Creating Raw Presets

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Today’s Question: I’m only using Photoshop, not Lightroom. I’ve seen a lot of information about creating presets for applying effects in Lightroom. Is it also possible to create presets in Camera Raw?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can indeed save settings in Camera Raw, much as you can save presets in Lightroom. The commands are found on the popup menu at the top-right of the adjustments panel in the Camera Raw dialog.

More Detail: The first step to saving Camera Raw adjustment settings is to actually apply those adjustments to an image. For this purpose I generally open a “test” image that I’m not too worried about, so I don’t have to be concerned about resetting the adjustments for the photo.

I then recommend resetting the current adjustments to the default settings. You can do so by clicking the panel popup menu button at the top-right of the adjustment controls and choosing “Reset Camera Raw Defaults” from the popup menu. Then apply all of the various adjustments you’d like to save.

When you’re finished applying your adjustments, click the panel popup menu at the top-right of the adjustments once again, and choose “Save Settings. In the dialog that appears you can choose which specific categories of adjustments you’d like to include in your saved settings. Make sure the checkbox is only turned on for the specific categories you want to include in your saved settings, and click the Save button.

In the dialog that appears, enter a name for the settings you’re saving. If you’d like, you can also create or open a subfolder within the Settings folder. Then click the Save button to actually save your settings. Those settings will be preserved in an XMP file, much as settings for raw captures processed with Camera Raw.

In the future you can apply your saved settings to an image from within Camera Raw. Simply go to the popup menu once again and choose Load Settings. Then select the XMP file created when you saved the settings, and then click the Load button. The saved settings will be applied to the current image within Camera Raw, so you can refine those settings as needed and then open the photo.