Are lightroom presets worth buying?

Started Jul 2, 2017 | Questions
dball329 Junior Member • Posts: 46
Are lightroom presets worth buying?

Does anyone purchase lightroom presets and find them to be a good investment?  I am realy trying to up my game with post processing, and my thought is to buy some good presets for the sake of learning to make my own presets better.  Has anyone gone this route before?  Is it worth it, or a waste of money?  No big deal either way, just thought I'd throw it out there.  thanks in advance.

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dj_paige
dj_paige Senior Member • Posts: 1,854
Re: Are lightroom presets worth buying?
1

dball329 wrote:

Does anyone purchase lightroom presets and find them to be a good investment? I am realy trying to up my game with post processing, and my thought is to buy some good presets for the sake of learning to make my own presets better. Has anyone gone this route before? Is it worth it, or a waste of money? No big deal either way, just thought I'd throw it out there. thanks in advance.

It's really tough for us here across the internet to decide how you should spend your money, especially since we don't know you. But more importantly, you could explain the types of photo you edit (landscapes, portraits, action, astronomy, etc.) and what you are looking for in photographic style when the photos are finished (showing us a few examples would help). Because some presets won't help you at all, and some presets might help you a lot.

A better question to ask is; What presets are available that produce specific types of effects? Then someone here can point you in the right direction and then YOU can decide if they are worth the money.

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Paige Miller

Jim B (MSP) Forum Pro • Posts: 10,200
Re: Are lightroom presets worth buying?
2

dball329 wrote:

Does anyone purchase lightroom presets and find them to be a good investment?

My own experience - LR presets , either my own or somebody else's are generally good for one set of photos taken the same way under the same conditions. Otherwise they need to be adjusted. I tend to use a preset upon import to simply set initial parameters before I start fine tuning. I don't and have not bought presets.

I am realy trying to up my game with post processing,

To really "up your game", I'd suggest that you shoot in RAW (you may already do this), acquire Photoshop (it comes along with LR CC), learn the basics of PS, learn layers and masking and blending, and spend your money on plug -ins, such as those from Topaz. You can still find the free NIK plugins. LR easily communicates with PS, sending a TIFF out, and getting an edited TIFF back.

and my thought is to buy some good presets for the sake of learning to make my own presets better. Has anyone gone this route before? Is it worth it, or a waste of money?

I wouldn't call that strategy a "waste of money", but it will be a limited time investment. It won't take you very far.

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Jim
"It's all about the light"

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Abrak Veteran Member • Posts: 4,169
Re: Are lightroom presets worth buying?
3

The problem with LR presets in general is 1. they mess up any other settings you may have made and 2. there isnt an easy opacity slider to reduce their 'effect'

My advice is download the Nik collection and start by 'playing' with color efex. There are dozens of presets but you have enormous control with them, to easily tweak them, reduce opacity or even add them selectively to parts of your photo. The Nik collection is free so if you dont like it no loss.....

irv00 Senior Member • Posts: 1,467
Re: Are lightroom presets worth buying?
1

dball329 wrote:

Does anyone purchase lightroom presets and find them to be a good investment? I am realy trying to up my game with post processing, and my thought is to buy some good presets for the sake of learning to make my own presets better. Has anyone gone this route before? Is it worth it, or a waste of money? No big deal either way, just thought I'd throw it out there. thanks in advance.

To be brutally honest (and with good intentions), the best way to obtain better photographs is to take better photographs. Lightroom presets are a waste of money, in my opinion.

Beachcomber Joe
Beachcomber Joe Senior Member • Posts: 1,256
Re: Are lightroom presets worth buying?
2

No.  Buying presets is, in my opinion, a waste of money.  If you want to use presets, there are plenty of free ones available for download.  On the other hand, plugins such as those from Topaz and NIK are well worth having.  The NIK collection is free and works with current versions of Lightroom and Windows.

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OP dball329 Junior Member • Posts: 46
Re: Are lightroom presets worth buying?

Thank you for the input that definitely makes sense.

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OP dball329 Junior Member • Posts: 46
Re: Are lightroom presets worth buying?

That is great advice thanks much!

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Ken Seals
Ken Seals Senior Member • Posts: 1,154
Re: Are lightroom presets worth buying?
1

dball329 wrote:

Does anyone purchase lightroom presets and find them to be a good investment? I am realy trying to up my game with post processing, and my thought is to buy some good presets for the sake of learning to make my own presets better. Has anyone gone this route before? Is it worth it, or a waste of money? No big deal either way, just thought I'd throw it out there. thanks in advance.

"Google NIK" NIK has previews of it's many presets, both B&W and color, which you can further refine to your taste. It's free for now, meaning it will probably be discontinued soon. However, using NIK returns a .tif file to LR that you can further process in the develop module. In that sense, it's not a true LR preset that you apply in the Develop module.

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Ken
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Jos van Eekelen Regular Member • Posts: 426
Re: Are lightroom presets worth buying?

For learning purposes have a look at the built-in filters and perhaps have a look at some videos on youtube. I wouldn't spend too much money on presets. The suggested programs like NIK are great but I wouldn't call them presets. They are partly black boxes, may give you a great picture but no LR presets learning involved.

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Kishore Bhargava
Kishore Bhargava New Member • Posts: 24
Re: Are lightroom presets worth buying?
1

I did buy a few cheap presets at the time I was learning Lightroom. I did not find them particularly useful and as others have said, there are of free presets also available.

However, what I did find very useful a set of "workflow" presets. That helps me get the look very rapidly at least on some of the basic parameters. Eg. Exposure ±5 in steps of .25, Noise Reduction - Soft, Moderate, Extreme etc. etc.

This lets me take an image from the camera and rapidly transform to the look I want. Then use any of the effects plugins such as the Nik collection or ON1.

Hope that helps.

Cheers…Kishore

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davidedric Veteran Member • Posts: 5,844
Re: Are lightroom presets worth buying?

dball329 wrote:

That is great advice thanks much!

Be cautious with the Nik collection - they are free, but Google has announced they will not be enhanced or further supported (there is a petition going round to try and get them to change their minds, but I don't give it much chance).

If you are on Windows you should be good for a while, but I have read there are likely to be problems with the next Mac OS release.  I'm not on  Mac myself, so don't know the details.

Dave

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Anthony MC New Member • Posts: 11
Re: Are lightroom presets worth buying?

Kishore Bhargava wrote:

I did buy a few cheap presets at the time I was learning Lightroom. I did not find them particularly useful and as others have said, there are of free presets also available.

However, what I did find very useful a set of "workflow" presets. That helps me get the look very rapidly at least on some of the basic parameters. Eg. Exposure ±5 in steps of .25, Noise Reduction - Soft, Moderate, Extreme etc. etc.

This lets me take an image from the camera and rapidly transform to the look I want. Then use any of the effects plugins such as the Nik collection or ON1.

Hope that helps.

Cheers…Kishore

I know this posting is over 8 months old but I just came a crossed it thinking about the same. I just purchased over 1000s presets, actions, and overlays and to be honest I feel it was a wasted of money.  I know there are a few good presets out there, that are attractive and most people would like them.  I go thru my presets and I am like how in the world I can apply this presets without the image looking crazy or non realistic.

I would probably buy the ones offer by renown photographers that offer maybe 10 to 15 presets and show you how to apply them.

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PerTulip Senior Member • Posts: 1,187
Re: Are lightroom presets worth buying?

Got some presets along the way. Found out I never used them. I have created my own presets because I have several "starting-points" for post-processing and I use those a lot. But they are just starting-points, since I process images individually.

Preset sets IMHO only make sense if you go for volume (event shooting) and bulk-processing and canned looks are OK. Not my type of photography, so waste of money and time.

Plugins (like the mentioned Nik Plugins) are different, they are not presets but enhance LR's features. But also with plug-ins I don't think you need dozens of them, just those few that could improve your workflow. For me, it's Silver Efex, which I find better for B&W processing (individual!) than using LR's sliders. Which doesn't mean I could stick to LR alone.

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JulesJ
JulesJ Forum Pro • Posts: 45,668
Re: Are lightroom presets worth buying?

No.

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Save money on expensive telephoto lenses. Stand closer to the subject.

LeNormand Forum Member • Posts: 67
Re: Are lightroom presets worth buying?

I found presets useful at the beginning to understand how (and where) to tweak LR in order to reach a specific look.

BUT ....

1. Don't spend too much money on them

2. Select a small series of cleanly sorted and named presets

3. Avoid the "megapresets" of thousands of presets. I purchased such a set (for less than 20$) but they proved completely useless. 20 categories (portrait, children, winter, ...) and in each category up to 3,000 presets identified only by a number !!! No way to find anything, and who's gonna waste 2 hours to find the right start point ?? Looks like a complete scam : any computing student can easily write a small app modifying randomly the settings of the Develop module and generating these zillions of "presets".

LeNormand Forum Member • Posts: 67
Re: Are lightroom presets worth buying?

Agree 200%. Same experience here.

Cebel Photography
Cebel Photography New Member • Posts: 1
Re: Are lightroom presets worth buying?

Those are some great photos in that collection and love how many genres you see within the portfolio

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