Lightroom Presets – Focal Point Background Effects

A while back I had an idea about using the adjustment brush to create a focal point in certain parts of the photo (by darkening the rest of the photo). The vignetting controls (in the Effects panel) are great for doing this but if your subject isn’t in the middle of the photo then it doesn’t work as well. So I figured I could use the adjustment brush to darken parts of the photo and save it as a preset. Nope! I quickly found out you couldn’t save adjustment brush controls as a preset, so I went back to the drawing board and came up with this idea instead. I’ve created 8 different presets that each use the Graduated Filter to do something similar. 4 of them are for Portraits (or portrait oriented images) and 4 of them are for landscape oriented photos (top left, top right, bottom left, and bottom right). Enjoy ‘em and let me know what you think!

Here’s the before/after:


  • Johnathan Lyman


    The presets never seem to stop flowing from your mind, do they!?


    • Matt Kloskowski

      Unfortuately many things stop flowing from my mind ;)

  • Melinda

    Thank you! I’ve already tried out one of your presets today and it worked great!

  • ffurb

    Matt, worked great, love that you can just scroll through them! I used a landscape preset on a portrait crop and it looked great. Thanks again

  • ffurb

    … is there a way to “stack” the presets (add two)?

    • Matt Kloskowski

      Not really. You can add two but te second will overwrite any settings that the first uses

  • Dave Pruett

    Thanks for yet another clever L4 preset, Mr. K!

    • Matt Kloskowski

      No sweat!

  • Dennis Zito

    These are fantastic Matt! You always seem to come up with something I’ve been trying to do! :-) I noticed that some of them have two or more gradients. I’m assuming this was to simulate a circle? I’ve been working on some photos I took of a Cross Walk from our old church to our new church and was trying to figure out a way to focus lighting on the Cross in each picture … now I know!

    Thanks Matt!


  • Kovacs Maureen

    I just upgraded to a MacBook Pro. I get your RSS feed to my email in Safari. However, I have had trouble trying to get the RSS feed on the new Mac. It doesn’t work anymore and wants you to go through Google. I prefer to get it on my email – any suggestions as to how to get this.

    i just love the presets and use the HDR one the most. Thanks so much

    • Matt Kloskowski

      Hmmm. I just used Chrome and it tries to open an RSS reader plug-in of sorts. Not sure about Safari. I used Firefox though and it worked fine. Here’s the link:

  • Jimi Jones (@JimiJones)

    Thanks so much for creating and sharing these, Matt. I have really enjoyed them and they make great jumping off points for creating others.

  • lieann

    I am not native english speaker and I did’nt really understand where you put your ‘. Irtemplate’. Is it in the develop presets files or in the local adjustment presets files ? tks

  • Rhys Gelig

    wow thanks for the present. works great.

  • Tamara

    Thanks for these, Matt. I like how they make my photos ‘pop’.

  • Renate S.

    Thank you very much, Matt! :o)

  • Steve

    Thank you Matt, worked great for my project.

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  • Kumar Rege

    Hi, I have been using your presets for a while and really find them useful. I have one question–I mainly use Camera Raw for my processing and if I use your preset I have to transfer the file to Lightroom and back again. Is there any way of transferring the presets to Camera Raw, alternatively is there a quick way of transferring the files between lightroom and Camera Raw. Thanks again for your presets.I use Mac.

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  • Liz Ponce De Leon

    Hello everybody , I am new on lightroom please tell me if you have any instruction on how to get all those fade earth tone that everybody is using on their pictures and how can i go by learning the first steps please