As you can see from the screenshot below, the presets are well organized, with intuitive and clear naming structure.
‘Mixologies’ and Tutorials
Another cool aspect about these is that they include a full set of videos (7GBs worth) as well as additional videos that they put out every couple of weeks or so that they call “mixologies.”
This will be particularly useful for those who do not have much Lightroom experience and enjoy the online learning process.
These videos serve as a guide, from installation and getting started to the basics of using the presets and the brushes. The “mixologies” teach you how to combine different presets and different brushes to achieve your advanced effects.
This extra step is what distinguishes the product from the other presets and Photoshop actions I’ve been sent in the past.
You’ll have to forgive my ignorance, but I wasn’t even are that I could create custom brushes in Lightroom 4. When I was sent these presets, I thought that they were all going to be on the lefthand side of the develop screen.
I didn’t realise that there were brushes too.
The brushes that Lightroom provide you are pretty good, but the ones that you get with these presets are fine tuned, and more useful. Here’s some of my favourite brushes:
Detail Enhancer- Sky | Cloud | Ocean
Detail Enhancer- Hair | Lashes
Color / Temperature- Desaturate
As you’ll see from the examples below, these presets can do some pretty powerful things. You can get faux HDRs, vintage fades, and even tilt-shift effects.
Need more pop in the colors of the clouds? There’s a brush for that. Need to smooth out the skin? There’s a brush for that too.
It’s important to note that all of these looks and effects can be achieved without the SLR Lounge Lightroom presets if you have the proper knowledge of Lightroom and the time to make every minor adjustment.
However, I would say that most photographers are not at that level and those that are can still benefit from the time these presets will save.
The effects applied in the images in this article are achieved with one click of a button + minor adjustments.
Each took about 3-5 minutes to process (but part of that time was spent playing around with the image and learning the process).
If efficiency were important to your type of photography, i.e. wedding photography or event photography, these will really save you a lot of time over the thousands of images that you have to process.
Sit me at a computer with an internet connection and I’m very easily distracted, so speed is very important to my workflow.
The first image I chose was a portrait that I took of a gorgeous model in a field. I thought this would be the perfect scene to test out some of the vintage fades offered in the presets, as sunset lighting and scenes of nature generally go well with the vintage look.
See the results below.
Faded Black and White Vintage Fade (Love the grain):
Vintage Fade with Pop:
I wanted to show this example because of two interesting elements in this scene 1) rocks and 2) clouds.
As I was playing around with the presets, I really liked how the HDR Boost brought out all of the detail in the rocks and clouds. It has the effect of a subtle actual HDR.
Black and White Film Preset:
I thought this was a fitting demonstration of the capabilities of these presets during a sunset. As you can see from the original raw below, there are a lot of highlights (near the sun) and shadows (in the ocean) in this image of the San Francisco Bridge.
My original process included three photos, which I turned into an HDR photo in Photoshop. This has done just as good of a job.
Working with the RAW file in Lightroom, I was able to bring back a lot of the detail in both the highlights and the shadows within a few clicks. See the results below.
Black and White Film:
There’s not much about these Lightroom 4 Presets that I don’t like, but there are is one thing that stand out to me.
As I like my photos to accurately represent what I captured, some of the presets are a bit lost on me.
There’s a few that just do not suit my style, as they look too drastic and I can’t turn them down, so be aware that even though you’re purchasing 200+ presets, they’re not all going to be to your liking.
Some of them are just a little bit too intense, but to each their own.
I’ve spent the last half an hour looking for more possible cons to these presets, in an effort to make this review more balanced, but I just seem to find any.
I didn’t expect to like using presets, as I use NIK software a lot, but to be honest, I don’t think I’ll be using it as much anymore.
Not only do you get hundreds of presets, but 7GB worth of video training too (which proved to be very useful). If 7GB is too much for you to download, you can purchase the DVD for an additional $10 (it’s shipped worldwide).
After trying many different presets in the past, I would say that they are the new industry standard.
I’ve tried a lot of other presets, but after a few minutes of use, then end up getting deleted, because the free presets I’ve found in the past just aren’t up to scratch.
Not only are they powerful and effective, but their organization structure makes them very user friendly and useful as part of your workflow.
Lastly, the videos and continuing education show that the creators are continually providing support and education around the product, helping their users achieve the most out of the tools.
Thank you for reading...
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