You may see ads pop up for photo presets that edit all of your Instagram photos to make them look professional and consistent. Most of the ads make the editing appear to be magic, but you have to purchase the presets. The presets cost anywhere from $20-$50 Before you invest in a purchase, you may wonder what the heck they even are, and if they’re worth it for you.
The first thing to know is that the filters are not instagram filters. The presets are for an app called lightroom which is part of the photoshop suite. The basic lightroom app is free. With lightroom, you can do a lot of editing on photos even without these presets.
When you purchase presets, you receive a set of raw photos to download that have slightly different presets applied to them. The sets are different collections like “bohemian dream” or “bright and airy” that have a specific look. You have to upload each individual photo into lightroom and save the preset from that image to create a new preset. Most collections have 10 or more preset images, so that you can find which one looks best on each individual photo. Overall, each preset in a collection will give a similar look.
This is what it looks like editing a photo with different presets in a collection:
So is it worth a purchase?
The presets make editing photos really quick. You really just select the one you like best on the photo and save the image to your camera roll. You don’t have to spend the time adjusting things like brightness, color, or contrast like you normally would on instagram (although you can edit more in lightroom or instagram if you wanted to).
The tricky part is finding a preset collection that looks consistently good across different images. My instagram feed is a combination of pictures from my runs, photos of my house, and photos of me. Some of these look really good in one type of preset, but some look really weird.
The presets usually edit the photo a LOT, so if you’re just looking for a minor adjustment, these might not work. I have been using it a lot for photos of my house, but using regular instagram filters for other photos, which doesn’t create the consistency that I was hoping for.
If you are really passionate about photo editing and want a consistent look with your instagram posts, it is worth finding a preset collection that you like and buying it! If you were really into it, you could even experiment and make your own presets in lightroom that you could apply to other photos.