Did you know that the powerful editing software that the majority of professional photographers use for their photo editing is available to you as a free mobile phone app? Seriously! If you have not downloaded Lightroom onto your phone, you should go do it right now (Apple / Android). With this app and my Wildflowers Presets Collection, you can professionally edit every single photo that you take with your cell phone with one click and turn your everyday family and travel photos into canvas-worthy memories. I honestly don’t even take my DSLR around with me anymore. I upload all my family and travel photos to the Lightroom App and use my presets to edit all my photos. Here’s some before and afters of photos edited using my presets.
The Power of Lightroom and Presets
With the free Lightroom App, you have a lot of photo editing power at your fingertips. You can edit exposure, contrast, shadows, highlights, the tonality curve, make adjustments to temperature, tint, vibrance, saturation as well as individually adjust the hue saturation and luminance of each individual color in your photo. The possibilities are endless. The possibilities can also be intimidating, confusing, and overwhelming. Also, a lot of people fall into the time consuming habit of individually editing each photo.
The easiest solution is to use a preset. What is a preset exactly? A preset is a set of saved editing settings. Say you went through the whole effort of adjusting all the editing sliders exactly how you wanted them to get a certain look for your photo. Instead of having to redo all those edits on another photo, you can save the edits in your Lightroom App as a preset. Then when you open another photo, you can click to apply the saved preset and all of those edits will automatically apply to this new photo.
Amazing right?! The other amazing thing about this is that photographers who know how to work all the sliders to get a certain look for photos, have packaged up these saved presets and are selling them for others to use. That means you can get a certain look for your photos without having to learn how all those editing sliders work.
There are a ton of preset collection options out there that serve a ton of different photo looks. Common types of presets include color specific (makes a certain color pop or adds a particular color caste to photos, which are great for creating a consistent vibe on an Instagram influencer feed, but may also be strange to look back on all your family photos in ten years), film-like, vintage (think sepia), dark & moody (dark & high contrast photos), and bright & airy. There are also presets meant to enhance the natural look of your pictures (my Wildflowers Presets Collection does this), which is great for turning your everyday family and travel photos into treasured, canvas-worthy memories.
My Wildflowers Presets Collection
My Wildflowers Preset Collection is a collection of five timeless presets that enhance the natural beauty of your everyday photos.
Daisies – a preset designed to give you bright, crisp, clean photos; perfect for enhancing indoor photos with white heavy backgrounds and cityscapes.
Wild Roses – a preset designed to for the most natural enhancement of your photos; perfect for portraits.
Desert Rose – very similar to Wild Roses, but with a warmer feel; perfect for autumn and sunsets.
Bluebells – a preset designed to make your outdoor photos pop; perfect for blue skies and beaches.
Buttercups – a preset designed to work with photos with yellow elements; while the other presets will mute the yellow, this preset will not.
How to get Presets on your Lightroom App
Once you buy a preset collection, the seller will most likely send you a zip folder with DNG format preset files inside. This is how my Wildflowers Presets Collection will be delivered to you. Basically this is a collection of photos that have already been edited according to the preset and have the edit settings attached to them. You will use these photos to then save the edit settings into your Lightroom App.
First, you will need to unzip the folder of preset photos that you downloaded. You can easily do this on a computer. On a PC, just right-click on the zipped folder and choose “Extract All” from the menu of options. On a Mac, just double-click the file and Mac’s unzipping utility does the rest. If you unzip the presets on your computer, you will need to save the preset files to your favorite cloud storage option or email them to yourself, so you can access them on your mobile phone and save them on your mobile phone.
If you need to do this step on a phone, you will need to download an unzip app to your phone (I recommend iZip for iPhone users and 7Zipper for Android). Open the unzip app on your mobile phone and follow the directions for finding and unzipping the downloaded presets folder.
Next, open your free Lightroom App. Next to “All Photos” you will see a three vertical dots called a vertical ellipsis [⋮] in the top right corner. Click the vertical ellipsis and then click “Add Photos.” Navigate to where the preset files you downloaded have been saved. They may be in you photo gallery or they may be in your files.
Select the preset files you would like to import. This step may be a little different depending on your mobile phone, however most phones offer a way to select multiple files/images.
Click on one of the newly imported files/photos. You will now need to save it as a preset, Once the file/photo is open, click on the vertical ellipsis in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. From there, choose “Create Preset” from the menu that appears.
Give your preset a name. I recommend using the same name that is on the front of the preset image (to keep things simple). You should also put the preset in a Preset Group. By default, it will be in the User Presets group. Creating a new group with your the name of the preset collection will keep the presets from each collection together.
Repeat the step of saving the preset for each preset file/photo.
Next time you go to edit one of your own photos, scroll all the way to right on your editing tools until you see the “Presets” tab. Click on your desired preset (they will all be saved there in the group and by the name you selected) and watch your photo transform before your eyes!
Common Editing Tips
Most of the time, you will probably be satisfied with the effect of the preset edits on your photo. Occasionally though, you will find that your photo may need some additional tweaking. This is because photos can be taken in very different lighting situations or have very different color themes that react differently to the prepackaged edits. I am going to share my top editing tips that may be helpful for tweaking a photo to get the perfect look.
The most common edit you may want to do in addition to applying the preset (or to a photo without a preset), is to adjust the exposure. To do this click on the “Light” editing tab. You can move the exposure slider to the right or to the left. If you move it to the left, your photo will get darker. (If you are using my Wildflowers presets on an already bright photo, you may find that sliding the exposure slider to the left may be necessary). If you move the exposure slider to the right, your photo will get lighter. This is the most common and helpful edit that you can apply to an original photo.
Another helpful slider in the “Light” editing tab is the shadows slider. If you have a photo that has dark and bright spots in it or very shadowy spots in it, you may want to brighten the photo to make those spots more bright or visible. However, if you move the exposure slider to the right, you will also be brightening the bright spots of the photo and may make them too bright and washed out. Instead move the shadows slider to the right, which will only brighten the dark spots in your photo.
You may find that certain presets make your skin too orange and unnatural looking. This is true of presets that are designed to give an image a more warm look (such as my desert rose preset), especially on a photo with a lot of orange in it. To fix this, after applying the preset, go into the “Color” editing tab and select “Mix” in the top right of the color editing screen. Click on the orange circle to make specific adjustments to orange colors in your photo. I suggest pulling the saturation slider to the left to -10 to -20, which will tone down the orange colors in your photo. You may also want to slide the luminance slider to the right a little to between 5 and 10, which will lighten the orange tones in your photo. Making these two adjustments should eliminate the spray tan look in your photo.
Finally, one of my favorite editing tips is for brightening up your photos. It’s almost like using whitening toothpaste on your photos because you may find a lot of your indoor photos have a yellow caste to them from the indoor lighting. The best way to combat this is to go into the “Color” editing tab and select “Mix” in the top right of the color editing screen. Click on the yellow circle to make specific adjustments to yellow colors in your photo. You pull the saturation slider to the left to reduce the strength of any yellow in your photo.
I hope you found these instructions for using Lightroom Mobile and presets as well as my editing tips helpful! Feel free to reach out if you have any additional questions.