My 5 Favorite Free Lightroom Presets

My 5 Favorite Free Lightroom Presets

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In 3 Photography Post-Processing Tips, I shared that my favorite photo-editing software is Adobe Lightroom. If you currently do not use Lightroom to edit photos, I highly recommend it! You can get it out here.

It took me a while after I began using it to find out, though, that there are these things called “presets” that can be applied to pictures, like a filter! In one click, the majority of the editing is done and I only have to do some minor touch-ups with shadows/highlights. As you may guess, Lightroom presets save a lot of time and keep photos looking consistent. For all you Photoshop junkies out there, yes, there’s a Photoshop equivalent called “actions.” However, since I am an avid Lightroom user, I will share my 5 favorite (free!) Lightroom presets AND where I got them below:

1. Smart Fill Light

Not gonna lie, 90% of my pictures have the preset Smart Fill Light applied to them. It makes images look sharper and colors pop. This preset looks best applied to pics taken outdoors or in natural light.

Venice Gondola Ride
Time for a Gondola Ride!
Gardens of Versailles
A Charming Little Town: Carmel-by-the-Sea
Lurie Garden during Autumn in Chicago Millennium Park
Selfies & Sculptures at Millennium Park

Get it here.

2. Vintage Garden

I like to apply this preset to outdoorsy pictures and to plants. The resulting photos really do look like they came out of a vintage album!

Bowood Farms Succulents St. Louis
Cafe Osage in St. Louis
Road Between Trees in Forest Park St. Louis
Last of Fall: Polaroids and Photos in Forest Park
Flock of Geese in Forest Park St. Louis
Last of Fall: Polaroids and Photos in Forest Park
halloween pumpkins grant's farm decorations
Grant’s Farm

Get it here.

3. Big Bold Color

I like to use this one the most for portrait shots*. It’s a subtle preset that evenly brightens the picture and adds a boost of “big bold color.”

Spring Fever
Spring Fever

*If you’re in the Dallas area and need portrait shots (whether you’re a student, fashion blogger, etc.), contact me for more info!

Get it here.

4. Drama Queen

Who doesn’t love a little bit of drama in life? I like how this preset makes the picture look more textured and “grungier.”

Truck Yard Dallas Texas
Truck Yard
Truck Yard Texas
Truck Yard
St. Louis Cherokee Street Indian statue sign
Cherokee Street

Get it here.

5. Pop Portrait

This preset is for all color-lovers out there! In addition to subjects that contain a lot of color, I found that this preset also works really well with food photography.

Colorful Murals in the LA Arts District
Colorful Murals in the LA Arts District
Our Friend Fluid Metal Nancy Rubins
Gagosian Gallery in NYC Chelsea
Thai fried rice Viv
NYC Food Adventures

Get it here.

Now on to you! What are your favorite Lightroom presets or Photoshop actions? What situations do you use them in? Share in the comments below!

If you don’t have Lightroom yet, you can purchase it from Adobe’s website.

What other kinds of tutorials would you be interested in?

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Another post-processing tutorial: 3 Photography Post-Processing Tips

  • I’ve always loved how vibrant the colors in your pictures always looked, and how everything really seems to pop! I’ll definitely need to look into these presets!

  • KMG

    Hi Jessica 🙂
    Loved this post. I switched from Photoshop to Lightroom about two years ago and can finally say that I got the hang of it and really prefer it most of the time. Funny, never thought I’d say that 😀 Thanks for your tips. It’s amazing how many Lightroom Presets are out there. I don’t know if you know RadLabs? They’re not free but they have freebies and a few presets (or actions, they have both) don’t cost that much. Look into it! I don’t use them that often anymore, but I found them really helpful. Greetings 🙂

    • Thanks, so glad to help! I’ve never heard of RadLabs; I appreciate the recommendation. I also have Perfect Effects (not free either) that allows you to customize with filters and effects. There are so many options, perhaps even too many options!

  • I am really learning a lot and enjoying your photography tutorials.

    • Hey that’s awesome! My goal is to write them every week, so you can check back later for more!

  • Hey Jessica! I really appreciate you shouting out presets from my site! Let me know if you want to connect: .

  • You are so right! Presets help to make your photos look consistent even if you’ve taken it using different setting or lighting. I also use Lightroom to post-process my photos and I love it! Thank you for sharing these presets. I love the smart fill light and vintage garden. <3

  • Fortuitous Foodies

    Great post! Thanks for sharing!
    Emily //

  • Hi Jessica, I love your work! Thanks for sharing!
    I would like to contribute as well, as a food blogger and photographer myself, Lightroom is part of my daily life 🙂
    here is my list of favorite Presets



    Free Lightroom Presets http://www.Free