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Presets are a great way to speed up your workflow and give your images a specific look. Creating your own can take a lot of effort so using ones made by the talented creators in the Envato Market is an easy shortcut.
In this article I’m going to look at fifteen preset packs for Adobe Lightroom that are available for less than ten dollars.
Remember, presets should be a starting point rather than a one click solution. If you’re applying a preset, you should be prepared to tweak it so that it works well with your image.
Perfect Model V1 comes with just a single preset but it’s a useful one. What it does is enhance the shadows, highlights and colours of any image you apply it to. It basically makes any image pop.
If your image is already very saturated or contrasty, Perfect Model V1 may push things to far, but then you just have to dial it back.
42 Magazine Profiles includes 42 different presets, all inspired by classic fashion magazines. There are presets influenced by magazines like Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Elle and Vogue.
Each of these presets creates a specific look for your image, and with 42 presets available, you’ve a wide range to choose from.
10 Unique and Professional Portrait Photography presets has a mix of presets all aimed at making portraits and other photos of people look great. These are the presets their creator, marcusgrip, actually uses in his day to day work.
While all of the presets are great, the best of the bunch are the ones that give a bleached and desaturated look.
Portrait Presets ($9)
Portrait Pro Presets has 42 different presets although some are variations on the same theme. The majority of them are for giving your images a vintage feel; for example there are multiple Retro, Polaroid, Analog and Nostalgia presets.
If you want to give your images an Instagram look but have a lot more control over how it’s applied, this preset pack is for you.
9 HQ Portrait Presets is one of the best value packs available. You get nine great presets for only four dollars. Most of the presets in this pack are inspired by classic films like Kodak 400.
The only problem with these presets is that they’re all named “portrait_X” where X is whatever number they are. If you’re looking for a specific effect but can’t remember what it’s called, you have to click through all of them.
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18 Pro Glamour Presets is another great value pack from zvolia, the maker of 9 HQ Portrait Presets. You get eighteen presets designed to emulate the look of glamour magazines. While it’s impossible to package the skin retouching used in glamour photos, this pack does a great job of recreating the colour toning.
Like the previous set of presets, one frustrating thing about 18 Pro Glamour Presets is they’re all named “glamour_X”.
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Another nice set from zvolia, this pack contains nine more presets that’ll make your portraits look good. These presets are a lot more subtle than the Glamour pack so if you want a less stylised look, they’re the ones to use.
Once again the naming isn’t great and, confusingly, they share the same names as the other portrait pack. If you get both, you need to be careful installing them. Once installed, I recommend renaming the presets for the first set before you install the other.
Portrait Presets ($6)
This pack is worth it for one preset alone, the soft high-key black and white one I applied to the image above. The other seven are just a bonus. While there’s a lot to be said for the large packs that give you dozens of presets to choose from, getting one good look for less than a tenner is still a great deal.
This 10 Portrait preset pack is one of the most interesting on the list. More than half of the ten presets result in heavily tinted monochrome images. These make for some very interesting effects.
More than the other presets on this list, these ones will be hit or miss with specific images. A preset that works great for one portrait will look awful for another.
15 Lr Portrait Presets is one of those packs that, rather than following a theme, has a wide range of different looks. You can get everything from dramatic, HDR style shots to subtly toned portraits from the presets in this pack.
If you want a wide variety of looks for a great price, this might be the pack for you.
Processing Night Portraits can be a challenge. You have to deal with dark exposures and difficult colours. This Night Portrait preset pack makes it a lot easier.
While these presets, more than others on this list, need to be used as a starting point to get the best results, they’re an effective way to batch process evening or night portraits. One or two of the presets even work on regular images.
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While these six presets are billed as being for studio photographers, I’ve actually found they work great with any image where the background is relatively neutral. Like some of the other packs on this list, these presets are inspired by glamour and magazine shoots. While they can’t emulate the retouching, they do a great job of adding the colour toning and fashion feel to your images.
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Despite the unusual number, 17 Portrait Professional Presets is a well rounded and useful preset pack. All the presets are quite heavy, applying a very distinctive look. If you want something subtle, these are the wrong ones to get. However, if you’re looking for something with a definite style, they’re probably right for you.
Another preset pack that, while aimed at indoor use, works great for any well lit image. 16 Fashionable Portrait Indoor Lightroom Presets has a nice range of different fashion inspired looks. You can create everything from simple black and white to intense colour toned images with these presets.
These presets are definitely sensitive to poorly exposed images so, if you want to use them, you need to make sure your image is right in-camera.
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The 8 Editorial Styles preset pack is great for casual portraits. If you’re doing a studio shoot, you won’t get the most from them. They’re at their best when used on casual, street or travel portraits. Of all the packs on this list, this one is my favourite and the one I’m most likely to keep using in my own workflow.
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You don’t have to spend a lot of money to find some great presets in the Envato Market. There are dozens of preset packs available for less than $10 that can add that special something to your images. In this article I’ve just featured fifteen of my favourite preset packs, explore the Envato Market and you’ll find many more.
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