Lightroom and Automatic Application of Presets

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  • Updated 3 years ago
For a long time, I’ve wished Lightroom had a way to automate application of presets. There are ways to filter on just about any piece of image metadata you can think of, and there is also the ability to create development or metadata presets that can apply as many or as few settings as desired to a photo with a single click. What is lacking is a way to tie it all together.

What I’d like to see in Lightroom is the ability have one or more presets get applied to photos that match a predefined set of filter criteria, via a specific trigger. I imagine a way to combine rules from smart collections, the selection of multiple development and/or metadata presets, and a few other options to indicate when to apply the presets to photos that match the rules. The presets could be applied on import, on demand to selected photos, or when photos get added to a (smart) collection.

Some examples:

* Whenever a photo is imported and was taken with a specific lens, automatically apply a preset that sets the appropriate lens profile to that image (before previews are rendered).

* Any photo that gets added to a specific collection that have a focal length ≤ 35mm, automatically apply the “auto” lens perspective correction.

* Ability to create actions from the Import window directly, so that when I have 3 or 4 days worth of photos to import, from varying locations, I could add new rules indicating that photos taken on date X get one set of presets and date Y gets a different set.

All this would save me the steps of having to manually go back and a) add the correct development presets based on lens, subject matter, etc. and b) to apply metadata presets to images that have already been imported. What happens currently is that I import with the least common denominator for both development and metadata presets, wait for the import to finish, then selectively apply the correct presets, filtering on information that already exists in the file.

Lightroom already has a feature where you can define different base development settings per camera and ISO, but it is very opaque (you can’t see what the settings are unless you import a photo that matches them and look at the imported photo). It would be very easy to convert this to the format I described above, and be much easier to manage.

The functionality I just proposed would be a boon for how I work with Lightroom. I hope the folks at Adobe believe similarly, and have it on their roadmap for an upcoming release.
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Brian Billman

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Posted 5 years ago

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Rob Cole

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Good idea. In the mean time, you may find the collection preseter plugin helpful:

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Josh Bennett

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Awesome idea. I was thinking the same thing and was going to post till I saw your suggestion. Why doesn't it have this ability?!?!