What’s the Difference?
Lightroom Preset changes the settings inside the Develop Module. This can be as little as changing the exposure setting or changing the overall look of the photo from top to bottom.
Lightroom Profile changes the look of a photo just like a preset but it does not change the settings inside the Develop Module.
If you apply a Lightroom preset that makes your photo brighter, you will see that in the Develop module, the exposure setting has changed to +30 right after you have applied such preset. Applying a Lightroom Profile that makes your photo brighter, on the other hand, you will see that the Exposure setting is still set at ‘0’. This is simply because profiles do not change any settings inside the develop module.
Why didn’t I know about this?
Profiles have been in Lightroom for ages but it hasn’t been emphasised until Lightroom version 7.3. Previously they were called Camera Profiles. It has new features too particularly it is now front and centre with the new User Interface so if you haven’t heard about it before that is simply because it did not stand out in the older version of Lightroom.
Unlike Lightroom Presets, profiles have an amount slider from 0 to the default 100 and all the way to ‘200’. You may readjust this slider accordingly to either increase or decrease the overall look of the photo applied using the particular profile. For example, if a profile makes your photo warm, setting it 200 makes it the warmest, and setting it at ‘0’ should turn off that effect completely. Remember in the addition to applying the Profile; you are still able to make adjustments in the Develop Module just as you normally would.
Give it a Try
Just like presets, by default, there’s plenty of profiles that you can use such as Adobe Standard, Adobe Color and Adobe Landscape. Beyond the basic profiles Adobe Creative Cloud subscribers also have the access to many more profiles including “Artistic”, “Vintage”, “Modern” and “Black and White” profiles. Some of our Lightroom extension products come together with ‘Profiles’ too.