A Guide to Free, Low Cost & Premium Presets
You’re ready to find presets that elevate your portfolio and provide consistency in your workflow- but where to begin? With so many presets on the market it can feel overwhelming to find the “perfect match” that will compliment your creativity.
Presets can be classified in many different ways, but here we’re looking at the differences between free, low cost, and premium presets.
Thousands upon thousands of companies offer “free presets” that, at first glance, seem like a good deal. What’s not to love about beautifying your images at no extra cost?
While there’s no harm in downloading free presets and giving them a try, you’ll quickly find that they tend to be inconsistent and can’t provide you with the elevated imagery you’re looking for.
Free presets are usually quickly thrown together and have not been tested on dozens of camera bodies or painstakingly adjusted to fit the widest variety of images.
How do we know?
Well, Refined Co HAS done the work to create consistent presets and with the amount of research, testing, and refining it takes to produce a good product? They can’t be free. In fact, many free presets are stolen copies from professional brands like ours.
Besides inconsistency, free presets don’t come with any updates on your product, tech support, customer support, or continuing education. In other words, they are fine to play around with if you’re new to using presets, but if you’re looking to leverage presets for professional use? It is probably time to invest.
image by TEC PETAJA
Low Cost Presets typically range from $5-$40. You might see these presets floating around from social media influencers, photographers, and educators. Again, there is no harm in exploring a variety of presets to find your signature look…however you will quickly find that Low Cost Presets are very similar to Free Presets in their lack of consistency. These presets are developed with one lighting situation in mind and can’t handle the technical nuance required for a variety of environments
When presets are sold at a low cost, it’s safe to assume they are mass produced and have not been extensively tested like a Premium Preset. They generally don’t have free updates + upgrades as software evolves, editing tutorials, tech support, customer service, or communities with other photographers to draw from. They can also be heavy-handed in editing to produce a dramatic look that simply doesn’t transfer well to a professional photographer's camera roll.
image by CAROLINE TRAN
Premium Presets take over one year to develop…sometimes more! They are painstakingly tested on a variety of camera bodies and thousands of shoots by hundreds of photographers. Professionalism, consistency, and editing efficiency are at the foundation of Premium Presets as well as the ability to provide a specific look despite different photographers and gear.
The edits you’ll see from Premium Presets are used by acclaimed photographers and are strong enough for editorial print publication, luxury celebrity weddings, book photography, and more.
Premium presets include free upgrades as software and camera bodies evolve, a community for help and support, full tech support, editing tutorials, and educational videos. They are designed for the professional photographer to achieve an elevated and polished style over and over again.
image by KT MERRY
At Refined Co, our premium presets and editing tools amplify what makes your creativity unique to consistently produce the elevated look you want. We collaborate with our favorite photographers so that you can borrow the best of their work to seamlessly elevate yours.
Interested in submitting a session to the REFINED Co Journal. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org