E L Y S E R O W L A N D P H O T O G R A P H Y . C O M
Lightroom Presets are a fabulous way to speed up your editing and create cohesive imagery. I've heard some say they feel like they're 'cheating' when they use one, but I see it differently... I see presets as a way to find your personal editing voice, refine it, and out of that create something completely unique to your style.
When I use a preset, I'm beginning with the creator's base, and then tweaking things to suit my style. It takes some playing around, getting to know the adjustments in Lightroom's Develop module, but there are so many great tutorials out there, like this one by Lynda.com for example.
Edited with Kodak Gold from VSCO Pack 05.
I simply love this photographer. She's incredibly talented and fun to follow. I originally purchased her Sunset Collection and Matte + Haze set, but she's since put out an Indoor set, Old School film set, and a Black + White collection that look amazing.
I adore Pack 05 from the VSCO presets! This pack, along with Pack 01, seem to be the most popular in the photography circles I'm part of, and they come with great tweaking tools within the pack, such as Contrast + or -, Fade Shadows, and Luminous + or -. These are the presets I recommend to anyone who's looking for a film look with plenty of versatility.
Before and After: Straight out of Camera vs. edited with VSCO Kodak Gold
3. LXC (loren x chris)
I tend to use LXC mostly for my in-home sessions or on gray winter days because of the rich skin tones, and muted greens. I often pull the yellow saturation out a bit, as well as add contrast. If you look on the website, you'll also see a preset pack called LXCN. If were I buying now, I would purchase that pack instead since I've heard the skin tones are easier to work with and have a more realistic, modern style.
MAKING THE DECISION
Whatever preset you end up choosing to purchase, remember to be patient with yourself - it can take some serious time to find your style. Have an idea in mind of the look you're wanting to create before you sit down at your computer, and then keep practicing, watch YouTube tutorials, and play, play, play until you feel you've confidently achieved the style you're after.