How to reset or revert an image to its original state in Lightroom – Love Lightroom Presets


  • How to reset or revert an image to its original state in Lightroom
  • Post author
    Todd Sisson
  • resetting an image in lightroom

How to reset or revert an image to its original state in Lightroom

Wondering how to reset a photo back to its original, unedited state - as it was when imported? Lightroom makes it super easy, but there are two ways to skin this particular cat - I think one way is better than the other!

I reckon that the greatest feature of Adobe Lightroom is it's non-destructive editing workflow.  What does non-destructive mean? Basically there is nothing that you can do to your image that can't be undone - the original image is never altered, Lightroom simply 'overlays' changes in a seamless manner leaving the source image un-touched.

Even better, your Lightroom catalog retains the step by step edit history for all time - just remember to backup your catalog regularly and you will always be able to review and change your edits.  This is not the case in Photoshop where the editing history is lost every time an image is saved and closed and it is ridiculously easy to over-write an original file with the edited version - especially if you are working with JPEGS!

Customers of our Lightroom Preset Packs often wonder how to get their photos back to the original, imported state after applying a preset. There are two ways to do this - here is a step-by-step guide to both methods:

1. Get into the Develop Module.

With your image selected enter Develop module in Lightroom.

Because we are wanting to make changes to the image settings (reset all changes) we must be in Develop module - click the button shown above or hit the shortcut key (D).

2. Locate The History Panel

The History panel shows a blow-by-blow list of all the edits made on each image - the most recent edit is at the top and at the bottom resides the Import state item.

The History panel sits just below the Navigator on the left hand margin. Open it by clicking the little triangle next to the History title...

3. Reset Method One

One way to reset your edit state back to original Import state is to simply click on the Import item at the bottom of the History panel.

Clicking the Import item reverts the image edit settings to the file's original state.

You will note that the edits are still shown above and any of these can be reselected - but WARNING, if you perform a new edit after you have clicked on this 'Import' line all previous edit history will be overwritten. If you want to avoid losing these edits you are best to use the next Reset method...

4. Reset Method Two

This method allows you to Reset to original state while retaining any previous editing history - handy if you are wanting to try some radically different approach but think you may want to go back to your previous edits...

The method is super simple - just hover over the image in Develop Module and right click to open the contextual menu. Hover over Settings and then click Reset.

This will Reset your image to its original settings BUT it retains all of the previous editing history - I think this is a better method of resetting an image, as it provides greater backwards flexibility!

I hope that this little guide to resetting an image in Lightroom has been of assistance! If you are a fan of our Lightroom presets be sure to remember this method when playing with various preset options! 

Cheers - and happy editing!


  • Post author
    Todd Sisson
  • resetting an image in lightroom