How I Use My Preset (FREE Preset Included)

First things first, if you're reading this, you should have already downloaded my free Lightroom preset; if you haven't, hold that thought, head over here, and download your brand new preset.

To import your preset into Lightroom

— once you download the preset here, you’ll be linked to a zip file of the preset as well as download instructions (a second copy of both things will also be emailed to you as a backup). Those should walk you through the install process.

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Based off of my own style and branding, I’ve curated a free preset for you to use and try out on your own work. Obviously with my own specialization on taking portraits—either indoor or out—I’ve found that my preset works the best on portrait-style work, but it’s also versatile enough to be applied to other styles of photography depending on your own style and taste. This preset was developed intentionally for RAW image files (it will work on jpegs, but keep in mind that it wasn’t designed for jpegs, so it’s not always going to act the same as it would on a RAW file), and as always with any editing, presets are always going to work best on a properly exposed (or slightly underexposed) image. 

I shouldn’t need to iterate that a basic understanding of Lightroom should go without saying for any photographer, but I’m going to. You should always have a good grasp of your programs before it comes to experimenting and playing around; it’s like saying that you need to know the rules before you can break them. I know that Lightroom can be an overwhelming application, but just take it little by little, learn the modules individually, and as always, practice makes perfect. 

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I wanted to put together a quick blog post for you so that you can take in how I utilize my own preset in a couple of different scenarios. No matter the scenario, the process is usually the same for me when it comes to editing, so I’ll also share a breakdown of that thought process here for you.

After importing and culling my images, I like to start from the top modules and then work my way down:

Exposure and white balance always comes first - Adjust your image until it’s properly exposed, and then adjust the white balance. I personally shoot in Kelvin white balance so that I have the most control when shooting, and then I also adjust my white balance manually because I find that the “auto” function doesn’t always work the best.

Then I’ll apply my preset - Although there are times when I can toss my preset on and be good to go, more times than not I’m going to have to make a few tweaks and adjustments.

What those tweaks usually look like for me are:

Bring the highlights up or down
Same goes with the shadows
Tweak the saturation
Move down and adjust the lens/profile corrections
See if there are any colours that I need to boost or desaturate in the HSL module
Increase or decrease the sharpening
Adjust the grain based on my personal preference and style


Then I’m all good to go and ready to export/edit the rest of my session - I’ll then repeat the process on the rest of my images, or copy and paste the settings to any image that was taken during the same few minutes or with the same lighting conditions. 

There we go, a rundown on how I like to use my own preset.

If you have any more questions that I didn’t address in this post about how I utilize my own preset, feel free to leave them for me here and I’ll help out however I can. If you’ve already downloaded my preset and used it on a few of your images, I would LOVE to see the results, so be sure to tag me in Instagram (be sure that your profile is public if you want me to be able to see your posts!), or use the hashtag #kaihlatonaipresets, I can’t wait to see your work!