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Importing in Lightroom using Presets

One of the great things about Adobe Lightroom is its ability to speed up a photographer’s workflow. There are many ways to do this within both the Library module and the Develop module, but there is an often overlooked method when Importing. It makes sense to have your image looking as good as possible before editing actually starts, especially when it involves less of our precious time.

I’m sure that many readers of TipSquirrel are familiar with the Development Presets that can be applied to an image. Some will also be aware of the Camera Calibration tab that allows (amongst other things) the image on screen to closer resemble what you saw on the back of your camera. In this tutorial, I plan to show how to apply both of these at the point of import. This allows changes to be made to the images as it is being imported into Lightroom.

One of the major benefits of this method, is that if you have the client viewing the images while shooting tethered, they will see the photos that look great ‘straight out of camera’


First we need a preset to apply on import. This could be one that you have already downloaded, one of the standard LR presets or one you create yourself. in this example, I shall create a new preset that I can use on many imports to come.

In the Develop module, I tick the Enable Profile Corrections box in the Lens Corrections tab of the right hand panel. I also choose the Camera Landscape profile from the Camera Calibration tab below.

These settings are the basis of my Import Preset that will be applied to every image that I import. Now we need to create the preset, by clicking the + icon in the Presets tab in the left hand panel.

This will bring up the Preset Dialog box as shown below

Only check the boxes for the settings you want to apply on import. In the case of presets, less is often more.. more useful that is as then you can mix an match your use of presets.

Once you have named your preset, click the Create button. I find that it useful to create a few different import presets based on what I am shooting, whether it be weddings, outdoor portraits or landscapes etc.

Now that the presets are created it is time to apply them to an Import.

Go to the Import Dialog box by clicking File/Import Photos

this will open the Import Dialog box, locate the photos you wish to import and look for the Apply During Import tab on the right hand side panel.

Click on the Develop Settings to bring up your choice of preset to apply

You can choose any of the presets that exist in your Lightroom Catalog but for this example I want to apply one of my Import presets.

Fill in your import details as you normally would, ie your filenames, keywords etc and import your images.

The preset chosen will apply to all of the images imported, so that the first images seen by the client have had any lens distortion removed and that the camera profile looks like the back of the camera.

The image above shows the before and after of applying the preset on import. the differences are quite subtle in this case but you can apply any preset creating quite dramatic images straight from import.

As always, feel free to add any comments or questions below

About Scot Baston (31 Articles)
Scot Baston is a Commercial & Wedding Photographer that lives on the south coast of Devon, that inspires much of his work. Whether it the technical or emotive sides, Photography is a passion that continues to challenge and inspire.

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