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Adobe Lightroom is a powerful and intuitive software for event photographers of all kinds. Using its many parameters to edit and manipulate photographs can be intimidating though. Lightroom presets are downloadable, pre-adjusted parameters such as tone, hue, vibrance and contrast. With so many sliders and adjustments there is always a danger of overdoing it, so presets can be a great way to get a fine-tuned, professional look.

Here are the 10 best Lightroom presets for event photography:

  1. Photonify Dreamy Presets Collection
  2. Glow Matte Presets Collection
  3. Shutter Pulse Light Leak Preset
  4. 2FX Faded Preset
  5. Preset Love Warm Retro Preset
  6. Presetrain Food Kit Presets Collection
  7. WeEdit.Photos Nightclub Party Presets Collection
  8. ShinyPixel HDR Presets Collection
  9. HubaFilter Pretty Portraits Presets Collection
  10. Matty Vogel Concert Photography Presets Collection

Installing Lightroom Presets

Lightroom presets can be downloaded with a few different file extensions:

  • .XMP (new version)
  • .lrtemplate (old version)
  • .DNG (mobile version)

To install presets that you have downloaded, simply open Lightroom and go to the Development Module. Then, select “Import Presets” and import the preset files. This will make them selectable and able to be applied to photographs.

Applying Presets to Photos

To apply a preset to a photo, open the photo in Lightroom and click “Edit.” Then select “Presets” to open the Presets panel. You can preview how a preset will change a photo’s look by hovering the cursor over it without clicking. When you find one that looks good, click the preset to apply it to the photo. Multiple presets can be applied to one photo, so there is no end to the combinations of creativity!

  1. Photonify Dreamy Presets Collection

For an event photographer, the key to getting great shots is to work quickly and to get as much information into the lens as possible. This can lead to photos that have fantastic emotional content, but the lighting and colors don’t quite match the mood. This is where a dreamy, soft focus preset can take some of the realistic light and soften it or add blurring to enhance the mood of photos taken at romantic events like weddings and anniversary parties.

This collection of Lightroom presets adds a soft outline to the subjects of portraits and enhances pastel colors like pink and yellow. This leads to the dreamy, cloudy look that can be perfect for event photographers. Capturing a magic moment is never easy, so getting the photograph in the moment and editing the mood of the photograph later can be a great way to ensure that you’re getting all the shots you need.

An important thing to keep in mind with soft focus filters is that they can often take away a lot of detail. If you are looking for a sharp and accurate photo, these presets should be avoided. They are perfect for creating a specific mood and atmosphere that some moments can really benefit from, but it can sometimes be at the expense of some of the finer points of the photograph. As with so many other things when it comes to event photography, it’s always best to use your eye and creative judgement.

  1. Glow Matte Presets Collection

If you are photographing an event that is a major life turning point for someone such as a retirement or a 100th birthday, there are some classic looks that are going to immediately impress clients. This matte presets collection gives photos a look like they have been printed on matte photo paper, giving them an instant nostalgic effect. When working with clients, they will always remember how a photo made them feel and the matte effect is a great way to achieve that.

The Glow Matte Presets Collection works by editing the tone curve in Adobe Lightroom. This creates some of the washed-out colors and bleached whites of old-school matte photo paper. By taking away some of the sharpness of the image and flattening the tones, the matte preset manipulates the light in a warm and sentimental way. If photography is supposed to manipulate and affect the emotions of the viewer, the matte look is a great way to do it.

While a duller finish on a photograph can be beautiful and emotional, it is important to think about whether or not that particular picture will benefit from it. The washed-out colors can tone down some of the natural hues that can really make a photo pop. This preset is fully editable, so playing around with it to find a good mix of sharp and dull colors is probably a good idea.

  1. Shutter Pulse Light Leak Preset

Light leaks were once the bane of the film photographer. When a film camera is not sealed correctly, light can seep into the body and expose the film, creating a blurry and colorful spot on the final photograph. With the editing tools in Lightroom and this preset though, you can use the effect to your advantage and control how much of it is integrated into the shot. Light leak is an essential editing tool that can give photos a stunning, vintage look.

The Shutter Pulse Light Leak preset is a great starting point for getting the perfect amount of light leak effect. The light artifact starts at the edge of the canvas, and seeps into the center of the image, so controlling how much is allowed into it, depending on your subject, is a breeze. You can even combine different presets to allow for combinations of light and colors that will take all kinds of photos to the next level.

While light leaks are awesome and edgy looking effects, they aren’t going to work for every single photograph. It is important to think about whether or not the effect is going to be appropriate for the set and setting. For example, if a photo is taken indoors, even a small amount of a light leak effect will look unnatural and artificial. A little bit of thought before applying it will go a long way.

  1. 2FX Faded Preset

With the advent of digital photography and the relative difficulty of getting actual film developed, a lot of people are missing the look of analog photos. One of the quintessential qualities that most are missing is the look of faded film. As in so many cases with the analog versus digital argument, it is the supposed drawbacks of film that give it its unique and desirable character. Luckily though, with digital technology we are not only able to add these quirky artifacts later, we can control and manipulate them as well.

This faded preset is a great example. It takes the look of a distressed piece of film and applies it to your pristine digital photos. Pulling back some of the vibrancy of the colors will give it the vintage faded look that can take any moment and instantly add a hint of wistfulness and a longing for the past. Gold and silver wedding anniversaries are a great subject for this kind of effect and can wow clients in a big way.

The faded effect can be great, but it can also tone down a lot of the colors in a shot. It’s not quite black and white, but it will definitely take down some of the boldness of the colors and not let them pop quite as much as they would have on their own. It will also add quite a bit of grain and noise, so in a low-light type of situation it might be best to leave the faded effect out of it.

  1. Preset Love Warm Retro Preset

Like the saying goes, what was once old is new again. This is especially true for photography in the age of the internet. Most photo apps offer a “retro” or “vintage” type filter, but with Lightroom, the results can be much more accurate and you have so much more control. Getting the warm look of a vintage film camera is easy enough, but adding just enough of it requires a little more fine-tuning.

This retro look by Preset Love gives a ton of sculptability with tone, hue, vibrance, and an endless variety of tweaks. It includes a cross-processed effect which emulates the sharp and clear sheen of film processing. It has a unique characteristic in that it does not modify any of the photo’s natural colors. Instead, it keeps its color integrity and adds a layer of softness and warmth. This can help make any candid shot look professionally staged and beautiful.

This particular preset has a really nice and crisp palette, and can pull details out of a photo that wouldn’t otherwise be noticeable. It can, however, potentially flatten and dull the darker colors. If a particular photo’s composition requires a lot of contrast, this retro effect could lighten the blacks and bring down shadows, dulling the contrast effect. On the other hand if there are a lot of textures on a subject like, perhaps, a wedding cake, this preset can make a lot of those details take center stage.

  1. Presetrain Food Kit Presets Collection

If there is one thing that almost all event photographers have in common, it is that at some point they are going to have to take pictures of food. It is an ever-present subject in event photography, and it’s something that clients take incredibly seriously. People are proud of their food and as the photographer it’s your job to make it look good. That’s why it’s important to have the right tools to make sure you can do it justice.

The Presetrain Food Kit is an extensive collection of Lightroom presets that are designed to make the colors and textures of food so vivid you can almost taste it. With two categories of presets: Adjustment and Artistic, you can tweak your photos with color toning and improve lighting. In settings like backyard barbecues and festivals where lighting can be inconsistent or insufficient, these tools are invaluable for getting delicious-looking pictures.

Depending on the subject, sometimes it’s best to leave a photo exactly the way it is. If the food in a picture is not all that appetizing looking in real life, chances are that adding a preset is only going to make the situation worse. It’s very important to think about what things look like in person and how they will react to any sort of editing later on. Post-production can enhance a photograph, but it can’t fix it.

  1. WeEdit.Photos Nightclub Party Presets Collection

Sooner or later, in your career as an event photographer, you’re going to find yourself in a dark club with loud music playing and tons of people around. Nightclub photography is one of the most challenging settings that a professional photographer can encounter due to its low light and chaotic environment. With the right tools at your disposal though, you can turn this common challenge into a lucrative opportunity for your event photography business.

The WeEdit.Photos Nightclub Party presets collection is a pack of ten Lightroom presets that are specifically tuned for nightclub photography. Whether you need to soften the harsh, high contrast light of the flash, or add a lilac filter to give a dark photo a deep, trendy looking tint, there are a ton of options here for making your photos the thing people remember most from their night at the club.

Because of the harsh contrasting lights and rapid movement that is going on in most nightclubs, there can be a temptation to add a lot of an effect to help with the party mood. One should always be careful with adding presets and effects on low light, though. They tend to add grain and noise which can show up on the deep blacks of a photograph and ruin an otherwise great shot. As with so many things, it is subjective, but as far as effects go, a little goes a long way.

  1. ShinyPixel HDR Presets Collection

HDR stands for high dynamic range, and is a very cool effect that can take a client’s breath away. By taking many different pictures in many different areas of the light spectrum and combining them, HDR photography can bring out insane details that would otherwise not be visible in a regular photograph. The different levels of the light spectrum make it a highly intricate image that captures all the lightest whites, darkest blacks, and everything in between.

ShinyPixel’s HDR presets bring the effect to a new level. While offering the same effect that standard HDR has, it also has a low-noise capability that can cut some of the halos that will occur with HDR photography due to being overloaded with light. Much like the light leak preset, it is nice to be able to make finite adjustments with these effects so they are not so overwhelming and unrealistic. In event photography, the key is capturing real moments, so it’s important to keep that in mind when using any effects.

Without a doubt, the images that can be produced with HDR photography are stunning. Showcasing that level of detail is not always going to be ideal, though. Making sure that the effect matches the subject and that it is well adjusted is going to be the first step to successfully applying this HDR preset.

  1. HubaFilter Pretty Portraits Presets Collection

Portraits are a staple of event photography. Whether it is a wedding or a business conference, the point of taking photographs at events is to take them of people. This is where a preset collection specifically designed for portraits might be an indispensable tool. It’s no secret that the better a client looks in the photographs you take, the more likely they are to hire you again.

The Pretty Portraits presets collection is a comprehensive kit of twenty-five presets that will take any photo subject’s look to the next level. All of these presets are non-destructive meaning they won’t change anything about the photo itself, just add a layer of adjustments that will enhance portraits and bring subjects to life.

Portrait presets are great for impressing clients and getting a professional-looking shot. Since portraits usually include more time to set up than a candid shot, it is important to make sure that the environment is as ideal for portraits as possible. Making sure the subject is in proper lighting and that the photo is well-composed will make or break it no matter how much editing goes on in Lightroom after the fact.

  1. Matty Vogel Concert Photography Presets Collection

Similar to nightclub photography, concert photography is a challenging but rewarding setting for an event photographer. With all the passion and fun going around, concerts are a great place to capture people having a great time and looking their best. They can also be nightmares for capturing good lighting and composing a good blend of colors and textures. This is where a good preset filter can come in handy.

Matty Vogel is a photographer who developed these two presets to be used specifically at concerts. With some tone-splitting and hue adjustments, the presets give photos a nice, high contrast energy that is essential for music photography. There are two in the pack including one for color and one for black and white, giving you a lot of post-production options.

It’s always going to be hard to develop a Lightroom preset that is one-size-fits-all. The lighting and set-up of any concert venue are going to be different from show to show, and no filter can replace making good decisions about exposure and focus at the moment. However, by using best practices while taking photos and when editing after the fact, you can produce beautiful shots that will keep clients wanting more.

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