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Why buying Lightroom presets or filters isn’t always a good idea

Selling presets became a new sort of income for many photographers as COVID-19 hit the photography industry as well. Yet, many of the available presets you purchase or even can get for free, don‘t seem to work out as expected. Today I’ll explain why and how to avoid non working purchases. In this blog you’ll find out that in the end, photography is more than only applying a preset to a random shot.

It start with the picture itself

You’ll most likely apply presets to shots made through your mobile, which can be a first issue. Photographers work with more advanced equipment and thus have more quality and possibilities in their images. On top of that, they also tend to shoot in RAW-format, however you might not have that option. RAW images have way more data to work on in post editing. So whatever works perfect on RAW shots, might actually not work at all on the ones you have taken.

It’s also about how the original shot has been taken

Aside from the RAW-story, it’s also about the style the original footage has been shot with. Many photographers work in manual mode and under or over expose their images on purpose. The further adjustments then will be done in Lightroom. They will use a copy of these made settings to create the preset they will sell. That means that the preset is based on the original image and style of the photographer. So besides from finding a presets that suites you, you should alse check whether the base images are alike yours, or change your style to theirs. Unfortunately even when working with presets, it‘s about more than only adjusting light, as many settings affect other settings. Even with the slightest adjustment.

There are no 2 images of the same kind

Going alongside with my previous point, it’s also good to know that it’s rather rare that a preset will apply perfectly on all images you take. Every shot will need its own edit. A good know-how of Lightroom is very important in this. So let’s be reasonable and keep in mind that buying a preset isn’t going to be your lifetime guarantee on improved results.

What to do then?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against the use of other peoples presets. I even encourage it, as it can be a great help for you to find out how Lightroom works behind the scenes. But my point is, try to create your own presets, based on your way of shooting and try to keep third party presets more as a guideline or a source of inspiration. You’ll reach much more with a personal and unique style, rather then be one of a dozen using the same presets.