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Step-by-Step Guide: How to Install Lightroom Brushes Quickly & Easily



Adobe Lightroom is a powerful tool for photographers and it becomes even more versatile and effective with the addition of brushes. Brushes in Lightroom are used to adjust specific areas of your photos for effects like brightening the eyes, intensifying colors, or smoothing skin, without affecting the rest of the image. This guide will walk you through the simple steps to install lightroom brushes so you can start enhancing your photos right away.

How To Install Lightroom Brushes

Step 1: Download Your Brushes

Before you can install any brushes, you need to download them. You can find brushes on various websites that sell or offer free photography resources. Make sure to visit website that are reputable to download Lightroom brushes. These files are usually in .lrtemplate or .XMP format. Save the downloaded files on your computer in a place where you can easily find them, like your desktop or a specific downloads folder.

Step 2: Open Lightroom to Install Brushes

For Lightroom Classic:

  • Open Lightroom: Launch the Lightroom Classic application on your computer.
  • Go to Preferences: Navigate to the ‘Edit’ menu on a Windows PC or ‘Lightroom’ menu on a Mac, then click on ‘Preferences’.

Show Lightroom Presets Folder:

  • Inside the Preferences window, switch to the ‘Presets’ tab.
  • Click on the button that says ‘Show All Other Lightroom Presets’.

Go to the Local Adjustment Presets Folder:

  • Inside the folder that appears, find and open the ‘Lightroom’ folder.
  • Next, find the ‘Local Adjustment Presets’ folder. If it’s not there, you might need to create it manually by right-clicking, choosing ‘New Folder’, and naming it 
  • ‘Local Adjustment Presets’.

Copy the Downloaded Files:

  • Copy the .lrtemplate or .XMP files you downloaded earlier.
  • Paste them into the ‘Local Adjustment Presets’ folder.

For Lightroom CC (Cloud-Based):

  • Lightroom CC does not support the direct use of local adjustment brushes as presets like Lightroom Classic. However, you can still use basic presets that include brush adjustments indirectly through synced presets from Lightroom Classic.

Step 3: Restart Lightroom

  • Once you have placed the downloaded files into the correct folder, close and reopen Lightroom. This refreshes the program and loads the new brushes into your Lightroom presets panel.

Step 4: Using Your New Brushes

To use your newly installed brushes, follow these steps:

  • Open an Image: Load the photo you want to edit in the ‘Develop’ module.

Select the Adjustment Brush Tool:

  • You can find this tool in the toolbar right above the basic adjustments panel, indicated by a brush icon.
  • Once selected, click on the drop-down menu next to ‘Effect’ to reveal your new brushes.
  • Apply Your Brushes: Choose a brush from the list that fits your needs and start painting over the desired areas of your photo. You can adjust the brush size, feather, flow, and density to get the precise effect you want.

Lightroom Brushes for Advanced Photo Editing

Understanding Brush Files: Lightroom brushes come in two main file formats: .lrtemplate and .XMP. The .lrtemplate was used in earlier versions of Lightroom, whereas .XMP is now more commonly used in the latest versions, including Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC. 

It’s important to know which version of Lightroom you are using to ensure compatibility when you download brushes. Some websites provide brushes in both formats, but always check to ensure you are downloading the right type for your setup.

Enhancing Specific Photo Areas: Brushes are particularly useful for targeting and enhancing specific areas of your photos. For example, you can use a dodge and burn brush to lighten or darken areas to add depth and dimension, or a saturation brush to enhance colors in a dull sky or a sunset. 

The ability to apply these effects precisely where they are needed can dramatically improve the quality and impact of your photographs. Brushes also work wonders on portraits by allowing you to enhance features such as eyes and skin, making your subject really stand out.

Creating Custom Brushes: Beyond downloading and installing brushes, Lightroom also allows you to create your own custom brushes to suit specific needs. This can be particularly useful if you often find yourself making the same adjustments to various photos. 

To create a custom brush, simply adjust the settings in the brush tool as desired, and then save these settings as a new preset brush. This custom brush will then be available for you to use with other photos, providing a consistent look and feel for your work and saving you time during your editing process.

Tips for Using Lightroom Brushes

  • Adjust Opacity: If the effect is too strong, you can adjust the opacity of the brush to reduce its impact.
  • Fine-Tune Adjustments: Combine multiple brushes and adjustment settings to fine-tune your image editing.
  • Regular Updates: Visit the website where you downloaded your brushes regularly for updates or new releases to expand your editing capabilities.


Installing brushes in Lightroom can significantly enhance your photo editing workflow, allowing you to make precise adjustments with ease. Whether you’re looking to do detailed retouching or subtle enhancements, brushes are a valuable tool in your Lightroom arsenal. Just remember to source them from reputable sites and follow these simple installation steps. Happy editing!

FAQs on Installing and Using Lightroom Brushes

1. Can I use Lightroom brushes in both the desktop and mobile versions of Lightroom?

Lightroom brushes are primarily designed for use in Lightroom Classic (the desktop version), which supports local adjustments including brushes. Lightroom CC, the cloud-based version, does not support these types of local adjustment presets directly in its mobile or desktop apps. However, you can apply preset effects that include brush adjustments through synced presets if you use Lightroom Classic in conjunction with Lightroom CC.

2. What should I do if my new brushes don’t appear in Lightroom after installation?

If you’ve installed new brushes and they don’t appear, try the following steps:

  • Restart Lightroom: Close and reopen Lightroom to refresh the application.
  • Check the Installation Path: Ensure that you placed the .lrtemplate or .XMP files in the correct folder, specifically the ‘Local Adjustment Presets’ folder within the Lightroom directory.
  • Upgrade Lightroom: If you are using older versions of Lightroom, consider upgrading to the latest version as file compatibility might be an issue.
  • Check File Compatibility: Make sure the preset files (.lrtemplate or .XMP) are not corrupt and are designed for your version of Lightroom.

3. How can I convert old .lrtemplate brush files to .XMP files?

Adobe Lightroom Classic has been updated to use .XMP files for presets, including brushes, instead of the older .lrtemplate files. To convert .lrtemplate files to .XMP:

  • Update Lightroom Classic: Ensure you have the latest version of Lightroom Classic installed, as it automatically converts .lrtemplate files to .XMP format upon installation.
  • Manually Import .lrtemplate Files: Import the .lrtemplate files into Lightroom Classic by placing them in the ‘Local Adjustment Presets’ folder. Lightroom will convert them to .XMP format automatically.

4. Are there any risks involved in downloading Lightroom brushes from the internet?

While downloading Lightroom brushes, as with any internet download, there are potential risks such as malware, especially if you are not using reputable sources. To minimize these risks:

  • Use Reputable Sources: Download brushes only from well-known and reputable websites. Often, these sites ensure that the files are safe and free from malware.
  • Scan Files Before Use: Use antivirus software to scan the downloaded files before opening or installing them to catch any potential threats.
  • Read Reviews and Feedback: Before downloading from any site, read user reviews and feedback to ensure that others have had positive experiences and that the files are safe and effective.
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