How to create your own Instagram presets - and sell them for passive income


Instagram tips

When people think about earning money through Instagram, they normally think of brand sponsorships. However, there are many other ways to earn money through your Instagram account - and selling presets is one of them.

The beauty of presets is that, once they’re made and capturing attention, you can sell them to recurrently make money while you sleep and grow a profitable business.

There is always demand from aspiring Instagram creators who want to get their profiles looking just as beautiful and cohesive as those who are already established on the platform. For your customers, presets are a great way to build an attractive Instagram feed that allures new likes, comments, and followers.

That said, creating and selling presets isn’t as straightforward as you may initially think. Luckily, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you succeed with your presets.

Let's jump in.

Have a plan before you begin creating Instagram presets

Take the stress out of creating Instagram presets by doing all the hard thinking beforehand.

Consider the look you’re going for

Firstly, ask yourself what editing style are you trying to emulate? There are so many to choose from, whether it’s a retro look, vibrant, vintage, or film-like.

If you’ve had your own Instagram account for a while and are well-versed in shooting and editing photos, it’s likely that you’ll have developed your own editing style.

It takes months of playing with different variables to define this, such as:

  • Exposure and brightness
  • Contrast
  • Color temperature
  • Color saturation
  • Tone

Although once you’ve landed on an editing style that works for your photos and is giving you traction, you can keep applying the same settings to replicate the aesthetic and success.

Define your niche and target audience

Instead of offering one-size-fits-all, hone in on a target audience for your presets. This will naturally come with defining an editing style.

For instance, Instagram creator Tram @tramnble posts travel photos of herself in exotic places and gets thousands of likes. She had already grown a following for her editing style before creating products based on this.

Therefore, she knew she was targeting fellow travel creators who wanted their pictures to look as impressive and impactful as hers.

Once you have your target audience in mind, you can tailor your product(s) and all your marketing material toward them. Tram now offers several collections based on her pictures, from Tropical and Travel Essentials to Summer and Natural Tones.

All she had to do was tweak the variables of her original preset to produce these collections. 

It’s a smart idea to start by selling your own editing style and then you can always expand your product range based on the response of your audience.

Decide on your packages

Do you want to just create and sell one package initially? Or do you want to offer various packages with multiple editing styles?

For example, Instagram creator and blogger Maddie @maddieperry was originally known for her bright and glowy editing style that she often adapted for individual photos on her feed. Some had warm and vintage tones, whereas others were cooler and more natural.

When she decided to sell presets, she launched the “Original Pack” that featured her mix of editing styles. Soon after, she launched the “Blonde Pack” and “Bronze Pack” to split up the dark and light editing styles.

These two packages catered for both the audience that preferred her lighter editing style and the audience that solely wanted to purchase her darker editing style.

The lesson here? Think about how best to serve your audience and meet their needs with what you have to offer.

Choose a software to create your own Instagram presets 

Adobe Lightroom is the most popular software for creating presets. After all, it makes the whole process quick and seamless.

There is a monthly cost to use Lightroom on your desktop. However, most creators opt for the free mobile app. This is especially handy for making, editing and exporting presets as you go about your daily life.

Adobe Photoshop is another option. The process just takes a little longer and requires more effort because you have to convert the file type at the end to be able to use it in Lightroom.

Like Lightroom, there is a monthly subscription charge to use Photoshop. Adobe does offer Photoshop Express though, which is free to use on mobiles.


How to create your own presets in Lightroom

Creating your own presets in Lightroom is pretty simple once you’ve refined your editing style(s). Once you’ve edited a photo in the Lightroom mobile app, follow the below instructions.

  1. Tap the three little dots in the top right-hand corner.
  2. Select “Create Preset.”
  3. Add a name for your preset and the “group” you want to save it in.
  4. Tap the tick in the top right-hand corner. 
3 screenshots showing the preset creation process in Lightroom

Instagram creator and blogger Ellie @thegingerwanderlust recommends “trying it out on other photos to make sure the preset works on more than one picture” before you export it.

To do this:

  1. Open another photo in your Lightroom mobile app.
  2. Tap the “Presets” button along the bottom.
  3. Swipe across to the “Yours” tab where you will find your preset.
  4. Select the preset to apply it.

When it comes to exporting your presets to sell them, there are a few more steps involved once you’ve edited a photo with the preset.

  1. Tap the share button.
  2. Choose “Export as…”.
  3. Select “DNG” from the drop-down box.
  4. You’ll then be shown numerous options for where to save your preset. You can save it to your phone files or air-drop it to another device. You can even save it to a cloud storage facility, such as iCloud, Google Drive, or Dropbox.
3 screenshots showing the preset creation process in Lightroom

Because Lightroom is the most popular tool among the masses for applying presets to images, DNG is the most common file type for presets. This is because DNG works harmoniously with Lightroom to retain quality. 

The good news is, you can open DNG files in Photoshop and save the settings so that they can be applied to other images for Photoshop users.

When it comes to selling your Lightroom presets, all you have to do is locate the DNG file and upload it to your eCommerce system.

How to create your own presets in Photoshop

You may have developed an editing style that you like in Photoshop with adjustment layers by altering different things like the hue/saturation, brightness/contrast, and/or vibrance. Photoshop allows you to create a preset to use across multiple images if you follow these instructions.

  1. Hover over the “File” menu and go to “Export.”
  2. Select “Color Lookup Tables.”
  3. Click “Ok” and rename your preset.
  4. Hit “Save.”

Photoshop will save your preset as a LUT file, which can then be imported and used by other Photoshop customers.

Having said that, keep in mind that it’s worth converting your LUT files so they can be used and applied to photos in Lightroom. You can do this via Adobe Bridge.

Otherwise, you’d have to sell your presets as editing styles that can only be bought and used by Photoshop subscribers.

Distribute your Instagram presets on multiple platforms

Most creators who offer presets sell them via their own websites. The Instagram Shop feature is currently only for physical products.

If you’re a blogger as well as an Instagram creator, you can sell presets on your blog instead of a designated website. Create a new page for them and place it on your top navigation menu so that visitors can access them quickly and effortlessly.

You can also sell presets across marketplaces for creative digital assets such as Creative Market and Etsy.

Presets on Etsy

There are several advantages of selling presets through your own hosted website:

  • You own the website and all the content
  • You have full editorial control
  • You can set the price and there are no added fees
  • There's minimal maintenance work once you've set it up

However, it can be hard to raise awareness and drive traffic to your own website, and remember to factor in the need to choose an eCommerce plugin to download or platform to work with (e.g. Shopify).

Alternatively, you could sell your presets through creative marketplaces. Advantages include:

  • You can benefit from the existing traffic on the marketplace
  • Visitors already trust the website so are more likely to buy
  • It's easy to set up a product and get selling
  • You have the support of the marketplace to help you

However, bear in mind that with this approach, you don't have full control of your content. The marketplace could shut down one day, and take your preset listings with them. You'll also lose a percentage of your revenue to platform fees.

We actually recommend distributing your presets through both of these channels. The more selling channels you have, the more opportunities your products have to be seen by your target audience.

And the more likely you are to generate sales. (It’s a no-brainer!)

Learn how to protect your Instagram from hackers with Notch

Top selling tips for your own Instagram presets

Like with any small business, making sure the product is ready to distribute is only half the work. The other half is all about promoting your product, acquiring customers, and getting money in your pocket.


Use Instagram to your advantage

As well as selling via more than one distribution channel, you can reach more creators by hanging out where they’re all hanging out. (Hint: Instagram.)

Tap into the audience you’ve already got on the platform and promote your presets at every opportunity. How? Here are a few ideas:

  • Set up another account for your presets where you can build a following of potential buyers and put the link for this account in your current account’s bio
  • Use your own photos in “before” and “after” promotional posts to shout about how your presets will offer the best transformations
  • Depending on your budget, consider running some paid ads on Instagram that show off your presets

You can also use a link-in-bio tool to drive profile visitors to the shopping page for your presets. Instagram creator and blogger Em @emshelx uses LinkTree and also links to her Instagram presets account in her bio for maximum visibility.

Make the most of existing connections

If you’ve already built a community via Instagram, ask friends and followers alike to share and support your brand new venture.

You could even consider paying an influencer to promote your presets for you if you can afford it.

Shout about them at every opportunity

According to the Marketing Rule of 7, consumers need to see advertising messages and be reminded of an offer at least seven times before they commit to it.

Be consistent with your promotional activity to get the best results. And remember it will take time to develop a customer base, like with any new business.

Nail your promotional copy

It’s not enough just to ask potential customers to buy your presets, you need to communicate why they need them in their life.

Whether this is through your website product descriptions or social media captions, make sure you’re following the key rules of product copywriting.

Freelance content and copywriter Katie Davies says: “Before writing any piece of product copy, ask yourself what problem this product solves.”

She continues: “Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Show them through your words that you relate to their problem. Then introduce your product as the solution.”

A common technique used by copywriters in the industry is to ask yourself “so what?” after every sentence. Avoid having sentences in there “just because” and instead make every sentence count.

Always end product copy with a Call-To-Action, such as:

  • “Click the link in my bio to find out how my presets will change your Insta game forever”
  • “What are you waiting for? It’s time to transform your pictures to gain more professional opportunities today”

It helps to include buzzwords that will create a sense of urgency and encourage conversions like:

  • Now
  • Hurry
  • Instant
  • Final
  • Today

Certain phrases do the same job, such as “before it’s too late” or “while you still can.”

Show, don’t tell

Another powerful way to strengthen your selling tactics is by backing up what you’re saying with pictures and stories.

Use Instagram Stories to post step-by-step videos for your audience about how to use your presets. Showcase social proof through customer testimonials and feedback.

You won’t have social proof to show straight away though—and that’s okay. When you first begin to sell your presets, think about giving a handful away for free in exchange for a review and/or shout-out on social media.

It’s all about building a portfolio of testimonials that you can use to sell more presets in the future. After all, 85% of consumers rely upon online reviews as much as recommendations from loved ones. Ultimately, testimonials have the power to significantly bump up interest and conversions.

The takeaway

If you’re considering creating and selling presets, it helps to already have a strong audience on Instagram that dotes on your photos as well as an established editing style. This is why those with hundreds of thousands of followers tend to find the most success selling presets.

You can build an audience and editing style from scratch alongside launching your presets but it will take longer to see results.

Either way, there’s one major benefit of opting for presets as an income stream. Essentially, once you’ve put in the work to produce them, you can sell them for as long as you want without them losing relevance—and keep making passive income.

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