Favorite Lightroom Presets for Black Women | Ijeoma Kola

Favorite Lightroom Presets for Black Women

I’ve been getting a couple of questions lately on how I edit my photos for Instagram, since I’ve changed from editing using various mobile apps to using Lightroom presets. Let me preface all this by saying that there’s no right or wrong way to edit your pictures, and if Snapseed/VSCO/mobile apps are working for you, then there’s no need to spend money on Lightroom presets. But if you’re looking for a way to bulk edit a lot of images, or if you’re looking to create a distinct look in your images and make your feed more cohesive, then using Lightroom presets for black women might be a good option for you!

Before we dive into which presets are best, let me tell you what NOT to do when buying presets. Don’t purchase presets from people who don’t look like you. Why? Because non bloggers of color often do not take into account brown skin tones when creating their presets. So when you purchase a random preset online, apply it to your pictures, and wonder why your skin is SO orange, this is why. Yes, you can go ahead and tweak it but there are so many beautiful lightroom presets for black women, made by women of color, ya might as well support a sista!

So without further ado, here are the lightroom presets that I love for black skin, with an explanation of who they’re good for and with demonstrations of each preset! I tried to include examples of each preset used on different kinds of photos (mobile & RAW; white, outdoor, & street backgrounds) and I made no other adjustments so the presets are applied fully. 98% of the time when I use a preset I make some adjustments, but I wanted to show the stark difference of how each preset changes the photo. Ok, enough blabbering, on to the presets!

Marrica Evans Presets

Best for beginners and people who want subtle tweaks

Not ideal for people who like the color yellow

Favorite Lightroom Presets for Black Women - Marrica Evans Presets

L-R: Original, Fifty Shades, Bright & Airy, Brown Sugar, Sandy Beaches

Favorite Lightroom Presets for Black Women - Marrica Evans Presets

L-R: Original, Fifty Shades, Bright & Airy, Brown Sugar, Sandy Beaches

Favorite Lightroom Presets for Black Women - Marrica Evans Presets

Marrica’s presets are the latest I’ve added to my collection, but I promise you I’ve been waiting on her to drop these ever since we shot together over the summer! What I love so much about her presets are that they aren’t overdone. I can often apply her preset without having to do much additional tweaking to my images. Fifty Shades is her signature preset (I think!), and just makes every image pop. I can’t explain how it simultaneously dulls some of the colors in the background while making the subject stand out, but it’s magical. Bright & Airy is a perfect starter preset for almost everybody, and if you are always looking for a way to make your pictures brighter or you shoot with a lot of white backgrounds, this is the one for you. If you like how Chizi Duru edits her pictures with a brown glow, then Brown Sugar is your bae, and if you like a slightly peachier and muted feed, then Sandy Beaches is for you. Keep in mind that Marrica desaturates her yellows ALL the way down, so if you wear yellow a lot and you like either Fifty Shades or Bright & Airy, you’ll have to adjust this often, which might be annoying. Marrica does include a really helpful user guide when you purchase her presets that tells you how to correct your photos if they’re looking too warm or if something is off, making this the best option for people new to Lightroom.

Asiyami Gold Presets

Best for travelers or people who take a lot of landscape/lush green photography

Not ideal for streetstyle photography or beginner Lightroom users

Favorite Lightroom Presets for Black Women - Asiyami Gold Cuba Presets

Top L-R: Original, Cuba 1, Cuba 2; Bottom L-R: Cuba 3, Cuba 4, Cuba 5

Favorite Lightroom Presets for Black Women - Asiyami Gold Cuba Presets

Top L-R: Original, Cuba 1, Cuba 2; Bottom L-R: Cuba 3, Cuba 4, Cuba 5

Favorite Lightroom Presets for Black Women - Asiyami Gold Cuba Presets

Asiyami probably needs no introduction, because her eye for photography and her beautifully curated feed is absolutely stunning. I started using her presets on my trip to Japan and quickly got hooked on the magic that happened with the reds and oranges of my photos. I like that Asiyami sells her presets in packs, so you actually get 5 presets for each purchase. I have the Cuba pack, which seemed to be best for my tastes but honestly I bought it on a whim. Cuba 2 is usually my go to, but Cuba 3 is great for people who like saturated photos, and Cuba 5 is good for people who like a lot of contrast and sharpness and prefer muted colors. I have yet to find a use case for Cuba 4, so good thing these come in a bundle! While Marrica’s presets are often perfect straight out of the box, Asiyami’s edits require a few more adjustments, which might be difficult for beginner Lightroom users. That said, when I started using Asiyami’s presets is when I started getting all the questions about how I edit, so her presets definitely catch people’s eye. The new Tropics collection is also beautiful, and maybe I’ll get it when I embark on my next adventure!

Chasing Denisse Presets

Best for people with urban/streetstyle feeds

Not ideal for people who shoot a lot of nature

Favorite Lightroom Presets for Black Women - Chasing Denisse Presets

Left Column: Original; Right Column: Vibrant Thing

Denisse’s presets were actually the very first I used after shooting with her before she moved to Arizona (insert sad face!). I feel like her presets were made for NYC fashion bloggers (which makes sense since that was the bulk of her photography clientele), so definitely a great option for people there or who want to emanate that style. A lot of my images have been edited with Denisse’s Vibrant Thing preset (like this one and this one), but she has SO very many options to choose from (like Concrete Jungle which also looks bomb, Now Trending which is a blogger fave), so definitely compare! I really appreciate that Denisse’s presets work well on a variety of skin tones, and actually think they are slightly better suited for darker skinned people (can you see Jonathan’s skin popping?!), whereas sometimes I feel like my own skin is a bit too light with the preset applied straight out of the box. But nothing that a bit of tweaking can’t fix! I also don’t think Vibrant Thing is great for outdoor photography unless you like really punchy colors, but I lean towards more subdued blues and greens.

*6/15/19 Editor’s update: It appears that Vibrant thing is no longer available, but the two presets that are most in my style that are currently offered are Spring Street and In the Know. I just bought them both!

My Go Tos
Favorite Lightroom Presets for Black Women | Ijeoma Kola

L-R: Original, Fifty Shades, Cuba 2, Vibrant Thing

Favorite Lightroom Presets for Black Women | Ijeoma Kola

L-R: Original, Fifty Shades, Cuba 2, Vibrant Thing

Favorite Lightroom Presets for Black Women | Ijeoma Kola

So those are the presets I use, and the ones I think are the best for black women! If you like my feed, then my go to presets are Marrica’s Fifty Shades, Asiyami’s Cuba 2, and Denisse’s Vibrant Thing. Fifty Shades is perfect for beginners, Cuba 2 is great if you want a warm hint of peach on your pics, and Vibrant Thing is perfect for moody, rugged, street style photos that are more cool toned. I know it can be difficult to find the right preset for you, but hopefully this post helped make that process a bit easier!

Which Lightroom preset is your fave? Are the any other lightroom presets for black women that I should know about?

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Comments

  1. I am so happy I found this. ? exactly what I was looking for. I am a beginner when it comes to photography. My goal is to elevate my images on my blog and IG
    I own Marrica Sandy Beaches and wanting to try others that compliment black skin. Thank you ??

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