Lightroom 3 Pt. 3, Batch Processing With Presets

After covering importing and organising files in Lightroom in part 1 and sorting and rating in part 2 I now want to show you how I batch process a wedding in Lightroom 3 by using presets.

We are in the develop module (press “d” to get there if you are not) and we are starting in a collection.


Choose a photo inside a collection that is already well exposed and a good representative of how all other images in that same location or with that same lighting look like. Remember I sort my images into collections based on where I took them and how they are lit so that all images inside a collection will look very similar when it comes to white balance or exposure.
Process that photo how you like it best. I recommend not to go crazy on the processing as you’ll want to have an overall consistent look in all your images and the more distinctive the processing the harder it will be to maintain throughout an entire set.
Usually I set the white balance how I like it which isn’t necessarily neutral but a little warmer, check the exposure is correct and if necessary correct highlights or lighten darker areas and use the luminance sliders to make skin tones look good.



Create a preset based on the processing of that single image.
Click the little “+” on top of “Presets” on the left panel and created a new preset with all the settings used to process the image. In the pop-up dialogue you get to choose how to name the preset, which preset folder you want to save it in and which parameters you would want to include. I usually don’t include cropping and other lens corrections as I do these individually on each image.



Apply that preset to all similar images within a collection.
To apply that preset to only a single image you have to highlight the image and then click on the preset. To apply that preset to the whole collection simply select all within that collection (apple/windows logo + a), right click (or ctrl.-click) on any photo in the bottom thumbnail strip and choose “Develop Settings” and then your newly created preset from the pop-out menu.


I then go through all the images in that collection and tweak single images as desired.
The more presets you create the moremore likely it’ll be that you already have a preset that may work for any new image. I usually try out a few older presets before processing a photo completely new. You can get a good impression by what a preset will look like by hovering over the preset and having a look in your Navigator panel for a preview on the top left.




Import, export and update presets.
If you have created a few nice presets you may want to export them. Just right-click (or ctrl.-click) that new preset and “Export”.

To import presets you have to right-click (or ctrl.-click) anywhere in your preset pane (ideally inside the folder you wish the newly imported preset to be in) and click “Import”. Choose the files you want to import (they should be files ending in “.lrtemplate”) and make sure that they appear in the folder you want them to be in. Organising presets makes a lot of sense the more presets you create.

To update a preset you can either save your changes to it as a new preset or right click (or ctrl.-click) the preset and select “Update with current settings”.


If you are looking for your presets folder to back it up you’ll find it under “Users > Username > Library > Application Support > Adobe > Lightroom > Develop Presets” on a Mac. An easy way of finding that path (if you are on a PC for example as I am not sure where they would be stored there!) is to go to “Preferences” and choose the “Preset” tab, then click “Show Lightroom presets Folder”.

You can also drag and drop presets into this folder instead of importing them in Lightroom itself. However I prefer to do all my changes within Lightroom, including importing files since that is the most reliable way of shifting files around. More on that later when I get to explain how I back up my image files and how I clean up catalogues after deleting images.

I hope you all found this useful and it will make someone’s life easier by saving them time in processing. There is also lots of great presets you can buy or sometimes download for free online.

Next time I will go a little more into the details of how I process my images. If you have any questions let me know and I will try and answer them!

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6 Comments. Leave new

I love this series of posts on Lightroom! It’s so great to be able to see how you work on your photos. Thanks again for writing about this! :)


Thanks, Linda! I am happy to hear that you like this so much.


This is a great series of posts. I started with Lightroom 3 two weeks ago and I’m excited about the next post!


Thank you, Flo!
I am so excited to hear that these help people out. Next one coming up next week, hope you can wait that long!


Ann-Kathrin, I found these 3 posts on the suggestion of Matt & Joerdis, they are so helpful. Thank you! I’m trying to figure out a workflow for my photos and this is really good info. Lightroom is looking very appealing.

I’d love a post (or 2) on how you process your images, too — or if you have any online resources that you can recommend on that.

Thanks again!


This is so fascinating, thanks so much for posting it. I just started using LR4 and I know I couldn’t go back to ACR now.


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