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    Do you have to buy Lightroom presets?


    The message Do you have to buy Lightroom presets? first appeared on Digital Photography School. It is written by Charlie Moss.

    The discussion about whether or not to use presets always comes up on different photography groups and websites. Some people are for them and others are against. Just like camera brands, there seems to be no clear answer and everyone believes their way is correct! For or against, there is no denying that presets are here and not going anywhere. Many people find them useful in their workflow and will therefore continue to use them. So do you have to buy Lightroom presets?

    The case for buying presets

    A quick online search gives you hundreds of places where you can buy presets and they will all be of different quality. Before making your purchase, read some reviews to see if others are happy with their purchase. Remember that your style of images will have a major impact on the appearance of presets when applied, so expect some trial and error!

    But why would you buy presets instead of making them all by yourself? Here are some reasons to help you decide if buying presets is for you.

    It saves you time

    There is no doubt about it, buying presets will save you time in your workflow. You don't have to spend time devising looks that you like. Instead, someone else has completed the first hard work for you.


    In reality, the use of presets in this way does not differ from choosing which film stock and developer you want to use when you are shooting in analog. You use someone else's color ideas to get the images you want to produce.

    If you can quickly apply many different looks to your photo, you can quickly make decisions about what it will look like. And then you can refine it and do the fun part of the processing.

    It takes you away from the computer

    Not everyone likes the digital dark room. In the summer I prefer to enjoy the good weather than to develop images behind my computer. If I have a set of presets available that someone else has made, each recording takes less time to process. That way I spend more time doing the things I love.


    Thanks to my preset library, I can share stylish images that I am proud of within minutes of loading my images. That is a big attraction for me, and that is why I like to have a bank with presets to choose from.

    You can borrow the best of other people's ideas

    Everyone sees the world differently. You may never have thought of putting a pink pop in the shade or just adding enough grain to make your black-and-white conversion look like it was shot on fast film.

    By purchasing a library of presets, you can see how other people have chosen to process your images. And that can give you a few ideas for a new direction that you want to take. Purchasing Lightroom presets can really boost your creativity and help you see new possibilities for your images.


    Some people would say that this is somehow ' cheating ' is, but I see it as collecting inspiration. It is as if an artist goes to her friend's studio, finds the most beautiful custom blue paint and then asks if she can have the recipe to use the color in her own work. The two artists will not produce the same artwork even if they use the same color paint!

    Your photos still have your own touch and style, even if you use other people's ideas to help you create or process your photos.

    Some people are just better at post-processing and color correction than you

    Face it – you can't be great about anything. Even the best photographers often hire other people to help create their vision. Buying presets is like a really cheap version of having your own digital technical assistant available for your recordings. If you have a vision for light and airy photos, but your post-processing skills aren't quite right, then presets can help you get there – just like a digital tech assistant on a high-end shoot .

    After a while you can learn more about this side of photography. But you can now achieve great results by taking advantage of the knowledge and creativity of other people.

    The plea to make presets yourself

    Of course, if you like working in the digital darkroom, the idea of ​​buying presets to save time or gaining ideas seems completely strange. Moreover, if you want to spend the time making your own presets, that's great! You absolutely have to keep doing what makes you happy.

    There are also other reasons why you might want to create your own presets. The most obvious is that presets available for purchase are not exactly what you are looking for. When you make one yourself, you can get exactly what you want instead of just getting close.

    You may also have other considerations. For example, some camera clubs do not allow you to participate in contests where you have used purchased presets for post-processing. Or you may feel that a photo ethically cannot really become your own, unless you have taken every part of the photo.

    Maybe try a combination?

    I personally use a combination of both. I have a large library of presets that I have purchased. I use this library to quickly see what images can look like with different color gradations.

    When I have found a look that I like, I adjust it a little more to better match the mood of my images. If I think I'll use the preset again, I'll save my new custom preset to a folder with the others I have adjusted to my style!

    Must-Purchase Lightroom presets

    I love this way of working because I like to get inspiration from other presets and then finish the images to achieve something that is really mine.

    What do you think about buying presets? Do you have to buy Lightroom presets? Maybe you have your own library that you have already purchased? Or would you rather make everything your own? Maybe you don't use any presets at all, but would you rather start with an empty slate every time when it comes to post-processing images?

    must-you-purchase-Lightroom presets

    The message Do you have to buy Lightroom presets? first appeared on Digital Photography School. It is written by Charlie Moss.

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