I mainly shoot images for stock and like all stock shooters I’m always on the lookout for ways to reduce the time I spend in front of a computer processing images.
Around two weeks ago I was contacted by the people at Sleeklens and asked to try their Through the Woods workflow of presets and brushes to evaluate it. No conditions were imposed.
The Through the Woods workflow is targeted towards landscape images and is available for both Lightroom and Photoshop.
I use PC’s running Windows 10. I am able to do most processing in Lightroom and only rarely need to delve into Photoshop.
The strength in presets lies not in creating a finished image with one click – this is unlikely to happen – but in getting you quickly to a position where the image is somewhere near your final vision and just needs refined with some further adjustments to coax the best from it and complete it as it were.
I’ve experimented with presets in the past, even creating a few and found that a preset that works well with a particular image just doesn’t work so well on another. The Through the Woods workflow gives you fifty-one presets and thirty brushes, enough for you to nearly always find a suitable one for most images.
The workflow is downloaded as a zip file and full instructions are given for installation. I had no difficulty installing the presets but the instructions to install the brushes directed me to close Lightroom and copy them into a folder that I wasn’t able to find on my computer. A search on Google and I found directions how to install them directly in Lightroom.
As soon as I had them installed I had a play, using presets to process a range of images. They are divided into All in One, Base, Exposure, Colour Correct, Tone/Tint, Polish and Vignette.
As expected some presets just do not work at all well on some images and this is very obvious as soon as it is applied. Again as expected you soon get a feel for what’s what and I found myself able to select a particular preset that suited an image and apply some fine tuning to get a photograph where I wanted it quite speedily. As well as the option to alter the overall image with one click as in ‘The all in One’ presets there are options in the workflow to quickly alter particular aspects of an image such as colour, clarity, contrast and temperature to list a few.
Early discoveries were that many presets increase sharpening way more than I would and sometimes clarity as well. I apply very little sharpening as stock agencies don’t like it, however someone who prints their images may well be comfortable with the settings as they are. I also found that greens sometimes vear too much towards yellow and orange making grass look unnatural but it takes only seconds to sort these problems out. Also the presets can be adjusted and then saved enabling you to fine tune them to your preferences.
I’ve used the workflow to process the images below. The original image, shot in raw, is shown first and then the same image after processing in the Through the Woods workflow.
Click on an image to enlarge.
This image is of farmland outside Newtownards, County Down. The crops in the foreground are moving in the breeze and Scrabo Tower can be seen in the far background.
This image is of a small yacht off the coast at Ballyholme, Bangor
This image is of the Silent Valley Reservoir, in the Mourne Mountains, County Down
I’m very happy with the Through the Woods workflow and I expect to save considerable time by using it. I haven’t had the opportunity to experiment with the brushes as yet but will do so over the next week or so and write a further post on them.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Sleeklens workflows for Lightroom take a look at their website. As well as general information on the workflows you will find examples and video tutorials on their use.
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