How often do you find yourself making the same adjustments to your images in Lightroom? In fact, there are some which are so useful you might want Lightroom to do them automatically for every image you import… and you probably won’t be surprised to learn that’s exactly what the Lightroom import settings allow you to do.
For example, I always use Lightroom’s lens correction profiles. These use the EXIF data embedded in the digital image to locate an automatic correction profile for the lens the picture was shot with. This corrects, distortion, chromatic aberration and vignetting (corner shading). Lightroom doesn’t have lens profiles for every single lens on the market, but most common brands and models are covered, and the list is growing all the time.
But so far I’ve been enabling these lens corrections manually. That means going into the Develop module, opening the Lens Corrections panel and checking a pair of boxes. It’s not rocket science, but it still takes time.
There is, of course, an easier way. It means creating and then selecting your own user preset, and this is how it’s done.
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01 Choose your settings
First of all, you need to open an image which needs the corrections you want to save. Architectural subjects show up the advantages of lens corrections most clearly, so this night shot it a good example. I’ve opened the Lens Corrections panel and checked the ‘Enable Profile Corrections’ and ‘Remove Chromatic Aberration’ boxes. I’m not making any other changes to the perspective, for example, because these would be specific to this picture and might not apply to others. I’m sticking to these generic adjustments, which Lightroom can apply automatically image-by-image.
02 Create your preset
Now over in the left sidebar, click the ‘+’ button alongside the title for the Presets panel. This dialog pops up and prompts you to choose which settings you want to save in the preset. Make sure you don’t include anything that’s specific to individual images. Here, I’ve checked the box next to the ‘Lens Corrections’ heading, but then disabled the ‘Upright Mode’, ‘Upright Transforms’ and ‘Transform’ boxes since these are too image-specific. What works for one picture might not work for another.
03 Lightroom import settings
Let’s try it out. I’ve clicked the Import button to import a new batch of pictures, and over in the right sidebar there’s an ‘Apply During Import’ panel. Just underneath this is a ‘Develop’ menu, and I can use this to select the user preset I created in the previous step. Now I just click the ‘Import’ button at the bottom.
04 Check your corrections
Sure enough, when I open one of my freshly-imported images in the Develop module and check the Lens Corrections panel, the automatic lens corrections have already been applied. The whole process is so simple and could save me so much time that I wish I’d set it up sooner.
05 The finished image
I think I still prefer the lens corrections in DxO Optics Pro, but Lightroom’s are so easy that it’s slowly winning me over. But this is just one example – you’ve probably got your own favourite corrections you use all the time, and creating and applying a preset during the import process could save you a huge amount of time.
Besides, all Lightroom adjustments are non-destructive. If you’ve got any images in the batch that don’t benefit from your adjustment after all, it only takes a moment to reset them to their default state.
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