What comes to your mind when you think of the profession “photographer”?
Let me guess.
Trendy photoshoots, fancy equipment, exciting travels and beautiful images to show to the world?
Certainly not the endless nightly hours spent on raw footage editing.
In truth, a big part (maybe the biggest!) of a photographer’s job consists of these long hours spent in front of the computer.
But let’s look on the bright side of this. As a photographer, you most likely double as a photo editor. And you can make money using this extra skill!
By creating Adobe Lightroom presets and selling them online.
Even more, this is a form of passive income – an opportunity to earn money by selling the by-products of your primary occupation.
Stay tuned while we tell you exactly how to create Lightroom presets that sell like hotcakes.
Why do people buy presets?
So, we’ve just explained that Lightroom presets help to save time and effort while editing photos. But is convenience the main reason why people are willing to buy products as photo presets?
Apart from saving time, presets offer photographers, brands, or digital nomads an opportunity to stylize their visuals in a certain way. For some beginner photographers, presets offer a way to learn the art of photo editing from someone whose work they respect and admire.
If your style is inspiring and you have a creative flair to share with the world, there are likely people out there who’d appreciate it and follow you or even wish to learn from you.
For example, the famous photography influencer Sorelle Amore describes her imagery and editing style as “unique, dark, moody, kind of vintagy and hipster as hell.”
This type of unique style is something people would like to copy – especially if there’s a way to do that without investing too much time. Sorelle Amore has to thank her friends for urging her to create Lightroom presets – she made over $25K in the first month by selling her presets on the Sellfy platform.
How does she and other successful photographers manage that? Read on to discover the secret recipe for creating best-selling Lightroom presets.
How to create presets that others want to buy?
If you are using Lightroom for photo editing, you are essentially already creating photo presets – or, sets of photo edits.
These are the basic variables that determine the look of your preset:
- Color temperature
- Black and white
- Color boost
- Tone tuning
Technically, all that’s left to do is save the preset you’ve created and name it accordingly. From then on, it will be available together with the default photo presets on Lightroom. For a detailed tutorial on creating photo presets on Lightroom, see this Adobe step-by-step guide.
Now, the technical process may be clear to you, but how to distinguish mere photo edits from a digital product that people would be willing to pay for?
Bear with us for some useful tips and ideas on how to create sellable presets by maximizing your strengths and preferences. We will explain how your presets may have a certain mood, a particular angle, belong to a niche genre of photography, or be applicable to specific conditions.
Find your unique style and mood
First of all, decide what will be your unique identity and style (if you haven’t already). Your style will emerge from the subjects that you photograph, and from how you work – you can call it your artistic handwriting.
Here are two examples of very different preset styles:
Christian Maté Grab has a very dark and contrasty photography style, with separated blacks and whites. It’s simple but detailed at the same time. His Lightroom presets reflect this moody and hazy style.
On the contrary, Salt in our hair presets are a soft and dreamy combination of pink, blue and darker green tones, reflecting the overall style of their Instagram feed. These presets also work on the Lightroom free phone app, adding extra value to this product.
Choose your specialty
Your specialty should come naturally from what you love to do, and what you do best. For example, if you’re into portraits, your presets would be tailored to fine-tuning how people look in the photos and creating the best-looking close-ups.
On the other hand, you may be more into enhancing landscapes, e.g., brightening nature photos or increasing the amount of snow falling in landscapes. Follow your gut and prepare presets that reflect the style you’re most drawn to yourself.
Create presets for specific conditions
Amateur photographers often struggle with editing over or under-exposed images. Therefore presets that target such problematic photo-shooting situations will always be in demand.
For example, create a preset for photos taken in direct sun (overexposed), sunset, cloudy days, nighttime (underexposed), etc.
Photographer Peter Mckinnon talks about such condition-specific presets in his YouTube video. He often chooses a preset for a photo depending on the weather and lighting during the photo shoot. The presets he offers on his Sellfy store have names that reflect this idea, e.g., Mute Master, Overexpose Fix, Brighten Me Up! and others.
Alternatively, think about different situations that could be depicted on photos, like action photos, romantic pictures, urban settings, cars racing, etc., and create presets specifically for each of them. This will narrow down your offer and help you attract the audience interested in your specific offer.
Create niche-specific presets
Do you have a specialty in photography or are you combining your photography passion with another hobby? Great! Think about creating Lightroom presets that match your interest – the more specific, the better.
Some examples of niche-specific photo presets are travel, wedding, fashion, sports, music events, etc. For instance, Sellfy user K1 Production offers a set of presets that help wedding photographers by retouching portraits and giving a romantic air to couple photographs.
Sorelle Amore has gone even further – instead of finding a niche, she has created one herself and called it an “advanced selfie.” As a pioneer of this concept – known as #AdvancedSelfie on Instagram – she has met an underserved market in photography and made good money from it.
Pick interesting names for your presets
As we said before, many people look for a certain vibe when they buy photo presets. That’s why naming your presets accordingly to your style and the mood they represent is part of the deal.
How to put presets up for sale?
So, you’ve learned how to make Lightroom presets and decided what type and style of presets to make. What’s next?
How do you make your presets available for purchase, market them, and attract more and more photographers to them?
Prepare preset packs
First of all, consider how you’ll package your presets. We suggest to include variations of similar edits under one heading – this will give your buyers an applicable package of presets, instead of a single preset they may have to adjust manually.
Set up an online store or sales page
If you already have your photography website or portfolio, you’ll need to add an online store feature to sell your presets.
The good news is that e-commerce platforms like Sellfy are specially tailored to selling digital products such as Lightroom presets. You can create your own digital store with a simple and beautiful storefront and showcase as many products as you like.
Alternatively, you can embed your listings on other websites. For example, if you write a travel blog and sell Lightroom presets on your Sellfy store, you can embed a ”Buy now” button into a blog post that talks about travel photography. In the case of Salt in our hair, links from the relevant articles in their blog lead to this sales page on their website:
Whichever store option you choose, you’ll need to prepare a short introductory text to your presets (technical as well as descriptive), and a few awesome photos that demonstrate how your presets look.
Set a fair price for your presets
You’ll also need to decide on how to price your presets. Some photographers find this part difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve prepared a short report to help you out.
Or, offer a free preset for your customers to test, and another premium preset pack for sale. Chris Hau uses this strategy and offers both paid and free or “pay what you want” presets on his Sellfy store.
Sorelle Amore has priced her 17-preset pack at $25. Her suggestion is to make presets “affordable and fair.” She points out that the preset price also depends on the size of your YouTube and Instagram audience, saying that her friends with 10 thousand subscribers sell their presets for $7 (Sorelle herself has almost 600k subscribers).
How to market your presets?
When you’ve put your Lightroom presets on sale, all that’s left is to market them. The Sellfy platform helps with this by offering built-in tools like email marketing, upselling, discounts, etc. For example, Christian Maté Grab added short-term discounts to the products on his Sellfy page.
However, since Lightroom presets target photo enthusiasts, Instagram will be your primary representation and marketing channel. The good news – on Insta, you don’t need to climb the social ladder and wait for big-name photographers to call the shots. Instead, you can connect with fans and buyers across the globe who love your work.
First of all, take care of growing your audience of engaged followers – the more popular your Instagram account, the more demanded your photo presets will be.
We’ve already covered the technical side of using Instagram for boosting sales in 9 simple tips. Some additional tips for marketing presets on Instagram:
- Stay loyal to the theme of your presets so that your followers know what to expect from your content. For example, if you offer landscape presets, show how awesome they are on your Instagram feed. If you have several preset packs, release them one by one and adjust your content accordingly (e.g. change the theme of photos once a month).
- Add a link to your store in your bio and direct followers to it. Your bio is the only place on Instagram where you can post a permanent link to your website or Sellfy store. Add a call-to-action to it (e.g., “Get my new Lightroom presets here”) and refer your followers to the link by writing “link in bio” in the captions of your posts.
- Engage with your followers by replying comments under your posts and also commenting their posts in return. A good tactic is to do this right before you post your next photo.
- Use up to 25 specific and relevant hashtags for each post. Engage with other posts that have the same hashtags as you’re about to put.
- Find the best time for posting. If you have a Business or a Pro account, go to the Insights tab and find when your audience responds to your posts most actively. If you have a regular account, stay consistent to one time that you’ve noticed to be driving most engagement.
- Add links to your presets on Insta stories (available only if you have over 10K followers) to drive more traffic.
Start baking those hot Lightroom presets
Now you know how to use your photo editing skills and monetize your creativity by saving others the pains of post-production.
If you want your presets to fly off the shelf like hotcakes, start by following this simple 3-step formula:
- Create presets that you love and that best reflect your passion and skill
- Think about what your audience would love
- Market your presets the right way
And voila! You’ll see the long hours spent preparing presets pay off in the form of many $$$ in your seller’s account.
Ritvars is the marketing lead at Sellfy.