To be honest, I don’t download a lot of presets from the internet. I personally have limited mental bandwidth for add-ons, and there are so many out there that they can be hard to sift through. However, I agree that done right, they can add great value. It can be very efficient to use a good creative preset or set of presets, since I can get 90% of the way towards making a photo look great with just one or a handful of clicks in one panel rather than having to sift through all of Lightroom’s Develop sliders, plus I can get cool looks that I never would have thought of creating myself.
Occasionally I hear about some presets that I just have to check out, including X-Equals XeL Black and White Toolkit of over 300 presets. They are designed to emulate the look of 54 classic black and white films, as well as 4 antiquated processes, and the workflow ingeniously follows the traditional black and white darkroom workflow (as I understand it — truth be told, I only had a couple months of film/darkroom experience):
1. Simulate black and white capture:
- Choose your film type from 54 choices (with a set of presets for each, covering black and white mix, tone and grain)
- Choose your color filter or color mix
2. Simulate darkroom work:
- Choose your paper contrast grade
- Adjust your contrast (with “curve kicks”)
- Dodge and burn (with graduated filters)
- Solarize / special effects
- Toning (Sepia, Selenium, and 5 more)
The toolkit also has a cool set of presets to reproduce four antiquated processes ( Tintypes, Daguerrotypes, Cyanotypes and Ambrotypes).