Instagram currently has 800 million users with a forecast of 1 billion by the end of the year. Wow. With so much content being pushed out daily, now is the time to take advantage of branding yourself. One way to do that is to embrace the world of custom presets. You may have noticed a trend in Instagram Bio’s where you see the last line where someone is selling “custom presets” or “edit presets”. Or you may have even seen H’s new free presets. If you haven’t gotten in on the fun yet or still trying to wrap your brain around what this growing trend is all about and what you can gain from taking advantage of it. This article is for you. Discover why it’s so important to have your own unique look and what you can do to grow your brand and make some extra cash by using custom presets to your advantage.
Branding yourself is important in a world where creatives, entrepreneurs, bloggers, etc. are trying to stand out in an overcrowded market. One of the best ways to market yourself is to create your own custom look for your visual narrative. The more flair and style you add to your content, the better. That’s why creating your own custom presets are so popular. If you’re not familiar with what custom presets are exactly, it’s very simple. Professional content creators create a shortcut to editing the visual look of their content (color grading, brightness, saturation, etc). Now that there are more and more content creators, everyone is chasing after their own unique look. When you have a custom preset it allows you to quickly edit your content and have a consistent look. So, not only do you have your own special look to your content but you have also saved an enormous amount of time. Most importantly, people know what you’re work looks like because in essence you watermarked it with your own visual look.
After developing your first custom preset, it’s a great idea to create different styles for different moods. For example, you have more warm looks for exterior day shoots and colder looks for night shoots. The point is to create your own library of custom presets that provide you a consistent look for any situation.
Once you’ve created your own library of looks and showcase them to the world, you will inevitably get comments or direct messages of questions like “What color grade do you use?”, “What do you use to edit your photos?” or “How did you get that look?”, etc. When people dig your custom looks, they want to emulate that style for themselves. That’s one of the key reasons why you should take stock in having your own custom looks. Now, once upon a time the response to these questions (if there was a response at all) would be very vague and general. After all, it’s your look! Why would you want anyone to copy off of your hard work! But as things have evolved that way of thinking is outdated when coming up against the reality of if people want your looks they will find a way to copy anyway. You just lost out on an opportunity. This is the day and age of the self-start and creative entrepreneur. Everything is a chance to do something greater. If people find value in your custom looks, why not provide it to them? Which means, now it’s time to explore selling your custom presets.
How do you start selling your custom presets? Easy. In whatever editing tools you use, you simply save the settings. In my case, I edit my content in Adobe Lightroom. Most of us do, so I’ll provide you a rundown of steps with using Lightroom: First, you want to export your presets to your desktop. Then you need to put all of your presets in a zipped file. No, you do not need to export ALL of your looks. Just the ones you feel comfortable distributing to a mass audience. From there, you’ll want to upload your zipped files to your website and link your Paypal or Shopify, etc to your bank account. Set up a price for your presets and create the pricing based on your audience. For example, Jack Morris/Do You Travel charges $60 a preset pack which makes sense because he has over 2.8 million Instagram followers. But someone like myself for example has 40k followers, selling my lightroom presets at $30 sounds more reasonable to the size of my audience. So, understand your true value and don’t charge too much (or too little). Just what you think YOUR audience would actually pay.
Promote your presets! Promote everywhere and do it creatively! Promote on your Instagram feed, your Story, etc. Offer giveaways, contests, anything you can think of to get that demand up. If you have an email newsletter, alert everyone of your presets. Selling your custom presets not only establishes your authority and value, it also provides you an awesome extra stream of income without you having to do much work.
Now that you’ve started selling your custom looks you might be asking yourself, “Well, now everyone else is going to copy my brand. How will I stand out?” Simple. Keep experimenting with new looks and styles. Remember, this is a competitive market that is continuously growing. Even as I am writing this article, Facebook and Instagram have just rolled out new algorithm updates to throw off content creators. Things will change. You have to adapt and take advantage of it. The best way to do that is to keep evolving as an artist. Besides, after enough people buy your custom looks, it only adds more value to your own brand.
Okay, so now you know what steps to take. Let’s get cooking and put words into action! If you want a first-hand look into how to promote and use custom lightroom presets, visit my shop and buy my exclusive preset package. It comes with a FREE Instagram Guide too. Download the pack now and be sure to hit me up for a shoutout/tag. You can find me Instagram or Twitter: @cjjohnsonjr. Follow me or DM me for more tips, tricks, and creative inspo.
CJ Johnson is an award-winning photographer and content creator, co-founder of J+J (listed as one of the Top 50 Digital Agencies in Los Angeles), a GQ Insider, and well-known “Branding Guru”. CJ has helped over 80+ startups to Fortune 500 companies all around the world find success and reach new heights.