Talking Point - Presets

Talking Point – Lightroom Presets – Is it cheating or a time-saver?

Today I thought I was approach a subject that has many opinions on it.  In my talking point discussion I want to ask is using a Lightroom Preset created by another photographer cheating?  Or just a time-saver?

I have downloaded free Lightroom Presets as well as purchasing Lightroom Presets.  I bought a collection of Lightroom Presets from Serge Ramelli.  And I use these Presets on a regular basis.  But is it cheating to use another photographers collection of Presets on your own work or should you play around with that particular Preset to make it your own?

Talking Point - Lightroom Presets

A photograph of bluebells from Ashenbank Woods near Cobham in Kent.

I created the above image using Photoshop Mix on my tablet.  After pulling my hair out trying to get the powder paint image to open in Photoshop Mix; I was pleased with the effect this App gave my image.

And with the powers of Lightroom Mobile I was able to work further on this image back on my desktop in Lightroom.  In order to create different effects to the image I used a couple of Presets.

Talking Point Discussion on Image 1

A photograph of bluebells from Ashenbank Woods near Cobham in Kent using Lightroom Deep and Moody Preset

For the above image I used a Preset that I created in Lightroom called Deep and Moody.  You can buy this preset from our Digital Download Store.  However I do have terms and conditions of buy and these clearly state the following:

RyanPhotography – Products for Sale
All products are created using Lightroom and Photoshop
You are entitled to use these products for both commercial and personal work.
Products may not be resold, sublicensed, rented, transferred or otherwise made available for use (This includes uploading it to Rapidshare and other file sharing services).
Products maybe altered but claiming alterations as your own and reselling products is strictly prohibited.
Thank you for respecting the author’s will.

When I sell a Preset I don’t expect recognition should you use that particular preset on your images.  But what I wouldn’t like is someone purchasing my Preset and then altering the preset and then claiming it as their own work.

The presets I sell are presets where I start from scratch and don’t use a starting point Preset.  No way would I even consider claiming another person’s preset with a few alterations as my own work.  That is pure dishonesty. And I don’t find it cheating at all to use a Preset either created by myself or another on my image.  After all that are what Presets are about!  Making your workflow a lot easier.

Talking Point Discussion on Image 2

A photograph of bluebells from Ashenbank Woods near Cobham in Kent.

For the image above I used a free Preset I downloaded from Serge Ramelli called America Night Lighter.  To get these presets all you have to do is sign up to his website and share his social media networks.

I did no further edits after applying this preset.   I didn’t feel as if I was cheating by using another person’s presets on my image. To me it just cut down precious time in processing which gave me the effect I wanted on my image.

My thoughts on this Talking Point

To me the only time you are being dishonest if you use another person’s preset is when you claim it as your own after altering a few sliders within that preset.  I don’t feel the need as a photographer or a creator of Presets to force people to keep giving me recognition for my Presets.  Recognition is nice.  I feel that when someone purchases a product from you for a price then they have the god forgiven right to use it as and when without having to keep giving you credit.

To me if you crave for recognition that much, then go and get a dog.  And no it is not cheating in my opinion to use a Preset without doing any alterations or edits to that Preset.  After all, isn’t that what Presets are for?  To give you a starting point? Or an ending point?

What I consider as cheating and blatant plagiarism is to breach someone’s terms of use and then claim the preset as your own.

Presets are created to cut down your workflow on an image.  Why spend hours going through different sliders doing the same mundane edits when you can create a preset as a starting point?

On a personal level I like to modify Presets to my style of photo editing.  But there is definitely no wrong in using a Preset on your image without making further changes.  Within the develop module of Lightroom I have  collection of favourite Presets; a combination of presets that I use regularly along with presets which I’ve modified to my style of photo-editing.  And I have a collection of Presets that I have created myself. To me the cheating comes when someone unscrupulously takes another person’s presets and passes them off as their own for either recognition or profit.

So in my opinion no it is not cheating to use a preset on your image.  A preset is a time-saver or a very good starting point for processing your image.

What do you think?


Posted by Bren

I am an amateur photographer, blogger and digital artist as well as being the female half of RyanPhotography. We both have a keen interest in landscape and floral photography. And we live in Kent, also known as the Garden of England, in the United Kingdom. We both have a desire to travel and hopefully one day move to somewhere where it is picturesque and a photographer's delight.


Love love your photos and editing.

Thank you very much xx I think a lot of my photographic editing lately has depended on what mood I seem to be in. But I am really loving this new Powder Paint Effect I am doing at the moment.

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