Philip Bedford Wedding Photography | Lightroom Presets - Sleeklens review

Lightroom Presets - Sleeklens review

I’ve been asked to do a review of Sleeklens' light room presets. I've had a look at both the presets and brushes presets that are part of their 'Strike a Pose' collection which you can view here.

Having an initial look at their extensive collection of presets and just playing around with it, there are over 20 all in one fixes, a great selection of base changes i.e. High Key/Low key changes, options to turn the image greyscale, and auto-toning options for colour and black & white images.

It also features some exposure fixes for brightening and darkening the image as well as adjustments to shadows and highlights & colour corrections, such as reducing blues, greens, reds or yellows in certain pictures. There are also toning options for bronze toning, adjusting saturation and adding warming or cooling colours to the pictures.

Finally there are also polishing options for final changes to sharpening, contrast and one preset which I particularly like to called colour pop, which makes colours really vibrant in the picture as well as adding in a bit contrast too. There were lastly options for adding a medium or heavy vignette to the picture ready for exporting.

001_Sleeklens Presets001_Sleeklens Presets

Let’s have a look at some of the presets. Here is the original photo with no adjustments, and below I have just removed the spot above the couple and I’ve done a basic white balance tweak as the original image was quite blue.

002_Sleeklens Presets002_Sleeklens Presets

003_Sleeklens Presets003_Sleeklens Presets All in One: Simply Sunkissed - Adds in some stunning sunshine colours, similar to golden hour lighting

004_Sleeklens Presets004_Sleeklens Presets

All in One: Deep Portrait - Strong colour and contrast, again with warm tones which would be suitable for portraits and wedding shots

005_Sleeklens Presets005_Sleeklens Presets All ion One: Duo - Brilliant quick fix for black and white, with good contrast and a high-key result.

006_Sleeklens Presets006_Sleeklens Presets All in One: Muted Butterflies - Pinker colours here, I'm less keen on this kind of strong colour change, but it creates an interesting vintage look.

007_Sleeklens Presets007_Sleeklens Presets Base: Auto Colour - This preset makes less overall changes but uses the Lightroom auto fixes set in one handy preset for contrast on a colour photo. this great for an initial change that you can build on as I've done further down.

009_Sleeklens Presets009_Sleeklens Presets Polish: Colour Pop - This preset really punches up the colour and vibrancy. I found it a bit strong, so i would tone it down a bit, but a really good quick fix for bland and undersaturated colours.

010_Sleeklens Presets010_Sleeklens Presets So here's how I would use these, build up with a couple of basic adjustments, using the presets in order to build a finished edit. This image has had first the Base:Edit 2, then polish: High Contrast, and finally a Vignette: Black Heavy applied in that order. I find the result is a bit closer to the original colours, with a bit of warmer toning and some strong contrast to get rid of the haze of using my long lens in flat lighting.


008_Sleeklens Presets008_Sleeklens Presets This second example uses another combination of 3 presets: Base: Greyscale High for a monochrome image with high contrast, Tone/Tint: Bronze, and finally Polish: Sharpen

There are also brush presets. These are preset local adjustments for general colour, face adjustments such as softening skin, enhancing eyes, adding make up and whitening teeth or brightening eyes. I only had a brief explore of these as I don't tend to do this much work on my general wedding photography. I like to keep my editing process as simple as possible both in terms of saving me time but also because I don't want my work to look to over done, I enjoy photography in its organic sense and I don't like work that looks like it's had too much photo shop.


That said the brushes list is really extensive and I can see how much time it would save for someone who worked editing editorial or fashion portraits and I found all the brushes to be really effective in their specific places, for example, the soften skin effect was brilliant, and I would use this occasionally in my work. Some brushes seemed a bit excessive, the fake tan brush just didn't look right to me and there are duplicates of some brushes which feels a bit lazy. I mean, if you really need to adjust someone's blue eyes and a preset is not enough for you then I think you should tweak the light room adjustment yourself rather then try different preset. Don't rely on presets alone.

011_Sleeklens Presets011_Sleeklens Presets Original Photo

012_Sleeklens Presets012_Sleeklens Presets

Brush presets applied to relevant areas: Add Eyeliner, Soften Skin, Define Dark Hair and Add Blush. I've left everything else in terms of tone, contrast and exposure neutral so you can see what the brushes do by themselves.

Initially, I found the list of presets fairly overwhelming but once I got to know them I found it really easy to stack them together and create brilliant visual effects of on finished photographs very quickly. I would recommend choosing some favourites and putting them in separate folders so you can easily access them when using Lightroom. I am also not really one for strange colour or black-and-white toning as I like to keep things simple but my particular favourites of the All In One Presets were Duo for black and whites and Colour pPop but I would perhaps reduce some of the vibrancy and saturation in this preset because I found it a little bit strong, but it obviously depends on what photograph your working on. The vignette presets and exposure presets were also particularly useful, although I'd have liked to have seen more exposure adjustments, with a wider range. 

Overall, for a mere $39 or £30, I think that the presets are fantastic and you get a lot for your money. You receive an extensive amount of presets and the price is cheaper than some competitors I have seen on the market. Although I doubt many people would use every single preset, I'd definitely recommend this product to other professional photographers and photography enthusiasts.


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