How to make and sell Lightroom presets (desktop + mobile)

By Susanna read
How to make and sell Lightroom presets (desktop + mobile)

Have you ever scrolled your Instagram feed and wondered how that one travel influencer with thousands of followers made their photos look so good?

They probably didn’t use Instagram filters. 

So, what did they use? A special photo editing software? Another app, maybe?

The answer is that they likely used Lightroom presets.

Now, whether or not you’re already familiar with presets, you may want to keep reading because I’m about to tell you how to make money selling them. Presets are obviously in high demand and make people’s feeds look awesome, so let’s see how you can monetize that!

What is a Lightroom preset?

Simply put, a Lightroom preset is an image filter used to edit photos in Adobe Lightroom. People use presets to improve the lighting, contrast, shade, color, brightness, and more in their photos. Presets give photos a distinct and high-quality look in just one click, which is why they’re in such high demand.

But, now you’re probably thinking:

Why would anyone bother with Lightroom presets when they can just use Instagram filters? 

So, let me explain the difference:

Unlike Instagram filters, Lightroom presets allow you to make individual changes to all photos. In other words, presets use a sophisticated level of editing that cannot be achieved with regular filters. And, a big plus is that there’s no loss of image quality!

Another major difference is that Instagram filters are pretty limited. There’s only a certain number of filters available (and they’re used by almost everyone), whereas Lightroom presets offer something unique for every person. This is why most people source presets online—both paid and free—or create their own presets to stand out from the crowd.

Can you make money selling Lightroom presets?

The short answer is yes! If you know how to edit photos in Lightroom and then market them, you can certainly turn this into a potential source of income. Many Sellfy creators have been successful at doing that. All it takes is a little skill and practice, and some artistic flair.

It’s also evident that there’s a market demand for filters that aren’t the same generic in-app filters everyone else is already using. We know that influencers, photographers, travel bloggers, digital nomads, and many others use Lightroom presets. Honestly, it’s probably one of the reasons why they have so many followers—their feeds look visually stunning!

So, if you already know how to create presets (if you don’t, you can read this part later and skip to how to create your presets), keep on reading as we explore this topic further with some Sellfy creator examples.

Decide on the presets you want to make

So, let’s say you know how to make presents, but you’ve yet to start selling. First, you need to think of what types of presets you want to make and sell. The basic variables that determine the look of your preset are:

  • Exposure
  • Contrast
  • Color temperature
  • Black and white
  • Color boost
  • Tone tuning
  • Corrections

Now, all that’s left to do is save the preset and give it a name, right? That’s the easy part. But, the more challenging part is to figure out how to make presets that people are willing to pay for. 

So, how do you really know what distinguishes your presets from the others? In the next part, I’ll explain how your presets may have a certain mood, a particular angle, belong to a niche, or apply to specific conditions.

Find your unique style and mood

One of the easiest ways to determine your style and mood is to look at your portfolio. What’s the overall feel of your photos? What emotions do they evoke? Are the colors and tones dark and moody, or on the contrary, soft, bright, and airy?

For example, Christian Maté Grab has a very dark and high-contrast photography style. It’s simple but detailed at the same time. His Lightroom presets reflect a moody aesthetic.

How to create presets that others want to buy

On the other hand, the Lightroom presets created by Salt in Our Hair are a soft and dreamy combination of pink, blue and dark green tones, which can be seen in their Instagram feed

And then, we have the famous photographer Sorelle Amore who describes her imagery and editing style as “unique, dark, moody, kind of vintage, and hipster as hell.” She made over $25K when she first started selling presets in her Sellfy store. The fact that she made so many sales clearly shows how this type of style is something that many people would want to copy!

Why do people buy presets

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Choose your specialty

Your specialty can be what you love to do or naturally do best as a photographer. For example, if you’re into portraits, your presets should be tailored to fine-tune how people look in photos to create the best-looking close-ups.

As another example, if you enjoy enhancing landscapes more (e.g. brightening nature photos or something similar), I’d suggest following your gut and preparing presets that reflect the style you’re most drawn to yourself. That way, you won’t just have fun with the process of creating your digital product, but you’ll also ensure that your product truly reflects your specialty.

To narrow down your product and attract the right type of audience, you can also create presets for specific themes and settings, or even creators. For instance, you can make the best Lightroom presets for:

  • Instagram
  • Professional photographers
  • Food photography
  • Weddings
  • Outdoor portraits
  • Real estate photography
  • Mobile

Create presets for specific conditions

Amateur photographers often struggle with over-editing or under-exposing their images. Therefore, presets that target such problematic photo-shooting situations will always be in demand.

For instance, you can create presets for photos taken in direct sunlight (overexposure), or during sunset, cloudy days, and at night (underexposure).

To give you some inspiration, photographer Peter Mckinnon talks about condition-specific presets in his YouTube video. He usually creates presets for certain weather and lighting conditions that were present during photo shoots. The presets in his Sellfy store even have names that reflect their purpose, e.g. Mute Master, Overexpose Fix, Brighten Me Up! and others.

Create presets for specific conditions

Create niche-specific presets

Do you like to combine your photography passion with another hobby? Great! Think about creating Lightroom presets that match your intereststhe more specific, the better.

Some examples of niche-specific presets are travel, wedding, fashion, sports, music events, etc. For instance, Sellfy creator K1 Production offers a set of presets that helps wedding photographers retouch portraits and give a romantic air to photos of couples.

Create niche-specific presets

Another Sellfy creator, Sorelle Amore, has gone even further:

Instead of searching for a niche, she created a unique niche of her own and called it an “advanced selfie.” As a pioneer of her #AdvancedSelfie concept on Instagram, she monetized a specific audience and market and made a living out of it.

How to create Lightroom presets

You can use the free Lightroom mobile app if you want to create presets for personal use, but for selling, you’re going to need the desktop version (Lightroom Classic CC). To get the desktop version, head over to Adobe’s official website, then purchase and install Lightroom on its own or as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan for $9.99/month.

1. Prepare your photo & upload it to Lightroom 

If you have Photoshop, you should first resize your photos from large to small using Photoshop’s Save for Web option. This will ensure that your customers won’t receive DNG files that are too big. Here’s how to prepare your photo:

  1. Open your photo in Photoshop.
  2. Click File > Export > Save for Web.
  3. Set your file type to JPEG and quality to 50.
  4. Adjust the image size (recommended width: 1500 px).
  5. For Quality, choose Bicubic Smoother.
  6. Save your photo and open Lightroom.
  7. Select a photo to edit in the Library module.
  8. Click Develop at the top of your screen.

2. Edit your photo in Lightroom 

Now, the fun beginsyou can start playing around with editing! You’ll quickly see that you can turn any photo into a masterpiece, no matter what camera was originally used. All you need is to master the editing process in Lightroom!

To help you bring out the best in your photos, here’s a basic summary of the settings:

  • To adjust brightness, click Auto in the Basic panel.
  • To brighten or darken the whole photo, drag the Exposure slider.
  • To adjust dark areas, use the Shadows slider.
  • To adjust light areas, use the Highlights slider.
  • To bring out texture and detail, use the Clarity slider.
  • To soften your photo, drag the Clarity slider to the left.
  • To adjust dullness, drag the Contrast slider to the right.
  • To increase colors, drag the Vibrance slider to the right.
  • To adjust coolness or warmth, use the Temp slider.

And last, but not least, remember that you can always undo adjustments by clicking an item in the History panel to return your photo to a previous state. Alternatively, you can also undo an edit by pressing Control + Z (Windows) or Command + Z (Mac).

Finally, I recommend playing around with all of these settings until you’ve achieved your desired look!

Sellfy Tip
To avoid over-editing your photo, try not to go overboard with Exposure or Saturation.

3. Save and name your preset

Now, this is a pretty straightforward step—saving and naming your preset! To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the + icon next to Presets (located at the top below the Navigator).
  2. Click Create Preset (a pop-up window will appear).
  3. Name your preset (e.g. “Wedding Preset”, “Bright & Clean”, etc.).
  4. Click the Group menu to choose or create a group for your preset.
  5. Click Create and you’re done!

4. Export your preset and create a zip file

So, you’ve got your preset now! There’s just one last step that remains before you can wrap it all up: exporting. This is important for mobile users. Here’s how to export your preset:

  1. Click File > Export with Preset > Export to DNG.
  2. Select which folder you want to export your preset to.
  3. Create a zip file of your preset for selling online.

How to sell Lightroom presets?

So, you’ve learned how to create Lightroom presets and, hopefully, found your style! What’s next? How do you make your presets available for purchase? Let’s explore that.

1. Prepare your preset packs

First of all, consider how you’ll package your presets. I recommend including variations of similar edits under one consistent theme. This will give your customers an applicable package of presets, instead of a single preset that they would have to adjust manually.

Make sure each package represents a theme, e.g. winter presets, landscape presets, vintage presets, etc.

2. Set up your Sellfy store

If you already have a photography website or portfolio, all you need to do is add an online store feature to sell your presets. And, the easiest way to sell online is with an eCommerce platform like Sellfy!

Here’s why:

Sellfy was specifically created for selling digital products like Lightroom presets. The setup is so smooth that you can create an online store within minutes, customize it to your liking, and showcase as many products as you like!

How to put presets up for sale

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Alternatively, you can also embed your listings anywhere you like online (e.g. add a “Buy now” button to your blog post), or use Sellfy solely as your main domain. For example, Salt in Our Hair has links in their blog that lead to this sales page:

How to sell presets

Other reasons to open a Sellfy store include:

  • Instant payouts—get paid every time you make a sale!
  • Print on demand—if you ever feel like expanding your business, you can start selling your own merch.
  • Unlimited products—sell as many products as you want and upload files as large as 5 GB.
  • Zero hidden fees—just pay a monthly fixed price for a plan that fits your needs and that’s it.
  • Advanced VAT & tax settings—a feature that will 100% come in handy when you start selling online.
  • Premium customer support—Sellfy’s long been praised for its top-notch 24/7 customer service.
  • In-built marketing tools—made for creators like you who need to market your Lightroom presets.

I could go on, but these are just a few of the many cool benefits of having a white-label Sellfy store! Ready to open yours? I’ll walk you through three simple steps:

  1. Start a free 14-day trial or subscribe to one of the paid plans. There are three Sellfy subscription plans available for selling digital products.
  2. Once your email address has been verified, log in and go to the Products section to pick a product type (in your case, that would be digital), and upload your preset packs.
  3. Customize your store, prepare short product descriptions, and add a few awesome photos that demonstrate what your presets look like.

3. 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. 

On average, successful Sellfy creators offer packs of 12-15 presets for the price of $25. But, if you’re just starting and want to test your product, you may want to consider setting a lower price at first. Or, start with a free giveaway and then add another premium preset pack for sale.

How to market your presets

Chris Hau uses this strategy and offers both paid and free, and pay-what-you-want pricing presets on his Sellfy store.

Set a fair price for your presets

And then, 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 (for example, friends of hers with thousands of subscribers sell their presets for $7, and Sorelle herself has almost 600k subscribers).

4. Market and promote your presets

When you’ve put your Lightroom presets on sale, all that’s left is to market them! Now, you can start exploring Sellfy’s in-built marketing tools like email marketing, upselling, discounts, etc., and make the most of your subscription. 

Since Lightroom presets target photo enthusiasts, Instagram will likely be your primary marketing channel. You can either head right over to our article on how to sell on Instagram in 9 easy steps, or follow these tips to reach more people:

  • Stay true to your style and niche so that your followers will always 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 your photos once a month).
  • To lead followers directly to your store, add a link to your store in your Instagram bio. It’s the only place where you can post a link to your website or Sellfy store. Add a call-to-action (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 or Stories.
  • Engage with your followers by replying to comments under your posts as well as commenting on their posts in return. A good tactic is to do this right before you post your next photo.
  • Use up to 5 specific and relevant hashtags for each post. Engage with other posts that have the same hashtags.
  • Find the best time for posting. If you have a Business account, go to the Insights tab to check when your audience is most active.
  • Add links to your presets on Stories (available if you have over 10K followers) to drive more traffic.
  • Use Instagram Shopping to announce sales and product launches (the blog article we linked above will tell you how to do that).

Promote your presets on Instagram

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Get ready to make money with 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 to crush sales with your presets, keep in mind this simple formula:

  1. Create presets that reflects your passion and skill.
  2. Think about what your audience is looking for.
  3. Market your presets with Sellfy’s in-built marketing tools!

And, that’s it! You’ll soon see that the long hours spent preparing presets pay off in the form of $$$ in your seller’s account!

Susanna is Sellfy’s Content Guru and Editor in Chief with a genuine passion for copywriting, storytelling, and eCommerce. With years of content marketing experience behind her, she helps to create the best possible landing pages, blog posts, emails, and other types of copy. She also keeps close tabs on social media trends and enjoys digging deep into marketing psychology.