Lightroom Presets

Presets – Landscape Graduated Filters

Hi everyone (presets below – quick story first). I’m teaching a landscape workshop in the northeast this week with legendary photographer Bill Fortney. We’ve been having a blast so far. It’s a great group. Lot’s of laughs and each day just keeps getting better. The weather has been nearly perfect (nice and warm for this Florida-loving guy). We’ve been photographing some small towns and great fall color, so I figured I’d share a couple of my photos. One was from our sunset shoot. We were actually at a small church when I turned around and saw it. The moon and the slight touch of color from the setting sun on the hills caught my eye. The other is from our morning shoot earlier today. Not much done to them. Some cropping and a quick Exposure, Blacks and Vibrance adjustment. I did have to clone out my shadow in the church photo, but Content Aware made it about a 3 second fix.
(Click on the photo for a larger version)

Anyway, on to the presets. This week I’ve got some updates to my graduated filter presets. Since I’ve been shooting a lot of landscapes over the past couple days, they’re getting use a decent amount. I used to adjust the Exposure setting in the Graduated Filter but lately I’ve been digging the Brightness setting better for skies. Since Graduated Filters are mainly used over sky, I figured I’d make some changes. Now, 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 increments (they’re not actual photography f/stops though, just the overall darkness level). 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.

That’s about it for today. I hope you enjoy ’em. Let me know what you think. Thanks 🙂

• Click here to see a sample of the presets.
• Click here to download Matt’s Graduated Filter Presets



  1. Christian Koch 23 October, 2011 at 03:15 Reply

    Many thanks from Belgium for sharing Matt, my fall’s pictures will look much greater thanks to your presets 🙂

  2. Peter Tannenbaum 18 October, 2011 at 16:11 Reply

    Would love to use the presets, which sound fantastic, but unfortunately, I am getting the same error 404 page not found that some others reported! Can anyone help with a good link?

    thanks in advance for the help


  3. Smethwick 17 October, 2011 at 13:09 Reply

    i equa preference your things near to it Presets – Rural scene Graduated Filters – Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Killer Tips | Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Killer

  4. Duane Hendricks 16 October, 2011 at 19:52 Reply

    I went into LR 3.5 preferences and found the Presets folder. I copied Matt’s presets into the Local Adjustments subfolder. I restarted LR and the presets do not appear. What am I doing wrong?

  5. David B 14 October, 2011 at 23:43 Reply

    Thanks for the presets–very handy!
    Two tips for other users: These are Develop Presets, not Local Adjustment Presets (they’ll appear on the left pane, not in the actual Graduated Filter preset drop-down on the right pane).
    For Windows users, the default file blocking may prevent these from showing up even though you’ve copied them into the correct folder. Rather than open the properties of each preset file, and clicking unblock, just right-click the original zip file, choose properties, and unblock it. Then, re-extract, and all the extracted files will also be unblocked.

  6. Martin Chamberlain 13 October, 2011 at 14:20 Reply

    Excellent presets. Very useful. Fans should be aware of a couple of minor bugs:
    -3 V bottom is actually middle
    -3 H middle is actually top
    -2 V bottom is actually middle
    Easily correctable – just select the preset, move the pin that defines the grad’s location , and “update with current settings”.

    These have to be one of the most useful sets you’ve produced – I had certainly made great use of the originals you posted.
    Many thanks.

  7. John Swarce 11 October, 2011 at 22:13 Reply

    Hey, Matt! Glad to see you’re enjoying the beautiful New England weather this week. Wish I could have joined you (you’re practically right in my backyard, as I’m in MA), but I have to work. Have a great time shooting and thanks for the presets!! 🙂


  8. Gene Kimball 11 October, 2011 at 13:29 Reply

    Matt, your presets really do save time and there are some presets I would never have thought to create or use. Thanks.

  9. Dennis Zito 11 October, 2011 at 09:40 Reply

    HI Matt,

    Boy would I love to be with you guys up there! These photos are just Awesome, Matt! You know, I’ve learned over the past couple of years to make a 360 when I’m out shooting landscapes, and it’s paid off a lot. Turning around and looking up always works! Thanks for updating the presets! I’ve used them a lot since you first put them out. Also, I’ve changed to using Brightness instead of Exposure not only for the graduated filter but for the adjustment brush as well. It’s not as over whelming as exposure.

    Have a Great time up there and thanks again for the update presets and sharing your adventure with us!


  10. Daniel Leu 11 October, 2011 at 03:16 Reply

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for sharing an other or your presets!

    To set the gradient for the sky, I use just a few local adjustment presets (e.g., sky.3, sky.6, sky.9). Whenever I need a gradient for the sky, I select the adjustment preset and then create the gradient as it fits my image.

    I tend to be faster like this as a gradient set in a dev preset seems to be always off and has to be re-adjusted.


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