I've done work on a number of images in my lightroom catalog and created some presets on the way. I then had an issue with creative cloud and had to uninstall and delete my adobe directories. I kept the directory with my lightroom images in it but I deleted the directory with the presets and I don't have any backups of the catalogue.

When I load lightroom, the images still have the preset effects on them but they are not visible in the preset dropdown/folder.

I can go image to image and save the 'settings' as a new preset, but I wouldn't know if I then have duplicate presets or not.

Is there a way to 'autimagically' re-create the presets? Or is there some way to get the preset info out of each image automatically?

Edit: the process followed was:
- Imported images to lightroom
- Processed image1 and created preset1
- Processed image2 and created preset2
- Processed image3 and created preset1
- etc..
- Saved processed images
- reinstalled CC and deleted the presets folder by accident but not the saved, processed images.
- Currently I can open the processed images in lightroom and save the preset but don't know which preset belongs to which images and there are about 500+ images.

  • \$\begingroup\$ These are processed raw images, right? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented May 7, 2017 at 13:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mattdm - yes, they are. \$\endgroup\$
    – richardw
    Commented May 7, 2017 at 15:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not a Lightroom user so I can't really help, but another way to look at this might be "how can I deduplicate presets"? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented May 7, 2017 at 15:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ I expect the list of actions are stored in the catalog-database file thing. Sadly I've never dealt with the underlying database to assist more. \$\endgroup\$
    – Crazy Dino
    Commented May 7, 2017 at 15:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mattdm thanks - that is something I have been thinking of. I can write some code to compare the saved presets but having to save 500+ presets (1 from each image) is going to be bothersome :/ \$\endgroup\$
    – richardw
    Commented May 7, 2017 at 16:00

1 Answer 1


Let me see if I can put this to bed, though it is not a terribly satisfactory answer.

A Lightroom preset is a collection of settings, so once applied, the preset itself is not needed (by lightroom) to render the image. That is in contrast to something like a camera profile - the profile is used each time the image is rendered, so if you have a custom profile and lose it, the profile's impact is lost, and Lightroom reverts to a default value.

Further, a preset adds or replaces other settings. So if you process an image with preset1, then preset2, then manual settings, the result is a mixed together group of settings. Settings in preset2 of the same slider will overlay preset 1; of mutually exclusive sliders will then have both present.

You can take an image at any time, and save its current settings as a new preset, so you can recreate a preset in that fashion EXCEPT it will include any changes you may have made afterwards, for example if you applied Preset1 then changed the shadow slider, and save it - you get a different shadow slider. (You can limit which settings are saved, of course). You can use the develop history to step back to a point with just the preset, if it was the first thing applied.

Further complicating this, once you apply a preset then make any other change, the metadata for the preset (i.e. what you get if you filter by preset) just becomes "custom". The only place I think the act of applying the preset is retained is in the develop history, which is accessible to plugins and in the history view, but is not something you can (at least in vanilla lightroom) sort or select by.

So if your goal is to recreate all your presets, I would start first by seeing if they show up in the metadata filter for presets at all. If so, you can find an image that had it applied and no prior or subsequent changes; save it's develop settings, done.

For others, you have to hunt in history to find a point at which the develop preset was applied, and revert to that point, and save the then-current develop settings. How to know which settings were saved in each preset (i.e. which saved and which excluded) - no idea, unless you just know.

Update 6/7/2017: The following answer may also be of help if you want to access the catalog directly: here


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