About lightroom CC and Instagram Presets and why you should not buy them

The Instagram lightroom presets are big business. Many influencers sell the beautiful colours of their feed for some hard cash. In this article I will explain why buying them could lead to disappointment. I also encourage you to create your own Lightroom presets with a couple of tips. Let’s dive right in!

If you are searching for a detailed manual about lightroom CC, this is not the article for you. I want to help you to find and create your own preset. But you need to have a little understanding of the program already.

Why not buy Lightroom Instagram presets?

If you are unfamiliar with Lightroom (CC) and if your creativity doesn’t limit you to one specific kind of photograph setting (backlight, indoors/outdoors, different background colours) that perfect lightroom preset of your favourite Instagram influencer might lead to disappointment. Every picture is different that’s why a Lightroom preset should also be treated as one.

-You will not get that perfect feed by buying one of those presets

A lightroom preset that works wonders with your outdoor outfit pictures, might look terrible on your food pictures. Your favourite Instagrammer most likely uses this preset as a rough start and will do minor, but more likely major editing tweaks, ending up with a completely different preset he/she started with.  If you blindly buy a preset (and most are expensive) and you have little Lightroom (CC) knowledge, you’ll probably get lost in the long list of light and colour options. That’s why I advice you to create your own! By looking at your favourite Instagrammers and discover what you like about them and how you could recreate your own filter. No worries, I’m going to help you.

On the right the stunning feed of Marta Sierra. 

Let’s start with creating your own Instagram presets!

Collect the pictures of your favourite Instagram feeds
First collect your favourite pictures of your favourite feeds and place them next to each other. You can use online tools to download your favourite Instagram pictures like: http://insta-downloader.net
Note: also look at the subject of the pictures and the angles. If you like a variety of Instagram accounts that have a different focus (subject), choose the pictures that match the most with each other and try to stick with that for a month or two. Once you get the hang of Lightroom CC you’ll find it much easier to create more variety in colours and lightones while keeping a well designed and coherent feed.

What do your Instagram pictures and your favourite collected ones have in common?
In terms of editing; try to find out what fascinates you about them and why. Now look at your own feed and find out what you need to do. Write it down!

But I really want to buy someones presets!
Ofcourse, then go for it! You can buy a preset and analyse how your favourite Instagrammers edits his/her picture. That can be useful.
You can even try to mimic all the edits you think he/she might be doing. But creating your own probably gives you more creativity and fun.

Before you start photographing…. Changing your camera setting. Shoot in RAW!
Always shoot in RAW (if possible). Most camera’s nowadays (excluding your phone) have a RAW option. RAW gives “”you the ability to easily alter white balance. In general, processing images on a computer instead of in-camera means you‘re in charge, so you can tailor all raw conversion decisions to your taste and needs.”Source Macworld
I’m going to write it one more time: shoot in RAW! 😉

Once you’re done with the shoot, import them in Lightroom and let the fun begin!

Before you do anything in Lightroom:
Always check the following box: Remove chromatic aberration.
Chromatic aberration is a common (and annoying) lens problem. It causes the objects in your image to have colored lines, usually purple or green. Fortunately, you can easily remove it in Lightroom, but sometimes it can be difficult to detect the issue.” source “diyphotography”

Light

Before you go all crazy with the colour options, I advice (but that’s me ;)) you, to first edit the lighting. Lighting can already crank up your pictures a lot.

Exposure
Exposure is your best friend when your picture is in general too dark or too light (when, for example, you miscalculated your ISO). If you prefer a light and bright picture you can slide your exposure more to the right, if you want a more darkish vibe, turn it to the left.

Contrast, highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks
I don’t want to explain all the variety in these options. It’s better that you try them out for yourself. See what happens if you slide your shadows to the right etc.
If you like a pop of brightness, slide your whites to the right. If you like to create a lot of depth, use the contrast (slide right) and shadows (slide left). I personally love to turn the highlights completely to the left side. I slide my shadows and blacks more to the right side.

Tip:
Is there actually any black colour visible in the pictures of your favourite Instagrammer? Your brain can trick you into seeing black, even if the colour of that blackish skirt is actually a very dark green. If so, try to get rid of the black surfaces. By tweaking with your exposure, shadows and blacks.

Colour

Temperature
By tweaking with cold and warmth tones your picture changes a lot quickly. Lightroom is all about subtle changes. If you like a more cold atmosphere and love the greens and blue it’s better to go for a colder choice (left). If you like oranges, browns and yellows you should go for a warmer vibe and turn this bar more to the right.

Saturation and Vibrance
If you are into bright and happy colours you want to go for a bit more saturation and a lot more vibrance. Vibrance can be used to increase the intensity of the more muted colours in your pictures, leaving saturated colors alone. If you like the well balanced, soft and sometimes moody tones you should use desaturation. In case you want to create a more “mature look” a desaturated feed is also better.

As mentioned before in the lightning section, it’s going to pay off when you play with the colour options for a while and see what it does to your picture. Lightroom is also a great way to understand the colour construction in your pictures and thus also in real life.

Light

The colours red,orange and yellow @ Hue, saturation and luminance
In most pictures these are the tweaks you need to master. Too much luminance and your skin turns into a light bulb, to little and you look like your tan has gone terribly wrong. The same goes with red and yellow. Most Instagrammers desaturate the yellow. Some also shift the yellow hue slightly to right. Be careful when you are shifting with the hues. Your pictures could turn out looking unnatural. I saw pictures of girls trying to find that perfect greenish tone for their forest pictures. (You’ll get these soft greenish tones when playing with the yellow hue). Unfortunately most skin tones also have a yellow tone and the end result is some green leaves and alos greenish looking faces.45

When tweaking the hue/saturation/luminance in your pictures, you’ll already see a lot of difference. Don’t worry if your head is spinning at first, we’ve all been there.

Left: the desatured feed with popping oranges of Tezza versus right: the bright and happy saturated colours from Dani Dazey. 

Effects and Details

Effects
The additional effects that Lightroom offers could give your pictures more character. Grain is a very popular edit nowadays. It gives your picture a retro vibe. The same goes with vignette I usually don’t touch clarity or the dehaze function.

Sharpen
Is your picture a bit blurry? Don’t worry, you can sharpen it a little bit with the sharpen tool It’s also a great option if your sharp picture needs to be crystal sharp. 

Dutch and scratches
You see a lot of scratches on pictures to create that vintage vibe. Unfortunately, this is something Lightroom doesn’t offer. But there a couple of APPs that help you to create a dusty layer on top of your picture. Try for example the Apps “Wings” and “Faded”. Both are great for adding dust, scratches, snow, rain etc.
You can also use Adobe Photoshop by putting a .png scratch layer on top of the pictures that needs a “vintage look”.

Extra tips (You need to have Adobe Photoshop)

A more detailed analyzation of the colours of your favourite picture
As mentioned before, your head can generalise certain colours of an image. To truly understand the colours in a picture, the Adobe color picker tool is a genius tool to analyse colours. Sometimes you might think that you are seeing a red skirt, while it’s actually a more brown colour. By using the color picker tool, you can click on certain colours in your pictures which Adobe will isolate. You’ll see the isolated colour in the left corner.  You can also collect these colours as a colour-chart and use them as a base for your Instagram feed. Certain colours that keep appearing in your feed creates coherency.

More Tips
There are a lot of pictures that are a combination of several pictures. If you like two different edit of you pictures you can use Adobe Photoshop to erase certain parts of picture A and replace them with B (by layering your pictures).

As you can see, editing pictures using Lightroom takes time and practise. You now know why buying Instagram presets could lead to disappointment. And I hope that I have given you some tips and tricks into creating your own presets. If you have any tips you like to share, please write them down and I will add them to this article (with credits to you ofcourse ;))

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2 Comments

  1. February 4, 2019 / 9:14 pm

    Ik begrijp dat mensen zulke ‘presets’ willen hebben maar ik zou het zelf ook nooit kopen. Zelf bewerk ik elke foto nog individueel omdat zulke presets ook niet zomaar werken op elke foto. Veel hangt al af van je beginfoto hoe die preset gaat uitdraaien daarop en uiteindelijk ben je nog vanalles zelf aan het aanpassen :’) Ik vind de prijs waarvoor die presets verkocht worden ook veel te duur voor de moeite die Lightroom kost om het even zelf uit te zoeken

    • Eva
      Author
      February 15, 2019 / 9:46 am

      Hoi Nena! Helemaal mee eens, zonde van je geld. Ik doe hetzelfde. 😀

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