Presets – Kuler Web Colors

It’s Tuesday and I’m in New York City teaching Lightroom at B&H Photo. I had two jam packed classes yesterday and lot’s of blog readers came by to say hi. If you’re around today make sure you stop in and introduce yourself.

Anyway, on to the preset… this week I’ve got something really different for you. Instead of giving you free presets to download I’m going to let you make your own web presets (I know, I’m very generous today) 🙂 However, ever though you’ll be making your own presets I’ll give you the tools to do it with to come up with some pretty sweet looking web galleries. See, one of the things people have the biggest problems with is figuring out which colors will look good for custom web galleries. Sure, you can choose the default black template in the Web module in Lightroom and be done with it. But what do you do if you want to be creative with some of the colors and you just don’t know where to start? Well, you can use Adobe Kuler (a free web application) to find some really great color combinations and then input them into the Web module. It works like this:

1) Go to Start searching through the website for color combinations you like. You can create your own or just click on Most Popular to see some good ideas.

2) Once you find the one you like click on it to select it. Then you’ll see 3 small icons under it. Click on the rightmost icon (the sliders) to make changes to the color settings.

3) Instead of changing the colors, just read the RGB color values for each color and write them down.

4) Go into Lightroom’s Web module. Scroll down to the Color Palette panel on the right.

5) Click on the Background, Cells, Rollover, Grid Lines, and Text color swatches and enter in the color values you took from Kuler.

Here’s a sample I made from the Kuler combination called “Quite Cry”.

It’s pretty cool how you can come up with some really amazing color combinations and make some totally different (yet nice looking) web galleries with color combinations from Kuler. Give it a try… (lame joke alert – very lame attempt at humor coming)… It’s Kule! I hope you enjoy and make sure you share your favorite Kuler preset name or color combos in the comments here. See ya!


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  1. I love Kuler! Some of my favorites are Garcia Sola landscape, milk chocolate mint, renaissance calm, sea glass, strawberry vanilla chocolate, and Tech Office.

    I am really having a ball going through your archives and downloading your presets, as a new Lightroom user. I’ve downloaded actions, brushes, patterns, etc. for Photoshop for some time, but I didn’t know you could do this stuff with Lightroom. Fun!

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  2. Wow, your tips are amazing. Especially the one from Rob Sylvan saves me a lot of time! Thanks all and thanks Matt for this blog, very educative! I’ll be following this one for sure.


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  3. I’ve been doing this for a while – a graphic designer friend of mine sent me the Kuler link before and I had been using it for school projects and whatnot.

    I made this a couple of days ago:

    It’s a little tacky, but I loved the color scheme.

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  4. Matt,
    I have a question about RGB and CMYK…I will be submitting to a magazine on a regular basis and they require CMYK instead of RGB. I dont see anything in lightroom that can change RGB to CMYK, can you help me?

    Thanks B

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  5. I love Kuler! Ever since they announced it for Illustrator I have been hooked on it. Especially with the new version that allows you to uploads pictures and sample from them.

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  6. Hi Matt… Thanks for the tip. I love to read your posts.
    I am a Photographer in Fort Fauderdale (, and I can say that you are the one that helped me the most understanding Lightroom.
    Anyway… If any of your readers want to check a cool Video Show that just posted in my blog.. here is the address:
    Paulo Jordao

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  7. Hi Matt,
    I am taking your Lightroom 2.0 course on Kelby Training and you reference a zip file of photographs to work on for the course. Where do I find this file?


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  8. Thanks for the “Kule” Aid ! (couldn’t resist)

    Hey Matt, do you know of a way to display the Loupe View Info Overlay onto multiple photos in the Survey View ?

    This would be a handy way to compare the various settings of the images without having to click each image and looking at the info in the side panel. Plus you could compress the side panel for more real estate.


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  9. Oops, fat fingers … that Mac shortcut should not have a ” at the end.

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  10. You can access kuler from within Lightroom (an undocumented feature).

    – Go into advanced mode.
    – scroll to the bottom of the Appearance panel
    – check the Kuler box

    A kuler icon will appear in the content area. Click it to search. Search kuler for themes. Click a theme to apply it to your gallery.

    Shortcut for advanced mode:

    Control+Alt+Shift+/ on PC
    Cmd+Alt+Shift+/” on Mac

    Note, on a Mac, if the shortcut just opens the help page, try this:

    Go to the Help menu and place your cursor over “Web Module Shortcuts” and press Shift+Alt when you see the menu change click it.

    The Kuler icon will remain in the gallery until you uncheck that box even if you switch back to “Normal” mode (use the same shortcut that got you to advanced).

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  11. I’ve got an addition to that Matt. Kuler is available as a “native” app with Adobe AIR. Check it out! With a Adobe Account you even have access to the color combinations you’ve created on the website.

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  12. Thanks for the LR 2.0beta tip. Now can it be translated to LR 1.4.1?

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  13. I especially like the ability to generate colors from an uploaded picture. But I don’t like having to copy down the numbers and type them in. Why not a clipboard format that would let you copy/paste directly into the color picker? Or at least the ability to import the .ase file.

    Thanks for the tip,

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  14. Yep – Kuler rocks! I’ve been using it routinely for generating pleasing color palettes for quite some time, it always delivers good results.

    The only “problem” is that you get so many great options that indecision will possibly add to the time spent on your project 🙂


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  15. That’s is a really cool site Matt. I’m going to have to delve into it more not just for galleries, but for colors in general.

    I do wish LR would get a bit more robust with it’s galleries. Though I make my sites mostly in HTML/Wordpress, I still use flash galleries because they have such a smooth presentation.

    I don’t understand why Adobe doesn’t include a killer gallery module that has full function slideshows with lots of options, the ability ti sync music with the images ext. Admittedly LR2 does look to have some improvements, so we’ll see where that takes us.

    Thanks for the color tip… Gav

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  16. Pretty cool Matt. Thanks again…

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