Lightroom Presets #58

Lightroom Presets #58

Photo Tips Podcast: Lightroom Presets #58



Photo Tips Podcast: Lightroom  Presets #58
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Transcript
Photo Tips Podcast: Lightroom Presets #58

I’ve been getting questions lately about Light Room Presets. For those of you who are unfamiliar, these are digital instructions you can install into Light Room and with a click of a button your image will be magically transformed to look like whatever the preset says it should look like. You can think of it as a filter, but the difference is that you will have all of the steps it took to create that effect. For instance you will see the changes in contrast, and color and saturation and so on, that the preset made to get you to that effect. And what this allows you to do, is it allows you to back in and tweak it as you see fit.

So the questions people are asking are, is it cheating? Are they good, are they bad, do they actually work? In my opinion, it’s not cheating. Remember, in the early days of photography people asked if photography is art, then they asked if digital photography is photography, and then if Photoshop is cheating? I think more than anything these questions usually come from those who are insecure about their own work. And the idea that someone can do something better than them with just a click of a button is what’s killing them. You have to remember that in the days of film, most of us sent our film and our printing off to a lab and the lab was responsible for all of the post production work. The film was developed and then printed as they saw fit and it was returned to us. Why didn’t we consider this cheating? Most pros I know didn’t do their own lab work. So was our work somehow disqualified because we did not do any of our own post processing? The key is that these days we are responsible for our own post work and most of us use either Light Room or Photoshop, and for those who can, they send that work overseas for somebody else to do it. Yea seriously, I’m not kidding. I actually have colleagues who do this. The fact is that with Light Room and Photoshop we now have the ability to really manipulate our images in the post process. While in film we pretty much had to do most of that work in camera; although there were a few exceptions. So why does it matter when and where that happens? As long as you are able to present your vision as an artist? I think the more important question here is do they work? My experience with presets for Light Room is this. If you want your image to look like what the preset is advertised to do? Then the image that you start with, needs to start pretty close to what the developer started with.

In other words if they started with a clear sunset photo of a beach and you start with a cloudy photo in the middle of the day photo of the mountains, you aren’t going to get to the same place the developer did. But if you are starting with a sunset of a beach then you will have a much higher likelihood of getting the same or similar results that they were advertising. To be clear, even if you don’t get  the results you were hoping for it will still help you understand what they did to get to those results because you will see all of the developer’s adjustments and this can be a great way to learn and to develop your own presets. So in my opinion, presets are can be really great or they can be reasonably useless, but if it actually works for you then why wouldn’t you use them? And if you have a favorite preset that works for you, let me know by posting it to the NYC Photo Safari Facebook Group!

 

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