While Actions are a feature available in Photoshop full version or Photoshop Elements, Presets are available in Adobe Lightroom. Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets are used in a post-processing workflow to edit photographs, but both are not one and the same. A preset is a premeditated position of all the sliders or some of the sliders, and can help in editing the photos quickly and can be saved for working on an entirely different photo in future. When editors click on a given preset, the setting gets transferred to the photo within seconds if the software in use Adobe Lightroom.
On the other hand, Photoshop actions are a bunch of manually saved retouching steps, which can be used many times over. Photoshop would render each of the steps when an action is clicked and they may include standard layers, clipping masks and opacity layers. Adobe Lightroom is mainly used to edit photographs having .RAW file extension in professional picture editing.
If the photos are captured in RAW, white balance as well as light exposure won’t be embedded in the photograph making the subject look dull. RAW photographs would give need some amount of post-processing henceforth. The presets in Lightroom would take that into account and can make the RAW photo that much appealing. Many of the DSLR cameras enable RAW photography and are a file format used to record the photos.
This would mean photographers need to retouch the photo, as the cameras are set to capture in RAW. However, if the photos are captured in JPEG format by the photographer, the camera would render a certain brightness level, color contrast, sharpness etc. Latest versions of Lightroom can also be used to edit the JPEG photographs and the presets to enhance the attributes captured by the camera. If shot in RAW, the photo must be converted in Lightroom prior to retouching them in Photoshop.
Further, many of the cameras feature a RAW file converter but if newer cameras are used to photograph, the RAW files may not be able to open in Lightroom. If that is the case with you, you should copy the same in a disc featuring in the camera and upload the same to Photoshop. Actions won’t work on RAW photographs because once the photo will be opened in the software it ceases to become RAW but turns enhanced instead.