LR was OK, but I never loved it. It always felt like I was missing something and in turn my photo edits seemed to lack that something as well.
I feel presets are personal tastes of the photographer or editor and there is no, “One for all”. I’ve never used presets in the past (3+ years ago) with LR.
For me dt was love at 1st sight, so powerful and I liked in the beginning you do have to roll up your sleeves and get dirty a bit. Once you dig in and start to understand how things work the payback is edits come easier and your photos and photography will benefit.
I use styles and modules presents of my own design in dt a lot. I’ve gone through the styles on https://dtstyle.net/ in the past to download a few I liked just so I could see their changes in the modules that made up the style.
I only have a half dozen general styles that are very similar because each one is a step above the previous in my constant progression of my skills and tastes. Through experimentation of existing module presets I find setting variations I like and save them. Just combine your favorite module settings to suite your tastes then save that as a style. When I define a style I will save most all active modules to it with the exception of ones like crop, orientation, etc…
It’s not too much unlike LR for some I bet, but my workflow goes a little something like this. I import photos, applying my name and copyright info to all. After import I use lighttable to quickly scan through the images to find ones of interest and likely keepers at 1st glance giving each one at least one star, more for something I might really want to make work and [R] for all the instant rejects. In lighttable hover you mouse cursor over a thumbnail and pressing the [Z] key will popup a larger preview of that image. It’s fairly quick can be very useful when weeding out the good from the bad without having to open each one in darkroom. Filter the images shown to be one star or greater rating. If there is a lot, or many of the same I’ll now go through those now adding more stars if warranted or removing all star ratings if I find I don’t want it. Note I only filter out rejects and no star ratings. I don’t delete anything at this point, not even the rejects. I’ll select all prospective keepers visible at this point in lighttable and apply my current working preferred general style to all. I’ll go though the results for any stand out issues. If none I leave them alone otherwise I’ll tweak them individually from here on a need basis.
It seems when there are any issues it’s from my composition when shooting, it was to dark, to bright, needs a crop that sort of thing. Sometimes it’s just strong mixed lighting I was shooting in natural light like a recent fair we went to late day. Overbright highlights are my main issue when it happens but I have a few presets for the exposure module that employ parametric masks on the grey channel with tweaked exposure setting that only affect the overbright parts of the image which at a fair at night can be any light source to strong. I’m actually editing a ferris wheel image with the issue. It’s not a bullet proof preset, it will need tweaking from time to time, but it does a pretty good for me most the time.
This is an example of what I was talking about earlier the more you dive in the more you’ll learn, learn to deal with everyday issues in photos that can be fixed with some tweaking and experimentation in dt.
If your worried of screwing any of the settings up or losing any pre-existing presets, or your photo library database in dt just back up your “/home/username/.config/darktable” directory. Which I recommend you do from time to time anyway.
If you want to see a large group of darktable user image edit results then visit our dt group on Flickr if you haven’t yet and check out the photo pool. https://www.flickr.com/groups/darktable/
Good luck with dt! I think you’ll find it quite awesome and easier over time.