Looking for the best Lightroom presets for Moody Photography? You're not alone. The moody look is a surprisingly versatile one in the field of photography. You might use it to compliment a brooding subject, highlight complexities in a landscape, or simply add drama and deep contrast to an otherwise ordinary moment. The emotional effect of dark, moody editing will be different in each of these scenarios, but in every case, the image becomes a timeless and unforgettable one; even an amateur photoshoot can deliver professional-looking photos with the right editing.
You can achieve a moody look through manual adjustments in Lightroom, but it’s not the best way to do things. To get a really good moody edit manually, you have to adjust highlights, contrast, tone curves, saturation, luminance, and color mixing -- all in a particular order and in precise amounts. You could honestly make hundreds of trial-and-error passes at this method before finding a successful look, and even then, it may not be the look you were hoping to get.
This is, of course, is precisely why we have presets (and why I love creating them). Presets, generally sold in collections with a cohesive vibe, allow us to try dozens of different moody looks on our photos in a few minutes, so that we can devote more of our energy to personalizing the editing and the images off of a solid foundation.
A quick Google search will bring you hundreds of moody Lightroom presets available for purchase, but they are not all created equal. To help you get started on the right foot with moody editing, I’ve picked out my top three picks for the Best Lightroom Presets for Moody Photography. So without further ado, let’s take a look at them!
The Wild Lavender preset collection is probably my favorite right now, which might be because it’s new and exciting, or it might be because of the way they turn ordinary photos into works of bohemian art. It includes 17 color presets and 3 grain adjustments for a total of 20 ways to change the feel of your photos. These presets make green, natural backdrops stand out in a stunning way, so they’re perfect for outdoor summer photoshoots. They use lots of brown, silver, and lilac tones to create a warmth that is (let’s face it) much more comfortable and inviting than the summer heat we sometimes have to put up with for those same outdoor shoots.
One of the most impressive things about them, to me, is that they can also convey an emotional warmth. These presets help to capture the significance of intimate moments between family members and loved ones. Sometimes trying to preserve memories in a way that shows how precious they are can be stressful, and presets like this make the job a lot easier.
The Wanderlust collection is full of moody presets that also have a slightly vintage feel, with muted colors and warm tones. It has 14 color presets, 3 black-and-white presets, and 3 grain adjustment tools to make your moody editing easier. They are the perfect presets for photos taken at the golden hour or under an overcast sky; any outdoor photos can be instantly transformed with presets from this collection. These are must-have presets which any editor should have handy in her toolbox for moody editing.
So huge was the popularity of the Wanderlust collection that I had to follow it up with a sequel: the Wanderlust II collection. This second volume of the Wanderlust series follows in the footsteps of the first with its moody tones, muted colors, and overall warm vibe. The 20 color presets and 3 black-and-white presets are great additions for anyone who has used Wanderlust I presets before; if there was a preset in Wanderlust that was almost exactly what you wanted, the perfect one is probably in Wanderlust II. This collection compliments the original with an updated take on dramatic, moody editing that carries on smoothly from where the originals left off. Outdoor weddings, family photoshoots, and other important life moments carry new emotional weight with these presets. You can also snag the Wanderlust bundle which will add them both to your cart at the same time!
You now know everything you need to know to get started with one (or all) of my favorite moody presets for Lightroom. As you’re probably aware, having the right presets can totally change the editing game, so do yourself a favor by having some of these awesome presets by your side as you get into moody editing.
It’s worth noting that the Boudoir Tones preset collection also offers some great moody vibes -- just of a slightly different flavor. And as a bonus, it lets you perfect any skin tone with ease.
If you loved the preset collections I reviewed here and would be interested in seeing more editing tools crafted with that same expertise, check out this shop full of Lightroom and ACR preset collections and bundles; there are presets there for just about any vibe or mood under the sun.
Want to explore more presets and editing? Check out my VIP All Access Embrace Membership where you’ll get exclusive presets delivered right to your inbox bi-weekly for just 9.99 a month.
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