I was recently contacted by Sleeklens.com, a Denmark-based company that creates custom Lightroom Presets and Photoshop Actions, to see if I was interested in trying out their landscape photography presets for Lightroom. They offered me the Through The Woods Lightroom landscape bundle free of charge in exchange for doing an honest review in a blog post. I usually try to keep my post-processing relatively simple and faithful to the scene I photographed. I start with general adjustments using Lightroom before using Photoshop to make more targeted adjustments with Nik Collection's Color Efex Pro 4. I decided this was a good opportunity to try something different so I took them up on their offer.
The Through The Woods landscape bundle contains 51 presets and 30 brushes. Sleeklens emails you a zip file with folders containing those presets and brushes, along with documentation with simple to follow directions. They provide links to helpful youtube videos showing how to install the presets and brushes, along with many other helpful videos demonstrating how to use or stack various presets. After watching two of the videos, installing the presets and brushes was easy.
The way Sleeklens presets work is they apply previously saved adjustments to your photo with one simple click of the mouse. There are 12 all in one presets that make adjustments to the highlights, shadows, the colors and their tones. The remaining presets make more targeted adjustments to further refine the exposure, colors, tones, contrast, clarity and sharpening. The presets can be stacked on top of one another to get the desired effect. After applying a preset you can also make small adjustments using the sliders in the various panels in the Develop Module. Combining presets with your own adjustments makes it easy to get just the look that you want.
In addition to the presets, you can make adjustments using brushes. The brushes work with the Adjustment Brush tool as well as the Graduated Filter tool. You can choose from 30 brushes to load into the Adjustment Brush tool, with which you can paint the adjustments onto specific areas of your image. Similarly, you can choose from the 30 different adjustments and apply them to your Graduated Filter. As with the presets, you can adjust the sliders to add more or less or an effect.
Lightroom presets can be very useful if you just want to make some quick edits to your photo or if you're not sure what edits you want to make to a photo. The photo below was taken at McLain State Park in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It was taken just after sunset so there was still quite a bit of light left and some nice colors in the sky. The photo on the left is the RAW image straight out of the camera. The photo on the right is my initial edit of the photo. I enhanced the colors in the sky and made a few other edits, including cropping the bottom. I chose this photo to demonstrate the Sleeklens presets because I wasn't quite happy with the end result , but wasn't sure what more to do. After trying out some of the presets, I was surprised at the changes in the photo.
The photo below is the result of combining four of the Sleeklens Lightroom presets. I initially tried a couple different base presets, but was surprised to see the amount of color that appeared in the rocks after applying the High Dynamic Range preset. I went on to adjust the exposure, add a bit of warming to the tones and turned down the clarity to give the waves a softer look. I also used the Graduated Filter to slightly lower the exposure in the sky while adding a bit of clarity. I liked the color brought out of the rocks so much I decided not to crop the photo.
After experimenting with Sleeklens presets on a few different images, I was pleased with the results. They give you a variety of options and they're quick and easy to use. Some of the presets maybe go a little too far with the adjustments for my liking, but you can easily scale them back using the sliders. In addition to being a powerful Library tool, Lightroom is a powerful editing tool. Sleeklens allows you to make those edits quickly and easily in addition to quickly experimenting with different looks to your photo. If this sounds like something that can help with your post-processing or even get you started in RAW file editing if you don't know where to begin, then Sleeklens Lightroom presets are highly recommended.
I would like to thank Sleeklens for providing me with the opportunity to review their product. The landscape presets and presets for many other types of photography are available at their website, Sleeklens Lightroom Presets. They also offer Professional Photo Editing services.