How to Emulate Instagram’s Filters in Lightroom

If you’re trying to get that Instagram filter look in Lightroom, here’s a set of premium Lightroom develop presets that mimic Instagram’s filters.

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Filed Under: Develop Module, Plugins
Topics: Lightgram

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Instagram’s emphasis on mobile isn’t always a good fit for photographers who aren’t always shooting with their phone’s camera. For example, while it’s possible to post photos to Instagram from a desktop, they don’t make it nearly as easy as it could be.

If you’re using Lightroom Classic to process your photos, you obviously have access to some very powerful processing tools. But what if you’ve grown to like the filters built into Instagram? Maybe you’re trying to keep a particular look consistent across several photos. Or maybe you just like the look of them.

One option is to make your own develop presets to emulate the same looks. It’s entirely possible, but it’s a pretty painstaking process that involves a lot of trial and error.

A much quicker and painless way is to use presets where someone else has already done the work. The ones I’ve been using are the Lightgram presets. They’re a selection of 23 Lightroom presets specifically designed to mimic the look of the Instagram filters, from their classic, retired filters to the current selection. It’s a premium set, which means they’re not free–they sell for $29 and you can get them at Lightgram’s website.

Obviously, different filters are going to work better with some photos than others. But here are some examples to give a general sense of how the filters look.

Lightgram Instagram Emulation Filters for Lightroom – Example 1

First, here they are applied to a shot I took while kayaking through the brash ice in the high Arctic. You can find the original, unfiltered version of the photo about 2/3 of the way down the right side.

Lightgram Instagram Filters for Lightroom Example Grid

Lightgram Instagram Emulation Filters for Lightroom – Example 2

Here’s an underwater shot with some bright blues and pinks. As you can see, many of the filters have some pretty extreme effects on those colors. The original shot is in the middle, at top.

Lightgram Instagram Filters for Lightroom Example Grid

Lightgram Instagram Emulation Filters for Lightroom – Example 3

And here’s a gentle landscape shot. You can find the original, untouched version near the middle.

Lightgram Instagram Filters for Lightroom Example Grid


Compatibility. These work with Lightroom 4 and above (and now Lightroom Classic).

Lightroom Process Version. One quirk of these is that they don’t all use the current process (under Camera Calibration in Lightroom). The practical effect of that is that when you use some of the older processes some of the develop tools change. For instance, if you go back to using Version 2 (2010) the basic editing panel will revert to the old-style options with recover and fill-light rather than the new highlights and shadows sliders.

RAW, JPG. These will work with any image file format you can use in Lightroom. That includes RAW and JPG. Because, as with all Lightroom edits in the UI panel, the edits are stored as instructions rather than hard-coded into the original image. That’s the non-destructive workflow at work.

Tweaking. As with all in-Lightroom develop presets, these can be tweaked if you like. And you can then saved the tweaked version as your own develop preset to reuse again later.

Installation. They install just like any other Lightroom develop preset. I’ve put together a guide on how to install Lightroom presets.

Where To Buy Lightgram Presets for Lightroom Classic

You can find these Lightgram presets at Lightgram’s online shop.

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David Coleman / Photographer
by David Coleman

I'm a freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my travel photography here. I've been using Lightroom for years, from back before it was Lightroom (RawShooter). More »

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