Hello friends and happy Friday. You made it to the weekend!! 🙂
This post might be of more interest to other photographers out there because I’ve got a product review for you today. Sleek Lens, a company that makes Lightroom and Photoshop products, reached out to me recently and asked if I’d do a review of their product. In exchange they’d give me one of their products at no charge. So of course I said YES! I do have to say that presets and actions are always so tempting to buy. The lure of less time in front of the computer processing photos is so appealing and they always show examples with the most amazing pictures ever.
I had a choice of their Photoshop actions or their Lightroom presets and brushes. I chose the LR bundle and here’s why. My workflow is such that I do my initial adjustments (exposure, contrast, highlights/shadows, white balance, etc) in LR. Then I show the gallery to my clients and do additional editing on anything they order. I whiten teeth, brighten eyes, fix blemishes, stray hairs, you name it. And I usually do that in PS even though I know LR can handle it all. It’s been my goal for awhile to stay out of PS just for the time-saving aspect of it. And as much as I try, I always find myself in PS. So I figured maybe these LR brushes and presets would be good for me.
Installation and all that was easy and just like other presets and brushes you’ve probably used. There’s also plenty of documentation and videos that come with the set or on the Sleek Lens website that can walk you through it. The set I’m using is called ‘Strike A Pose’ and it’s geared for portrait photography. Perfect!
It comes with 69 preset and 62 brushes. You can see from my screenshot below that it groups all of the Strike A Pose presets together which makes them a lot easier to find.
It’s got some all-in-one presets which are meant to be a one-click effect. The effects are pretty strong but can be adjusted or toned down in your panels on the right hand side of the develop module. Here’s an example for you. The preset applied at full-strength is kind of over the top but once it’s toned down it starts working better for me.
There are also ‘base’ presets which are stackable and meant to be used on top of each other. They are grouped by base effect, exposure, color correction, tone/tint, polish, and vignette. So you can work your way through these and perfect your photo. Here’s an example of the outcome of stepping through the base presets which took basically no time at all. Most I kept full strength. A few seemed too strong for my liking so I went over to the panels to see what adjustments the preset had made and then toned it down. I think I prefer the base presets over the all-in-ones as I feel like I have more control over the photo.
My favorite part of this workflow, though, is not the presets, but the brushes. There are 62 portrait brushes and these are what are going to help me stay in LR and not feel obligated to take every picture into PS. I’ll still use PS for headswaps or if I need to liquify etc. BUT these LR portrait brushes are really useful for your portrait touchups.
It’s just a easy as grabbing your adjustment brush (keyboard shortcut k), selecting the brush you want, and going for it. I like the descriptive names of the brushes so you know exactly what it’s going to do. After you apply it, you can adjust the strength of the brush, too, if needed.
I really like these! I don’t know that I’ll use the all-in-one presets a ton. They can be fun but don’t always match my editing style. It’s one of those things that might work on one picture and not the next. I will continue to experiment with the base presets as those could be real timesavers. The correct green skin and correct red skin presets alone would make this set worth it! I’ve already used those a ton.
I will for sure keep using the brushes and I do think they will speed up my workflow. Overall, I think this is a solid product at a reasonable price point. So check out Sleek Lens to watch some of the videos or visit their Pinterest page and you’ll get a better idea about what kinds of things you can achieve with this workflow.