by Karna Small

Be it for work or school you will find yourself repeatedly looking for a bright, colorful photo. But most photos are either a bit dark and flat or overexposed and slightly washed out. You need color and brightness. Adobe Lightroom presets will do the trick and save you lots of time.

Lightroom mobile presets are user friendly and instantly create consistency across your digital content. This post walks you through what a preset is, how to get one, and why they help your personal and/or professional brand’s public image.

What is Lightroom Preset?

Adobe LightRoom Preset Before and After
Adobe LightRoom Preset Before and After

If you are reading this thinking, “what the heck is Lightroom and what is a preset,” no worries, let me explain… First, Lightroom is an adobe suite platform that is available on your computer, iPad, and smartphone. There is a free version of Lightroom available through the app store for your phone, but you do have to pay a subscription fee in order to have it operate on your computer. So in the interest of a college budget, this blog post will focus on the free Lightroom mobile app for your phone or tablet. Second, a preset is quite literally a group of pre-programmed settings that you apply to any JPEG or PNG file. So when you go to edit a photo’s lighting, color scheme, and overall look, you have a preset edit that you can apply for consistency.

How to Get a Lightroom Preset

In-App Presets

The Lightroom Mobile app has presets included. These are much more basic, similar to Instagram in-app filters. To access these, upload a photo to edit, select the photo so that you are in editing mode, and scroll to the far right of the bottom tab until you see “presets.” You will see a drop-down menu at the top of this section that allows you to click on one of the following: color, creative, B&W, defaults, curve, grain, optics, sharpening, vignetting, or user presets. Each of these, excluding user presets, has presets already included that you can test out on your photos.


Many influencers, photographers, and content creators have made their presets available for purchase through Etsy. You can narrow your search by keywords including “Lightroom mobile preset,” “light and bright preset,” “tropical preset,” and any other keywords that indicate the look you are trying to go for.

Be aware that Etsy is filled with presets that range widely in quality. You can buy a preset for $3.00 on Etsy, and although this is great for your wallet, it is not going to be of great quality. I would recommend choosing a preset that is at least $10, but no more than $25. Some presets come in packs of 5, 10, or 15 for $50.

You truly don’t need more than one or two presets, because once you download each preset, you can edit the preset’s settings in the Lightroom mobile app and save it as a new copy. For example, I use my own Simply Karna’s Signature Preset on all of my photos, but I have a version with a lower exposure for outdoor photos and another version with higher exposure for indoor photos. This preset, by the way, was used to brighten and sharpen the photos used in the “Meet the Summer CCPA Fellows” story.

Tips for Choosing the Right Preset for Your Brand:

Adobe LightRoom Preset Before and After
Adobe LightRoom Preset Before and After

Now that we have established what a Lightroom mobile preset is, let’s talk about where to get a preset. You first have to download the Lightroom mobile app onto your phone and create a free account. Once this is done, there are multiple platforms that offer presets either for free or for purchase. A quick search for “Lightroom Mobile Presets” will reveal many. But don’t stop there, look at how others are using presets.

Start with some hardcore Instagram stalking. Get lost in a trail of Instagram feeds searching for hashtags relating to presets. For example, #lightroompresets, #bloggerpresets, #influencerpresets are all great places to start. These hashtags will include photos edited with certain presets. Bookmark or screenshot photos that have the preset look you’re going for, then take note of what they have in common. Do they all have very warm, earthy tones? Do they emphasize blue and white? Once you notice an overall theme, move over to Etsy, and search for the same theme: “warm and earthy lightroom mobile preset.”

Once you find a preset you like, see if the product has any reviews or photo reviews that show other customers’ photos with the preset applied. Just like any other product, read the reviews!

Do the photos in the reviews look like the seller’s photos? If not, that is a red flag that the preset may not be user friendly.

How to Use a Preset:

Every preset on the market should come with a PDF or some type of document with directions for installing your preset. Follow these directions and enjoy your preset! Once your preset is loaded into the Lightroom Mobile app, you can access it under the “user preset” tab and apply it to any photo.

The Simply Karna preset was used on the CCPA Fellows photos

Why You Should Use a Preset to Improve Your Brand’s Public Image:

Applying the same preset to each of your photos will allow your images to look cohesive. Allow viewers to recognize your photos, even when your logo is not present. If you are a colorful, vibrant individual, using a bright and colorful preset on your photos would make sense and enhance your brand’s cohesiveness.

Look at another CCPA alumna’s influencer account, and @MOLLY_ONTHEMOVE on Instagram. Molly uses super bright, saturated color on every photo. It shows off her flaming red hair and colorful Austin surroundings.