When RAW images come right out of your camera there are always a few things needed to spruce them up. No matter how perfect you captured your exposure there might be a few things like upping the contrast just a bit, adding a little saturation to the image or other settings that reflect your photo style. If you find yourself usually applying some of the same settings to most of your images in Lightroom then setting up a Develop preset to apply when you import your images can be a huge timesaver.
How does this work? It’s pretty straightforward, when you are importing a set of images in Lightroom there is a box on the right that says Apply during import. This will let you pick a develop setting that will apply to all images that are going to be imported and also Metadata presets (more on that coming up soon) and add keywords.
I like to have a very simple develop preset that does a little clean up on my files based on how I know that I shoot along with how my camera’s RAW images come out. I know that I generally underexpose my images slightly in camera and like to add a little bit of contrast and a few other small settings. Of course you want to get the exposure and everything dialed in while shooting but again RAW files tend to come out of the camera flat and need just a little TLC so that’s the goal here, just a small touch.
Here is what my preset looks like for the basic tab. I dial down the Highlights a little and bring up the whites and also do the same with the shadows, this all helps to give a little extra pop to the image and when done subtly won’t blow out the highlights. I’ll also change the tone curve to a medium contrast and add a slight vignette to the image.
Also I want to sharpen the image just a little so in the detail panel will adjust the sharpening to these settings.
That’s it, these settings help my images to look a little better when they import into Lightroom and then I can individually go from there to fine tune each shot. Once you have your own preset settings created just save the settings by clicking on the + button on the left Presets panel in the Develop module in Lightroom and name it something fitting. Then choose this as your setting to apply during import and you are set!
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