What are Presets and Profiles used for?

Presets and Profiles are designed to speed up the workflow of your color grade and retouch. They have the power to easily change transform the look of your photographs in a single click.

They might consist of basic fixes or can be designed to jumpstart your creative vision by changing the colors of the image, replacing the original colors with other color combinations, color toning the images....

Presets and Profiles - The Similarities and Differences

The main strength, point and similarity of Profiles and Presets is a:

'single click transformation' of your photos.

- if you're not interested into going deeper into the theory, the file extension, the process of installation and the use of presets and profiles is absolutely the same, except for the fact that profiles offer a much more extensive change and a variety of moods and color looks, and the amount slider - all the things that that presets aren't capable of!

Their main differences are:


Many Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop Camera RAW users are familiar with presets, as they've been in the existence from the early days of both programs.

Presets are designed to speed up the workflow by dialing a set of pre-determined arrangement of the sliders, settings or color looks in a click of a mouse. They're capable of a change of the original color look but only to a limited point, as they don't support the color remapping like the Profiles do.


1. Presets cannot use LUTs.

2. You can't control the strength of your preset using a opacity slider.

3. Presets aren't capable of an extensive change or a color remap.

4. Presets can't unlock the hidden features or color options of

In the recent years the Photography community has seen quite a spike and oversaturation of the market, that resulted in flooding the internet with a huge number low quality presets that promise a makeover of your photos and deliver far less than that.

On the other side, we've seen some amazing presets that truly left a huge mark on the traveling and wedding photography. In USA only, the the craze around presets opened a niche market for the photographers and retouchers creating their own sets.

Like I've mentioned before one of the major drawbacks of Presets is the inability to control the strength of the ''effect'' using a slider.
That has been one of the features that many Lightroom and Camera RAW users wished to see for years - but it never came.

Luckily instead we've got the far more powerful and exciting feature - Profiles which fixed all the disadvantages of presets and provide and much more.

Image edited with a preset:


One of the major updates and by many professionals in the business - one of the biggest things that happened to Photoshop and Lightroom in years!

I believe that profiles/LUTs are the preset of the future” – Matt Kloskowski

A profile is a set of instructions that determines how an information in the RAW image file is processed. They are either the starting point of all the later adjustments or sometimes all that is needed!


1. Profiles  keep the position of all your sliders in the neutral 0 position, which means you can still adjust your photo and apply presets after the Profile has been applied.

2. With the Profiles there’s an Opacity slider so you can dial it to the exact strength you want.

3. One of my favorites - Profiles can include LUTs or various settings and controls that Lightroom doesn’t have. It's now possible to get the look only achievable through extensive work in Photoshop, right inside of Lightroom / ACR, in a click of a button!

4. Time saving: Hover-over previews mean you don’t actually have to apply the profile to see what it’ll look like.

5. They’re easy to find and have a “favorite” feature so you don’t have to go searching around for your favorite ones.

6. Since the sliders aren’t overridden by a profile / LUT, you can modify your photo any way you’d like, and then apply the profile on top of the image.

7. The same installation process and the same file extension like with the presets most of the people are used to.

Profiles are letting you extend your color edit far beyond the limits of the traditional color editing, allowing you unlimited possibilities in a click of a button.

With the most recent Adobe's update an ability was added to infuse the Profile with a 3D LUT, a color lookup table, that can remap colors and tones of your image, allowing you to process the images in new and unique ways.

Moreover, your profiles are completely independent from all the other settings and sliders in your Camera RAW or Lightroom!

They can be changed anytime without any loss of quality, keeping the position of all the sliders as they were.

Image edited with a 3D LUT infused profile:

Adobe Camera Raw and Adobe Lightroom are the two most powerful photo and color editing tools.

The huge potential these two programs possess are often little understood by beginners and even average users.

So far I've met many photographers who by considering ACR and Lightroom a starting point in their photo editing process, spend incredible amounts of time achieving the same look that is only a click away in one of these programs.

With new features added by Adobe into ACR and Lightroom incredible, and often unimaginable results, in a click of a button, became a possibility!

Why I use Profiles?

The Art of Color Grade

It's no secret, it's my favorite thing to do!

Most people that are familiar with my photography know that color grading is something I'm very passionate about. I can spend hours playing with colors and color schemes, exploring and creating new looks. It's the color grading that I'm getting most questions about from my students. It's no surprise.

''Your color work is something that makes you stand out as a photographer''
- assuming you don't shoot B&W, of course.

To me, colors often have the power to transform a seemingly average shot into a great one. I've witnessed the transformation with my own shots, and the shots of others I've worked on, as a retoucher.

Most people will firstly notice the colors on the photo too!

Time - The Most Precious Resource

Some say - ''Time is money'',
I say - ''Spare time is your most precious resource''

One way or another, time is something we shouldn't afford to lose on often repetitive tasks.
Color correction knows how to boring be at times:

Working with a 800+ photos Wedding set, or color correcting photos from a close friend's event where you've turned up hauling a camera and ended up being a photographer, will soon make you realize the importance of Presets and Profiles in Camera RAW or Lightroom.

There are far more important things one should devote its own time to, than pulling sliders and curves left and right, hoping to strike a magical combination that will make a photo look good.
Trust me - I speak from a trial and error experience.