HOW TO USE LIGHTROOM PRESETS
The biggest hesitation I hear from people who are considering Lightroom Presets is that they just don't know how to make the proper adjustments to fit their own photos. Presets do the heavy duty work for you, but since everyone shoots differently and everyone has different skin and hair colors, there is not perfectly versatile preset that look great on ALL photos. On the overview page I explain the best uses and potential adjustments for each of the presets I sell, but I wanted to also give some tips for working with presets in general.
If your preset isn't looking good, here are the first things to adjust:
1. Exposure -- a lot of times this is all you need to do! There's no way for a preset to automatically know if you took the photo under or over exposed, so you'll have to adjust this at least a little on almost every photo probably.
2. Temperature -- Same goes for temperature. If you're shooting on iPhone, your white balance is set automatically, and it doesn't always get it right. Presets can exaggerate the temperature (many of my presets have saturated blues, for example), so you'll often have to adjust this to get the perfect amount of warmth.
3. Tint -- Tint is how green vs pink the photo looks. This is also an auto setting for iPhone photos. If you're shooting on a pink background, like I often do, your iPhone might overcompensate and make everything more green, including your skin tone. You can easily fix this with the Tint tool.
4. Oranges -- This is the best way to adjust your skin tone! Many of my presets have oranges with slightly lower luminance and higher saturation (to make me look a little more tan), but if you have darker skin you may need to lighten and desaturate the oranges. If you're going for warmer temperature, that also might make the oranges look too saturated, so you can adjust accordingly. A final option is to adjust the hue of the Oranges to make your skin more yellow or more pink.
If those four don't do the trick, you're probably working with a preset that you don't LOVE. You can still make many, many adjustments from there, but those are the three that will totally depend on the photo and might need to be adjusted no matter what preset you're using.
Here are a few other tools I recommend playing around with:
1. Shadows and Darks -- Lightening the shadows and darks is a great way to show more information in the photo, and darkening them is a great way to add a little contrast and "pop" without making your highlights too light.
2. Greens -- whenever I shoot in nature, I'll adjust the hue, saturation and luminance of greens a bit. Most of my presets desaturate greens, so if you're trying to show off the beautiful green hills of Ireland, you might want to increase the saturation of greens. I also like changing the hue towards a blue-green to make it pop.
3. Blues -- My presets typically saturate blues quite a bit. If your sky is looking too fake, you can adjust the blues to be less saturated and more of a true blue instead of a turquoisey blue. Luminance adjustments also help quite a bit with this!