I was contacted by sleeklens to do an impartial review of one of their workflows and when I looked into what exactly they offer, my first impression was that I wasn’t really sure if I would normally use one of their workflows, as I like to be in control of every aspect of my image creation and I like to take all the credit for editing my work, landscape wise, that is.
So, let me explain what it is that sleeklens offer. They offer collections of individual workflows, either for Photoshop or Lightroom, to help you process your images. These workflows are split into different categories, e.g. portraits, landscape, etc (Full collection of Lightroom presets) and they wanted me to review the landscape workflow – Through the Woods (Through the Woods Workflow).
Before I agreed, I went and had a look at their video tutorials (YouTube videos here) for the workflows in question and they immediately got my interest enough to agree to do the review, so that I could actually have a play with them and see if they were as good as they looked. I opted for the Lightroom version, as this is my main editing tool when it comes to landscapes.
Installation took a couple of minutes, including the download. This was slightly technical, rather than just an automatic install program, as you are installing into another program (Lightroom), but the instructions provided were very clear and precise and if you’ve ever installed anything else into Lightroom you will be familiar with the procedure.
What you’re actually installing is in two parts:
- A set of Development presets
- A set of brush presets
The development presets provided a set of ‘All in one’ options which you can try, to see if you like the end results. These were great for getting a quick overview of a vision, but the real preset for me was the building workflows – Base, Exposure, Colour, Tone/Tint, Polish and Vignette. I would find a base that I liked, make a few tweaks to the sliders, then play with exposure; make some more tweaks and so on. This didn’t feel like I was cheating on creating my vision, as I chose each stage and then tweaked it. It’s also worth mentioning that the presets are not doing anything which you can’t do yourself with the sliders within Lightroom anyway.
For localised adjustments, you can use the brush and select an effect from the drop down list. The brush is something I use heavily in Lightroom and paint onto my picture, mainly exposure and shadows (dodging and burning), but this gives a whole new lease of life, very easily, to this tool and I had great fun experimenting with all the workflows and used quite a few of them to great effect.
So what did this give me? It gave me possibilities! I could select an image and just hover over the presets in the development module and see if I liked the style, or I could build a unique style bit by bit. Sometimes we don’t try new styles or ideas because we don’t have the vision to do so in the first place, but this makes a great starting point for trying styles quickly and easily and everything is reversible, as it’s all done in Lightroom. Having a starting point which you can tweak along the way is great and very quickly, time after time, I was able to try new things with old landscapes that I had previously retired to the archives.
For the small investment price of one of these workflows or bundles it will provide you with fresh opportunities and bring new leases of life to your images.
Through the Woods Workflow (this is the one I tested)