Lightroom is unquestionably a powerful image processing application; even if you were to make use of only its built-in tools, you (and your photos) would be in pretty good shape. But, as with anything, there’s always room for improvement. Fortunately, Lightroom makes it easy for users to fill in gaps left by the software. One of the most common ways of extending Lightroom’s usability and expanding its power is via the use of presets. Lightroom presets, in short, allow you to enhance (improve?) your photos in a simple, streamlined fashion. Two questions frequently asked relating to Lightroom presets include: “Where do I find them?” and “How do I install them?”
Update: October 2017
A lot of people seem to be having issues figuring out how to install presets in Lightroom CC, Adobie's newest version of Lightroom. So we decided to make a quick video for you.
How to Install Presets in Older Versions of Lightroom
The answer to the first question is easy.
As far as how to install the presets, this isn’t particularly difficult but it also isn’t as straightforward as some users might think. So here’s a little help for those who need it.
1. Download presets. You can get them from presetify.com or from the hundreds of other sources across the Web — some are free, some you will need to pay for. There are plenty of options at your disposal.
2. Locate and uncompress your files. Presets typically arrive as .zip files, so you will need to unzip them before you can use them. Uncompressed Lightroom presets have a .lrtemplate extension.
3. Open Lightroom.
4. If you’re using a Mac, locate the top menu bar and navigate to Lightroom > Preferences. In Windows, you will navigate to Edit > Preferences.
5. When the Preferences box appears, select the Presets tab.
6. Click on the button labeled “Show Lightroom Presets Folder…”
7. A new Finder window (Mac) or Explorer window (Windows) will appear. Open the Lightroom folder, then open the Develop Presets folder.
8. Copy and paste presets into this folder.
9. Restart Lightroom. You will find your new presets located in the Develop Module under the Presets section, along the left side of the screen.
These steps cover the basics of getting presets into Lightroom. As an alternate method — if you want to apply some customization to your presets collection — you can take advantage of the contextual options available by right-clicking (or control-/ctrl-click) within the Presets section. You can make a new destination folder for your presets or rename or delete an existing folder. By selecting the Import… option you will be able to quickly copy presets from any given location to the selected folder.
Default file path for the necessary location of the Presets folder:
Mac: Macintosh HD\Users\\Library\Application Support\Adobe\Lightroom\Develop Presets
Windows: Computer\[C:]\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Lightroom\Develop Presets