Every image tells a story; a story of its own. Like the author of many novels, no two stories contain the same content. How preposterous that would be!
I see photography in that same vein. I am the author of my images and I elect to tell the story of my choosing within the context of each image.
If I allow the camera and lenses to work in program mode, my camera becomes the author. Taking charge of the shutter speed, aperture, ISO, focal length, lens choice, filter choice …, well you get the picture – and so do I!
Telling the story doesn’t stop at the shutter release. The plot thickens the most within the development of the image. Whichever digital darkroom one chooses, an image will further escalates its drama and intensity, or it’s subtle softness.
This post is a review of a Lightroom preset for landscape photographers called Through the Woods. I have to admit I was a little gun shy to test the preset when I got the request from Sleeklens. After all, I’m not a ‘push the button to automate’ type of artist.
What I found was pleasantly surprising. These presets are easy for those who want to automate, they are a gem for photographers who want to individualize an image with a workflow, and they are also outstanding for those who love the manual processing of their work.
For those who want the ease of push button, the preset is equipped with an ‘All in One’ set of buttons. Each gives a different effect, depending upon taste and image.
For those desiring a bit more control over their image, the workflow starts with a base of one’s choosing. The base only alters initial adjustments, leaving the rest untouched. As a photographer continues through the workflow she decides on exposure, color, tone and tint, clarity, contrast, saturation, … Each panel takes its turn as the preset workflow walks one through it.
It’s easy to adjust and readjust or try other moods out by carrying out different recipes throughout the workflow.
For me, I found it helpful to try on a number of approaches. I got a concrete feel of where I visualize my image going this way. I generally utilize Lightroom to ready my raw image for the work I do in Photoshop. Because I work with luminosity masks and the powerhouse of LAB for color, Lightroom serves as a perfect start.
However, I’ve found that I’ve enjoyed some
of these presets so much that I’ve made virtual copies to open as layers in Photoshop. There I combined bits and pieces of one blend to another as I saw fit.
For now that is delving too deep into discussion … A topic for another post some
For now I’ll end with a few examples of my discussion above to display visually the art of Through the Woods preset for Lightroom.
Discover more Sleeklens presets here!
Utilizing the All In Ones
These presets work in ways to adjust your entire image to create a look and a mood.
Adjusts sliders of yellow and greens in the hue and saturates the orange tones a bit.
Love me Tender:
Applies a vignette to the image.
Utilizing the Workflow : the Base through the finish
Rather than applying all of the adjustments, like the all in one does, this workflow allows the user to start with a base and fine tune it via each set within the workflow.
Dance in the Rain (Base): from here, the user keeps adding along the workflow path.
Next I used the exposure settings and lowered exposure by 1 stop and also increased highlights. You can see how the histogram changes along with the settings.
I next reduced the greens, mostly to show you how the hue, saturation, and luminance sliders are utilized in this color correct step. It is important to note that in each of these workflow steps, the adjustment made only affects one area. If I had made any other adjustment to exposure, split toning, etc, this step will not change that. This workflow is meant to layer (add to) ..
The next area within the Through the Woods Workflow is the tone/tint adjustment. I played the warm it up adjustment here. You will note that the split toning panel is the area that this adjustment utilizes. Desaturate and color pop, on the other hand, use the Presence panel and work the vibrance and saturation adjustments.
Polish is the next area of the workflow. In this section I applied 3 adjustments, each adding to my effect on the image. I added clarity, I lessened contrast and I punched it up. You will note how my clarity slider is pushed to the right, my contrast is pushed to the left, and my vibrance (punch it up) is shifted to the right. These adjustments are all cumulative in their effects. They can each individually be fine tuned as well by manually shifting further for more or less of an effect than the preset gives.
The final touch in this workflow is the vignette. I gave my image a subtle white vignette and then shifted the midpoint to the left to 21.
With a change ONLY in the vignette, notice how the mood changes below: That said, there are an ever abundance of ways in which to create the story you’d like to say with your images.
Here are a few more ‘stories’ told via the preset workflow Through the Woods. Note how different the stories are!