Everything You Need To Know About Instagram Presets

TL;DR: www.lightglow.co - Our favorite IG presets

Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and thought, “Dang. These people have their stuff together”?

Some accounts just have a beautiful, cohesive look that makes you want to binge-stalk their feed for an hour.

Believe it or not, these people aren’t using a magical formula or hiring a high-end designer for their Instagram. Nope.

The Instagram accounts we know and love owe their popularity to one thing: filter presets.

Instagram presets help you get a beautiful, consistent effect on your photos without slaving away in Photoshop.

What are Instagram presets?

Instagram presets are filters you use consistently on your Instagram posts. These presets are a combination of different photo settings that help you get a very specific look to a photo.

You can reuse these filters to your heart’s content, giving your followers the cohesive, delectable content they crave.

You can’t save these presets in Instagram proper, though. Most folks create filters in Adobe Lightroom.

With just one tap, Lightroom automatically edits your photos to fit your presets. You upload the edited photo to Instagram and watch the likes roll in.  

(Oh, and did we mention you can make this preset 100% unique to your business? No need to use the Lark filter ever again.)

Presets are still flexible enough that you can make manual adjustments even after applying a filter, too.

A presets before and after

While some brands create their own Instagram presets, you can also buy specialized presets, too. Some influencers even sell their presets so you can get their very particular look.

How to use presets

If this sounds like some Photoshop voodoo magic to you, don’t worry. Here’s a quick breakdown of how brands can actually use presets:

  • You either buy a digital negative (DNG) file from someone or create your own in Adobe Lightroom. Use Lightroom’s presets for your photo colors, tones, special effects, and any other enhancements.
  • From here, you click on the folder you want in the presets module and click “import.” This will save the presets to your Lightroom account.
  • Any time you need to edit a photo for Instagram, snap a pic and upload it to your Lightroom mobile app. Your presets should populate here and allow you to make adjustments before sharing to Instagram.

Why do I need Instagram presets?

But are presets really worth the hassle? Does importing a photo from Lightroom really make a difference on Instagram?

Our answer is, “Hell yeah, it does.”

You have just a few seconds to impress people on Instagram.

Make the most of that first impression with presets. We love them for 3 big reasons.

1 - Improve post quality

You have to post quality images on Instagram. It’s non-negotiable if you want to grow your following organically.

Instagram presets help you enhance a photo’s natural beauty, giving your followers the quality and consistency that they expect from your brand.

2 - Save time on batch edits

Do you really have time to edit 50 photos by hand?

We didn’t think so.

Instagram presets help you quickly apply the same filter to tons of photos at once.

Of course, you should still check the photos before posting, but still. Presets simplify a process that would normally take hours.

3 - Be consistent

You probably have multiple people managing your social media. When that happens, your consistency can suffer.

Instagram presets take the guesswork out of posting on social media for your team.

Show a consistent color palette, tone, and effects on your Instagram account. Immediately communicate your brand feel with consistent presets designed for your audience.

5 Instagram preset do’s and don’ts

Interested in jazzing up your Insta with some badass presets?


Save yourself the headaches by following these quick do’s and don’ts of using Instagram presets.

1 - Don’t spend too much money

Don’t assume a preset will completely revamp your Instagram overnight. The same preset can look amazing on one photo and look fugly on another.

That’s why you shouldn’t spend too much money on just one preset. You might need to buy several to get the exact look you’re going for.

2 - Do use different presets for the occasion

Speaking of which, make sure you’re using the right preset for the right picture.

You don’t want to use a dark, sinister filter on a happy photo at the beach, right? Or a preset designed for nature photos that makes human beings look like death warmed over?

Using the right preset.

You get the picture.

Be discriminating about where you apply each preset. Always check how the photo looks with the preset before uploading it to Instagram.

3 - Don’t skimp on photo quality

Don’t treat Instagram presets as a cure-all for bad photography. Your photos still have to be high-quality—don’t try to put lipstick on a pig.

Use the Rule of Thirds when taking photos on your smartphone. Source images from trusted content creators and professionals to get the most out of your investment.

4 - Do use a preset, even for simple looks

Yes, you should always use your presets! You paid for them, after all.

Even if you’re sharing a simple image, subtle changes in contrast and colors have a big impact on your overall aesthetic.

You’re investing in consistent, quality content, so don’t skimp on using the filters you’ve created.

5 - Don’t have unrealistic expectations

Instagram presets won’t create something out of nothing. Don’t assume a preset will lead to a swarm of engagement and sales.

It doesn’t work that way.

Presets enhance the quality that’s already there. If you’re not getting traction on Instagram, look first at your content and approach.

Example of poor content marketing.

4 places to buy awesome presets

Unless you have a graphic designer on staff, you probably should buy an Instagram preset.

But not all presets are created equal. You need to download a preset from someone reputable.

Not sure where in the world to buy something like that? We’ve got you covered.

Check out these 4 places to buy high-quality Instagram presets for your brand.

  • Light Glow: This is a buying and selling marketplace just for presets. They’re reasonably priced and sourced from top creators.
  • Etsy: Many of these presets are just $5, so they’re super affordable. But anyone can upload a preset to Etsy, so watch for quality here.
  • 123 Presets: Search specifically for mobile or desktop presets with 123 Presets. It includes plenty of price points so you can find exactly what you need.
  • Light & Airy Photographer: This focuses on a very specific aesthetic and is for mobile users only. But if you want bright, soft colors, this preset is a popular choice.

The bottom line

Presets are the fastest way to save time and share a consistent image on Instagram.

Presets should highlight your brand’s best features, but they aren’t a miracle worker. Remember, quality content should always come first.

But what if you need help with Instagram content?

Trend’s network of vetted influencers can create content on your behalf, creating the exact look and tone you need.

Test drive Trend now to see why more brands are trusting their content to experienced influencers.