The following is an excerpt from the SLR Lounge Lightroom Workflow System Workshop on DVD, a system designed to increase your post production speed by 5 to 10 times. Click here to view more details.


In this tutorial, we will go over how to set up a standard import develop preset in Lightroom 4. More specifically, we will show you how we create the unique develop preset used at Lin & Jirsa Photography. A standard develop preset includes adjustments such as sharpening, contrast, and clarity, to an image. We will explain how to create a standard import develop preset that can be applied to all of your images, giving your images a consistent style.

As a side note, if you have purchased and installed the SLR Lounge Lightroom 4 Preset System, you will already have the preset we are creating in this tutorial. However, if you are interested in learning how the preset you purchased was created, this easy tutorial will explain it all, step-by-step.

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The SLR Lounge Standard Import Develop Preset

As mentioned before, this tutorial will show you how to create the exact develop preset used at our studio. If you do not like certain settings in this preset, then tweak them to fit your personal style! However, it is a good idea to choose general settings for your develop preset so that it can be used as a starting point for the bulk of your images. Using a specific develop preset for the majority of your images will help speed up your workflow. Your develop preset will also provide consistent images fit to your liking.

Adjustments in the Develop Module

The first thing we need to do is load up an image in the Develop Module. Double-click on an image in your catalog and bring it into the Develop Module by hitting “D.” Choose an image that is properly exposed with a decent temperature to work with.

The Basic Panel
Head over to the Basic Panel on the right side of Lightroom. To expand or collapse this panel, hit “Ctrl + 1.” First, we are going to adjust the Highlights, Shadows, Whites and Blacks. You can move the sliders by dragging them with your mouse or by mousing over the sliders and then using the up/down arrows on your keyboard.


Bring the Highlights down to -20 to pull down the highlight tones and even out the overall tones in the image. Do not pull the Highlights down too much because it will kill too much contrast in the image. Next, pull your Shadows up to +20 to add details in the shadows. Increase your Whites to +10 to create contrast in the image. Finally, decrease the Blacks to -20. See below for an example. When you increase the Whites and decrease the Blacks, it actually mimics the S-shape on a contrast boosting Tone Curve.


Next, we are going to make adjustments in Clarity and Vibrance. Increase Clarity to +15. This will increase the overall mid-tone contrasts and will also pull out a little more detail in the image. Do not increase Clarity too much as this will give your image an incredibly sharp look. Next, increase Vibrance to +15 to add a bit more color without affecting skin tones in the image. See below for an example.


The Detail Panel
Now we are going to go into our Detail Panel to adjust sharpening. To expand or collapse the Detail Panel, hit “Ctrl + 5.” The Detail Panel can be found a few panels below the Basic Panel.


When you adjust the sharpening in your images, it is a good idea to zoom in 1:1 to see the details more clearly. We are going to adjust the Amount to 70 and bring the Radius up to 1.5. Reduce Detail to 10 and increase Masking to 20. See below for an example. With our Detail and Masking settings set rather low, Lightroom will not sharpen the smallest details, such as pores or blemishes. For Lin & Jirsa Photography, this setting is very important because we are almost always editing portraits.


The Lens Correction Panel
Next, go down to the Lens Correction Panel, which can be expanded or collapsed by hitting “Ctrl + 6.” Make sure you are in Manual in the Lens Correction Panel, as shown below.


Under Lens Vignetting, increase both Amount and Midpoint to +30. This vignette will reverse the natural vignetting caused by most lenses to create an even edge to edge toning.


Next, select Color, which is next to Manual. Check the box next to “Remove Chromatic Aberration” to remover aberration wherever possible.


Creating a Standard Import Develop Preset

Now that we have changed our adjustments, we need to save these changes as a preset. It is a good idea to have a specific organizational structure so that you can quickly and easily access the presets you want.

First, click on the “+” sign next to the Presets Panel. The Presets Panel is located on the left side of Lightroom.


Once you have clicked on the “+” sign, the New Develop Preset Dialogue Box will appear. We want to create a folder, so select “New Folder” from the dropdown menu next to Folder, as shown below.


Another dialogue box will appear where you can name your folder. As mentioned before, you should organize your presets so that you can quickly access them. In the example below, you can see that I have named my folder “00 MY MIXOLOGY.” You can name your folder whatever you like, but it is a good idea to leave the “00” in front of your title so that Lightroom places your presets at the very top of the list. Once you have named your preset, click “Create.”


Now, we can name our preset. This preset will bring your image back to the develop settings we created, so any later adjustments made to the image will be reset. Next, make sure all the settings are checked in the New Develop Preset Dialogue Box by hitting “Check All.” Then hit “Create.” In the example below, I have named our preset “00 Standard Import (Reset).” As you can see, all of the settings are also checked.


Once your preset is created, it will appear under your “00 MY MIXOLOGY” folder under the Presets Panel. Our preset is at the top of the folder because we put “00” before the preset name.


Creating a Second Develop Preset with Profile Correction

After we have created our standard import develop preset, we need to create another preset with Profile Correction. First, make sure that you still have “00 Standard Import (Reset)” selected. Then go back to the Lens Corrections Panel on the right side of Lightroom. Click on “Manual” and adjust the Amount under Lens Vignetting to 0. See below for an example.


Now, to automate the Lens Vignetting, you need to click on “Profile” under the Lens Corrections Panel. Then select “Enable Profile Corrections,” as shown below. Based on the lenses used, this setting allows Lightroom to read from the camera metadata and make adjustments to correct distortion and lens vignetting.


Now, we need to save these settings as a new preset. Once again, click on the “+” sign next to Presets in the Presets Panel. Name the new preset “00 Standard Import (w/ PC)” – PC stands for Profile Corrections. Then hit “Create.”

We now have two versions of the standard import develop preset.

Conclusion & Learn More!

For landscape and nature photographers, select “00 Standard Import (w/ PC)” because the settings will adjust the lens distortion and the natural vignetting that automatically occurs with your images. For those of you who shoot portraits, choose the “00 Standard Import (Reset)” preset. Do not select the preset with Profile Corrections because the settings will distort your subjects. As mentioned before, the presets created in this tutorial are used at Lin & Jirsa Photography. If you do not like how your images look with our presets, then tweak the settings to fit your personal style.

To learn more about the SLR Lounge Workflow System Workshop on DVD or to purchase it, click on this link.

To purchase the Lightroom 4 Workshop Collection which includes A-Z Tutorials, the Preset System, and Workflow DVD, click here.