From importing, to organizing, to the editing process itself, few tools have the capacity to define a photographer’s workflow like Adobe’s Lightroom. Of the program’s many indispensable features, the ability to create user presets ranks quite high: it offers photographers the ability to lock in preferred looks, adjustments, and settings for rapid implementation across multiple images. Better still, these presets are readily shareable, allowing users easy access to the settings required for virtually any desired result without going through the hassle of creating them themselves.
While many such presets can be found online for a fair price, a number of websites charge nothing and act as an invaluable free resource for photographers. We have compiled a list of a few of these sites we are particularly fond of, and explain why you should visit them immediately.
At a Glance
Adobe Creative Cloud’s Free Assets Section
You might see this option and think to yourself, “Adobe Creative Cloud is not free.” This is true, but neither is Lightroom — and chances are if you have that, you have Adobe Creative Cloud. Adobe offers a lot of free — or “included” — assets many never think to make use of, which includes free presets for Lightroom.
Not only do you have access to any of the current options, but Adobe CC updates periodically to provide new options. In addition to the presets themselves, Adobe provides tips and tricks associated with the style of photography you are interested in — nature, architecture, pet, food, portrait, indoor portrait, and macro are several of the collections. Notably, this is not the site with the most generous selections on the list, but still one worth a mention for how often it goes unnoticed and how easily accessible it is to Lightroom users.
Fix the Photo
If you visit one site on the list, make it Fix the Photo. With more than 2,000 presets and brushes available, you simply will not run out of ways to make use of its extensive library. Not only will you find whatever look you are searching for, but you will also often be treated to more than one collection geared toward helping you achieve your desired output. I will not even begin to list examples of what they have on offer — the list of what they don’t would be significantly shorter.
Fix the Photo is an excellent resource and one you will be glad you checked out.
Lightroom Preset has dozens of free presets available for download. While the site is not as easily navigable as some of the others on this list, it does offer some unique options you may not find elsewhere, including presets for Lightroom Mobile. Lightroom Preset has a blog-style format, which makes specific searching difficult. However, if you have a little scroll-time, the large example images on display will keep you from a lot of needless clicking around.
Photographer Ian Erik Waider specializes in abstract landscape and travel photography in frigid northern locations, such as Antarctica, Iceland, and Greenland. The fine art section of his website is absolutely worth a visit, and luckily Waider also offers a selection of his personal favorite Lightroom presets specifically designed for gorgeous landscape photography at no charge. Many of these also exist as part of purchasable packs he sells on the website, and all of them, as you might have guessed, are incredibly professional. Free collections include “Dark and Moody,” “Black and White Landscapes,” “Autumn Forest,” “Dark Forest Tales,” and “Astrophotography.”
ON1 is a familiar name to a lot of photographers, many of whom use or have used its full-featured RAW editing program, ON1 Photo RAW, as well as its wonderful collection of excellent Photoshop and Lightroom Plugins such as NoNoise AI, Effects, Portrait AI, Resize, and HDR. The site also offers several free LUTs for Photoshop, Lightroom, ON1 Photo RAW, and other programs that accept .CUBE files, as well as a variety of free assets that work with dozens of photo editing apps.
It doesn’t stop there: ON1’s website showcases free access to not only some of its own presets, but also those from ON1 partners like Contrastly and Shotkit. Though the selection isn’t deep, it is quite diverse, making it a worthy visit.
After Fix the Photo, PresetLove may be the most robust option on this list. Name a style or look that you want and it’s probably here — film, portraits, newborns, urban, skin tones, food, Instagram, vintage, cinematic, moody, real estate. The list could go on and on since over 300 free presets await you at PresetLove.com. Better still, the site features a search bar that makes it incredibly easy to locate the preset that is right for you. Or you could just download all of them in one click and receive 21 additional premium presets in the process.
Presets Galore offers a dozen free Lightroom presets for desktop, but its mobile selection offers over four times the content, making this a perfect quick stop for bloggers and Instagrammers seeking an added oomph for their social content. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and Android phones and tablets, the mobile presets are quick and simple to use — Lightroom Mobile also syncs them via Creative Cloud, allowing users to access the looks on their desktop as well. As an added bonus, Presets Galore offers a variety of free overlays, textures, and graphics, as well as Photoshop actions.
While the Shuttersweets website is warm and light, make no mistake: its presets are professional-grade and quite lovely. While it is true that the majority of presets on the site come with a price (though a reasonable one, on a packet basis), it also offers a free collection that features 20 presets that act as a sampler platter for the full options the site has available. But free is free, right?
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.