I’ve manually tweaked a lot of photos in Adobe Lightroom 2, and as a result, I’ve come up with some go-to settings that generally work well for my style, or at least give me a great starting point.
There’s nothing secret that’s going on in my photos, and there’s certainly nothing you couldn’t do yourself, if you’ve got the desire and the artistic vision. You just have to know what you want and play around with processing until you get it there. That being said, there’s an old saying: Garbage in, garbage out. If the photos aren’t good to start with, no preset is going to help.
If you like the look of my black and white photos (examples: 1, 2, 3), download my custom Lightroom Preset: Grayscale, Punchy. It’s free, and it should help you gain a little more insight into all the adjustments that contribute to the end result. Don’t be afraid to tweak things a bit, maybe you’ll like a different level of contrast, a different tone curve, or more/less vignetting. Experiment, enjoy, and don’t forget to share your feedback and your results!
Not sure what to do with this file…? Don’t worry, I wrote-up some quick instructions and even recorded a screencast to help you install Lightroom presets in this post.