Why Use Presets?
In my photography (and any undertaking for that matter), I like anything that makes my job easier. Whether it’s hardware, software, or techniques, any tool that helps me get things done more quickly and effectively is much appreciated.
At this point in time, I am not the kind of landscape photographer that will routinely bracket my shots and spend lots of time dealing with layers and masks. I do if the image requires it, but my typical post processing workflow lasts no more than a couple of minutes per image, and I don’t usually leave Lightroom. That’s why I love presets. I use presets every day because they help me get to the end-result faster, which means I can spend less time on the computer.
Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t just smartphone filters that you just throw on and be done with it. You could use them like that. But for me, the beauty of presets is that they provide a great starting point, after which you customize the individual sliders to get your desired end result.
One more thing I enjoy about presets is that they are done 100% inside Lightroom, and do not require an external editor or conversion to TIFF or PSD. You are working directly on the RAW file (please be sure to shoot raw, by the way), which means you retain maximum flexibility and control. Change your mind about the edit later? Just hit the reset button.
Lastly, presets are a great learning tool. Clicking through the presets and taking note of their settings will help you become familiar with the different Lightroom sliders and perhaps eventually help you to come up with your own presets.
I was recently approached by Sleeklens to test out their landscape workflow presets, called “Through the Woods“. It consists of 50 landscape presets and 30 brushes that make useful adjustments for landscape photography. The presets are either all-in-one solutions or “stackable”. The stackable presets can be mixed and matched to achieve your desired result, affecting only certain settings at a time.
I used Through the Woods on some of my recent landscape photos. See the caption for the presets used on each one.
So what did I think of Through the Woods?
Overall, I think Through the Woods is a viable option for anyone looking for landscape presets. It provides some unique looks that will cater to many photographers. I did feel that some of the settings were quite strong from the get-go, but you can easily dial back any setting to suit your taste. Personal favorites were the “Shine into the Sunset” preset, the “Cinematic” base preset, as well as the Haze and Light brushes.
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