In a perfect world, I would love for every preset to be a huge hit immediately with all of you! But although the majority of feedback I get is extremely positive, unfortunately once in a while, I hear back from someone that they're not pleased with the result they're getting from a certain preset or even a collection. I wanted to give you guys a little guide to some things you can do to prevent or handle that situation. 

1) Before you buy: understanding your needs

Not every Lightroom preset is going to be right for every photographer, and not every collection is going to be a perfect fit for every photographer either. The fact that we've got over 300 presets in this store and they are ALL different, is a testament to the many diverse styles and needs in the photography community we serve. And what seems like a loser preset to one person might be The One for someone else! I can't tell you how many times I was thinking of scrapping a preset in the testing phase, only to have one or more of my beta testers tell me it was one of their favorites! So the question is, how do you know which ones will be perfect for you

Something for every taste under the sun! Original image by C&D Photography

2) Ask for help! 

I *love* to help people find just the presets that will be ideal for their needs. I know them all by heart and I'm also happy to send you previews of various presets (just email me some soocs -- --and let me know what kind of look you're going for and I'll send you previews of some of my top suggestions!) Customer satisfaction is hugely important to me, and I don't want anyone to feel like they're flying blind making this investment. You can also get great advice from our fabulous VIP Lounge group on Facebook---our beta tester team is active there, so even if I don't see your question right away, someone knowledgeable is bound to help! 

2) Pay attention to the BEFORE images (Not just the afters.) 

One of the things that makes Silky Presets unique is that we do show before & afters for every single Lightroom preset we offer. We hope this will help you make an educated decision about what you want, and increase overall satisfaction. But it's very important when you are shopping, to pay special attention to the BEFORE images, as well as the AFTERs. These will give you a solid idea of the kind of images the preset will work best on. If your images are generally darker and cooler straight out of camera, look for BEFORE images that are darker and cooler. If your images are generally pretty well exposed but tend to be washed out color-wise, look for presets that enhance colors without brightening as much. If you notice the before image has a greenish cast to it, and the after looks corrected, chances are the preset runs a little pink, to correct for those +unflattering green and yellow casts. 


At first glance, looking at the Afters, you might think these presets were similar. But examination of the Befores shows that HotPepper has a very strong warming effect (her skin goes from almost blue to a warm gold) as well as some significant brightening, while AppleCrisp only slightly brightens and mainly enhances colors without any global adjustments to temperature. Images by Liberty Kifer & Amanda Laing Photography

3) Give it a little time.

I would say the majority of support requests I've gotten where someone says "I don't like the way this preset looks" come in within 15 minutes of the purchase. This just isn't enough time to really get a feel for a preset and where it's going to work the best. If you use a warming preset like BoosterShot, for example, on a warm image, it's going to look overly orange. But throw it on a cooler image, it's the bee's knees! Maybe the preset in question isn't ideal for the purpose you had in mind, but chances are, you'll find one you love it for! If there's one thing I'm sure of, it's that every preset I've created is perfect---for something. ;) The more you use them, the more you'll get a feel (kind of a mental image) of what each one will do and where it will shine best!

4) Sometimes the file type can affect how the presets are working.

A couple of notes about this. First of all, if you're shooting on a 5d Mark iii or other professional camera, your presets are going to look VERY different on those files than they will on the much smaller files from a Rebel. Grain will look much stronger on smaller files, and might be almost unnoticeable on a very large file. Things like contrast and clarity are also very much affected by file size. And if you've opened a file into Photoshop and saved it back into Lightroom as a TIFF or other format, your presets will look different on that file type than they would on the original RAW or JPEG file. And yes, even between RAW and JPEG formats, you'll see differences. When in doubt, you're usually better off using the presets on the original file and *then* doing any additional edits in Photoshop. But you might very well get some effects you love, doing it the reverse way. It's just a matter of trial and error and experimentation. 


5) Sometimes small adjustments are all you need!

Sometimes one-click perfection from your preset just isn't realistic. If you have a very dark or very bright image to start with, chances are you will need to make an exposure adjustment after applying the preset. Same thing is true of white balance---if you have a very cool or very warm starting white balance, a preset might not correct enough, and you'll need to push that slider a bit further. In the case of the Soul Collection, the nature of the presets means that they are more sensitive to shifts of white balance, so I included a Temperature Fix preset in that collection (or you can purchase it, along with 5 grain presets, for $5 HERE ) You might find that solves any white balance issues pretty well! 

6) Try fine-tuning with the Adjustment Kits and/or brushes

If you're finding it frustrating or challenging to make adjustments by hand, I *strongly* encourage you to consider the Adjustment Kits we offer. They offer an extremely fast and simple way to make adjustments to single aspects of an image at a time, and the ability to preview the change is very helpful and time-saving--no more fiddling with the sliders! Just mouse over the adjustments until you see the degree of change you want, and click. These adjustments can take a preset from "Good" or "Has potential" to total perfection in a matter of 2 or 3 extra clicks! And you can just as easily use them to build an edit from the ground up. With or without presets, these kits are an amazing addition to any Lightroom workflow. Our Silky Strokes brushes give an even finer level of control, allowing you to fix skin tones, add color to dull areas, enhance details, etc--the effect ONLY goes where YOU want it. This allows for a greater degree of subtlety with your edits, and can also open up possibilities for really dramatic edits!

If this looks familiar, it's because I borrowed it from an earlier article on the Adjustment Kits & Brushes-- if you haven't read that yet, I highly recommend it! <Check it out here> 

7) If you're still not happy, get in touch--I'll do whatever I can to help! 

Bottom line---I want you to be happy. It really is important to me. I wouldn't be in this business if I wasn't truly passionate about it, and I want every customer of mine to feel like they got a great value for their hard-earned money. If you're still unhappy with something you purchased--please, let's talk! I will do everything in my power to help you walk away happy--and come back again! 

Hope this little guide will be helpful and I hope all of you are having a wonderful summer! Oh, and stay tuned---I'm heading to Photoshop World Conference & Expo in Las Vegas in two weeks and I'll be blogging about my experiences there :) So excited!-- Liberty, Silky Presets 

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  1. Laura

    I love your Lightroom Presets! They bring my photos to life!

  2. Stephanie Johnson


    This was very well written. So much wonderful information! Also, thank you for linking to your Adjustment kits and Brushes blog. That is another favorite and helpful article of mine. As I use your Adjustment Kits and Brushes on all my work! :)

    Stephanie Johnson
    Vibrant Lens Photography

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