets that I use myself and do it sporadically throughout the weeks. That’s why some weeks go by without any new presets. It just means I haven’t come up with any new ones for myself. Sean actually spent some serious amount of time creating a robust set of presets. Sure, I’ll release more that you can get piece by piece over the weeks but sometimes there’s merit to being able to spend a few bucks and buy one big set.

    Susan – Yep, they’re for LR2 only.

    Peter – The Acadia workshop was awesome. I’m going to try to post some photos tomorrow. Thanks!

    Ad Haters – Sorry. Gotta pay the bills.

    Matt K

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  16. thanks matt,

    most excellent, as usual…..

    how can i POSSIBLY be the man, when you…..etc. etc

    al x

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  17. @jd
    there’s both portrait modes, warming and cooling grads, and hard and soft varieties.

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  18. Matt,

    Thanks again for the great presets.

    How was the workshop in Maine ? Any chance we’ll get to see the HDR images that you were planning on shooting ? I noticed Photomatix has released their upgrade.

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  19. Hello,
    I have really enjoyed these presets and I have never had a problem, but the filters are not working for me. What could I be doing wrong? Does it only work with LR 2.0 or higher? Please help, I know I would love these as much as the others I have downloaded.


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  20. >Corel Painter X add at the top is driving me MADDDD!

    I gotta agree with Tony on this one – mind you, Corel Painter X is an anagram of ‘inexpert coral’, so if you say that quickly… 🙂

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  21. @Sean McCormack out of curiosity how do your grads differ if at all?

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  22. Hi Matt

    Check this blog every day – fantastic stuff here always. BUT (sorry to complain) that Corel Painter X add at the top is driving me MADDDD! Please loose it. I even find myself cutting the text out of this column into Notepad and reading it there – just to get away from it. Either that or I’ll have to turn Flash videos off – or heaven forbid – stop looking here. I’d be soooo grateful. Many thanks


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  23. I think it is rather interesting that you have an ad at the top of the page for nVidia indicating that Adobe and nVidia are now “partners”, since the only way that I could get LR2 to work was to replace a recent and expensive 512 MB nVidia video card with an equally expensive ATI card. Judging by the amount of comments on blog regarding nVidia and LR2, I was not the only one having problems with the combination.

    Thanks for the presets! Great, as always.

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  24. Matt:
    Thanks for the presets. As with all your other presets, these are great. Thanks for making my photo life so much easier.

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  25. Great presets, as always, thanks a lot 🙂 We need more people willing to actually give presets away instead of selling them.

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  26. Hi –

    Thanks SO much for these presets. I’m new to LR2 and the presets help me understand the different uses for the tools and the effects they can achieve. One question: do you have any presets that will make finished photos look like “Magic Sharp” from Kevin Kubota (super sharp, super clear) without Photoshop?

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  27. Thanks for the presets Matt. Can someone out there tell me how to work these presets? I have them installed but if I want to fix them up around an object how do I do that?

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  28. As always, thanks for the gift! Absolutely love seeing what you’re using and adding it to my workflow.

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  29. Great Presets Matt!! I also saw on Yanik’s Photo School site where he did a video tutorial on the Gradient Tool. He used the color swatches along with the Gradient to increase warmth and saturation in his images. thought it might be worth checking out. I made some presets of my own based off of his tutorial. Have a good one, and thanks for all you willingness to freely educate the rest of us with Lightroom.


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  30. Thanks for these precets Matt,

    I love lightroom 2


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  31. The upper vertical is landing on the lower vertical. Does that mean that I turn my camera in a different direction than Matt for a vertical? How do I change it to land above?

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  32. Thank you! You are such a peach for sharing these goodies.

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  33. Jose-Miguel,
    I’ve tried numerous ways to get this, trying to emulate coral filters and sunsets filters. I had an okay filter done for sunsets, but it was too unwieldy to move 2 filters to get it to line up properly with different horizons.

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  34. Matt, great additions.
    When I look at Middle filter, I had in my mind a filter that is graduated only in the middle. I know this is not the way grad. filters are designed, but some times I just wanted to have the effect in the middle degrading in both directions.
    I did play with two filters that one cancel the other, while not very success, I think there are some room for creativity.


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  35. Sean is correct: if you use these on portrait shots (ie, verticals), then you will need to rotate the “vertical” gradients so they affect the sky. Thankfully, adapting your templates is simple enough.

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  36. And as a BTW, you need another set for vertical images because Lightroom handles left and right differently too.

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  37. Thanks Matt – these rock! I just went back and tried them on the photos that I thought already looked ok and it definitely improved some of them.


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  38. Hi,

    Just wanted to say a big thank you! Grad filters were one of my favorite tools back in the film days, and now they will make a return to my workflow.


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  39. Whoo! Thanks. I’ve been hoping for some more grad presets for a while! Thanks!

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