A Review of Sleeklens' Through the Woods Preset for Adobe Lightroom
I was recently approached by the company, Sleeklens to do a quick review of one of their preset workflows for Photoshop and Lightroom. For full disclosure I, I was given one of the workflows to work with for my review. I am not being compensated and they simply wanted a brief and honest review of their product which I will try to accomplish not being a professional reviewer. I chose to test their “Through the Woods workflow” preset and brushes for Lightroom. I decided on the Lightroom presets instead of the Photoshop ones because my normal workflow is to use Luminosity masking techniques in Photoshop for quite a few of my effects. I don’t think I would change that particular workflow but there are occasions when I may have many photos or photos that I don’t really know where I want to go with that the Sleeklens presets could help get me closer to where I want to be with a photo much quicker. For certain photos, I may get where I need to be with just the presets.
As a side note Sleeklens also offers a Professional Photo editing service for any photographer that needs to outsource their work. You can read more about that service on their website (https://sleeklens.com/product/professional-photo-editing-service/). For now, let’s begin the review of the Through the Woods Workflow pack (https://sleeklens.com/product/landscape-lightroom-presets/).
Installation of the preset/brushes was fairly straight forward. I received an email with all the necessary items, installation instructions and a YouTube video detailing how to work with the presets and brushes in my particular bundle. Once you have followed the instructions on installing the presets and brushes you will see the presets under your preset panel and the brushes should show up under Custom when you select the brush once you open Lightroom.
I wanted to go back to some photos I had and reprocess them using my normal workflow from start to finish to actually get a feel for the time spent on average on a photo. I specifically chose photos that weren’t your typical five minute adjustment and export to JPEG from Lightroom. I chose ones that I wanted to do more precise dodging and burning and other tonal adjustments beyond the basic Lightroom tweaks. The photo I decided to work on was this photo from the Fall.
This was a fairly mundane shot taken a few hours before the good light so let’s see where we get and how long using my normal workflow (cue epic soundtrack music and a glass of wine). After about sixteen minutes I ended my edit here:
Again, not a terribly intensive edit. Some dodging and burning, color enhancement and a little tonal contrast. Went out to Define2 to remove some of the noise in the sky, I like its noise reduction over Lightroom’s.
So, let’s take the same photo and see what we get using the Through the Woods presets/brushes”. Before I start the neat thing about these presets is that they are stackable. The presets are laid out (labeled) All in one, Base, Exposure, Color, Tone, Polish and Vignette. This means the effects can be stacked one on top of the other. The All in One being the exception. The All in One basically has adjustments made in each of Lightroom’s panel sections so technically you could hit just the one preset and be done. Even though this is an “All in One” preset you can still stack other effects from the other presets on top of the All in One to further enhance the look if you choose to or you can just skip the All in One presets all together and work from the base presets up, adding or subtracting different effects as you see fit. I remember working with presets early on and appreciating the ease and quickness of being able to see different effects applied all at once and this product delivers in spades. You can of course spend probably just as much time testing each effect out so be careful not to get carried away. You can get a quicker view by hovering over the preset and seeing the smaller loupe image change as you move the mouse over each preset.
This is a sample just using just the All in One Calm Sunset preset:
With a few more presets added on top of that one I get this:
Now comparing my final edit using my normal workflow (top) and the workflow using the Sleeklens Presets (bottom), they are fairly close and I only did 3 clicks of the mouse and a slight adjustment to the exposure. All of this took about three minutes of time compared to the sixteen minutes. I estimate another three minutes to get the Sleeklens edit as contrasty, brighter in areas and color matched. In all honesty if I didn’t have the original to compare to I would probably be good with the result that was produced and that all depends on my mood, the music and the amount of wine during editing. :)
I won’t cover the brushes in great detail as they are also very straightforward. Select the brush tool and select the desired effect you like. The brushes are clearly labeled like the presets. You have your categories, Basic, Color, Effects, Haze and Light and then the very clear brush description beside it. Select and brush the effect to your hearts content like any other brush edit.
I had forgotten how very convenient and fast using presets were and was just reminded of that fact while writing this review and looking at the hundreds of vacation photos I still have to evaluate and process. Sleeklens has done a great job of giving you a wealth of variety in its preset pack and this was just the one. They have many others available and for reasonable prices (https://sleeklens.com/product-category/lightroom-presets). You can buy specific presets for your style of photography or you can buy the larger bundle sets containing several or ALL of their presets and brushes. I appreciate Sleeklens letting me try out their Through the Woods Preset and Brush pack. Personally, I will probably still follow my anal-retentive workflow for my very special edits but I don’t have a problem using these presets to get me closer to my goal within Lightroom or before porting out to another program. I wouldn’t hesitate recommending the product to anyone who edits quite a few photos, and wants a faster and efficient workflow or anyone else for that matter looking for a decent preset collection. Feel free to comment if you have also had a chance to use this product or have any questions.