This little project has been a long time coming.
Since enrolling myself in online photography school, I knew I wanted to develop my own distinct photo-editing style—one that tipped its hat to the photographers before me who inspired me, but was also uniquely its own.
A years-long user of Lightroom CC, I knew in the back of my mind my editing techniques would eventually culminate in presets (for those not-in-the-know, presets are editing adjustments that can all by applied simultaneously with the click of one button in Lightroom), and they did. On my Lightroom presets dash right now, I have 8 custom presets I circle back to again and again for most of my editing needs.
I didn’t want to release my custom presets to the world, though, until I was sure they were ready—meaning, until I was using my own presets after every single shoot because they worked for the kinds of photos I shoot, the kinds of photos which presumably other photographers who follow this blog want to shoot.
Then last month, a client said to me, “My friend saw these photos and asked if you shot them. She said she can always identify your work because you have such a distinct style.”
Ding ding ding!
Though a little scary, it felt like a sign that I was ready to share 3 of the presets I had pieced together for some of my most common photographic scenarios—shooting inside a café or studio with a natural light source; shooting outdoors in the dog days of summer; and shooting lifestyle headshots by a window or in the shade of a city building.
These presets are free to download here, and they’re called Paris Morning, Los Angeles Summer, and Alexandria Café—all cities that all evoke their own feeling as soon as we hear their names. I thought these names might lend insight into how to use them most effectively… but I also chose them because they brought me joy!
I’m excited to share below how each of these presets is best used, as well as answer some FAQ I’m getting about them.
Preset #1 - Los Angeles Summer
This is definitely my “influencer preset.” When I see what’s trending right now on Instagram, it’s photos edited with presets like this one. The blues are made a little more aqua; blond hair is made a little brighter; and even noonday light is made to look a lot like the start of golden hour.
I think this preset is best used for photos shot outdoors, with the sun behind your subject, particularly during summer months. I designed it to feel a little nostalgic, but also adventurous and free. If that’s the mood of the scene you’ve captured, this preset is a great one for that!
Preset #2 - Paris Morning
This was the first preset I developed of the 3 I’m offering right now for free, and while it was created for portraits, it’s also amazing for flat lays. If you’re shooting an overhead breakfast-in-bed scene, or a tabletop with a mug of tea, a journal, some wildflowers and your favorite pen, Paris Morning is a romantic, soft preset that will instantly add a peaceful feeling to your image.
With this preset, shadows are lifted and have a pinkish tint; skin looks brighter (but still soft); and all colors are balanced to feel deep without feeling dark. Would be great for elopement shots, flowers, or headshots that should have a soft, feminine feel.
Preset #3 - Alexandria Café
A while back I housesat in the DC area and spent a couple days in the adjacent city of Alexandria—one of the top fashion-blog cities in the US. The main street in this city was a mile straight of beautiful, colorful storefronts, cobblestone side streets, and cafés with outdoor tables, umbrellas, and flower beds.
With all the businesses crunched so close together, it was hard to find that magical slant of light—but there was still enough natural light to make do. It reminded me of when I shoot headshots in coffee shops back home, and maybe only one wall has a good window in it to let in that light that’s perfect for bio-page portraits.
This preset was created with those conditions in mind. Exposure is boosted, along with clarity; warm tones are enriched; and shadows are pulled up while highlights are pulled down, so that any artificial indoor light in the background isn’t harsh or distracting.
Common Questions about These Presets
Are your presets for desktop or mobile?
I created these ones for desktop, and I will soon work on converting them for mobile!
What kind of camera do you use?
Great question! I’m using a Sony mirrorless camera, and that WILL affect how these presets work for you. If you’re shooting on a Canon DSLR, you might find that these presets come out very warm, and you may need to adjust the temperature back a bit.
What version of Lightroom are they for?
I created them in an older version of Lightroom CC (I don’t like having to run those pesky updates!). All of the files end “.LRtemplate,” and if you’re running Lightroom Classic or even a more updated version of CC, you might need to convert the files from .LRtemplate to .xmp.
How can I convert the files for Lightroom classic?
When I had these presets tested by other photographers, I got the feedback that this tutorial did the trick!
Is it okay if I change them up a bit as I edit my photos?
Yes! I fully expect that these presets won’t achieve all your favorite edits in just one click. When I download presets from other photographers, I always adjust at least one thing about them—I boost my whites, decrease the saturation of reds, something. Everyone’s personal style and preferences are different; these are just intended to give you a jump start!
Why are you giving them away for free?
I believe in paying it forward, honestly! I have some paid resources for photographers coming out soon, but if I can offer a handful of really useful tools for photographers who aren’t quite ready for those bigger things yet, I want to be accessible to as many people as possible.
Are you ready? Get the presets here!
When you make your edits, I’d love to see your before-and-afters! Post them on Instagram and tag me @alexisthegreek, and use the hashtag #atgpresets so I can take a peek and leave you some love!
Hello! My name is Alexis.
Coffee lover, day dreamer, foodie, and creative. Currently working and living in New Hampshire, I’m an eclectic mix of forward-looking and completely old-fashioned.