So I’ve been wrestling with this blog for two days now and last night was on the verge of despair, as I couldn’t make it “EXCITING”.   I was sniveling to a friend and they said just explain how Presets are useful, if not all that exciting, but we need to know about them so we can do more fun stuff later.  To me, actually are exciting, but then I am a Lightroom geek.  Anything which saves me time and allows me to automate effects I like is useful.   That is what Presets are; a collection of settings which you can with one click, apply to your photograph.   You can save any combination of the Develop module settings.  LR comes with a bunch already built in.   One of the first ways to decide if you like a particular effect, is simply to scroll your mouse over it and the little thumbnail image will change to show you how it will look.  If you want to try it, simply click it and your real image will change.  Because LR is non destructive, if you don’t like it, you can easily go back and undo your change.  

The structure of Lightroom also allows you to find and import presets others have created.  One of my favorite sources is Matt Kloskowski’s podcast and blog  .  He has created thousands of presets.  Some are useful, some not so much for me.  Here is one he created, called “Matt’s Nostalgic Effect nr. 2”.   It seemed appropriate to use on this Gettysburg photo of one of the reenactors.   Here is the orignal  and here is the effect. So what does it do?  Well it largely de-saturates the color and increases the contrast. Here are the actual settings. Not quite a black and white, but somehow an “old” looking photo.  Oh and if you want to tweak the settings, go right ahead

Several years ago after the movie “300” came out, everywhere you looked you saw pictures that had that same effect.  It is also pretty easy to do and really just carries the effects of the Nostalgic  look to extremes.  All of the color is desaturated and the contrast and sharpness are pushed way, way up.  Not a good look on most portraits of women, but effective on mature men and solid objects.

The presets also do a really good job in finding the right settings for Black and White conversions.  There is a lot more involved in changing color photos to B&W. 

As a creative user of LR, the program allows you to easily save your own settings and reuse them.  The Soft Fall Impression effect I created for the last blog is one.  There are much more useful ways of applying these tools, everyday. One of the ways I use these presets is when I am importing my photos from the card reader.  I set up a preset to do nothing more than enable the “Lens Correction Profiles” on. 

Play with them, remember in LR, you can always go back and start over.