Loading the presets and brushes was pretty straight forward, I thought I knew how to do it but couldn’t quite remember the steps. I was glad that Sleeklens had sent me over very clear instructions on how to load them into Lightroom. The package comes with 70 Presets which include all in one changes to your image, base changes, exposure adjustments, colour correct, tone/tint, polish and one of my faves vignette and 62 brushes include all kinds of handy make-up tools from adding eyeliner to defining hair.
Once I knew the presets and brushes were loaded I chose an image taken outside and a studio shot to see how I could use the Sleeklens Portrait workflow to enhance my images.
I wanted to brighten the image above as it all seemed too dark so in the Presets on the left hand side of Lightroom I applied ‘Exposure-Brighten’ then wanted to warm the image up a little by adding ‘Tone/Tint-Warm-up’ then added ‘Vignette- Black Dreamy’ to bring the attention back to the centre. The Presets are easy to apply you can just click or undo if you don’t like the adjustment you just made you can go back either in the history panel to the left of Lightroom or go to ‘Edit’ top left and click ‘undo’.
I am not sure if it is just my wheel on my mouse but when I clicked on the brush tool I have to use the up and down arrow in the brush window I can’t use the wheel on my mouse to scroll through the brushes which takes a bit of extra time and is more clunky than just scrolling up and down the choices, but I think that might just be my mouse it is quite old after all!
I used the brushes on the right hand side to choose some finer adjustments I wanted to apply, I darkened the dog and and black trousers by using the ‘Darken Shadows’ brush I also added some extra saturation with the ‘High Saturation’ brush to apply on the right of the picture just to bring it a bit more to life. I also wanted to add a bit of a golden glow in the gap in the trees as that looked a bit pale and washed out so I used the ‘Haze-Golden’ brush and just painted circular brush stroked to add some sunny warmth to that gap in the trees.
I also used the ‘Base- Auto Tone Black & White’ preset as I wanted to see what the black and white would look like. Black and whites can vary so much but I liked how this one converted using the preset often they can be too bright or too dark so you have to tweak until you get the tone you are happy with but I was pleased with this result.
Next an image I took in the studio, I chose an image which was very shallow depth of filed and almost washed out in appearance. I wanted to see how I could improve it and bring it back to life.
The first things I applied from the presets were ‘Auto Tone’ preset which instantly gave it more oomph and depth of colour, I added the ‘Vignette-Black Dreamy’ to add more contrast to the edges of the image then used several brush tools to enhance the face.
I used the following face brushes to add some extra definition: Reduce Wrinkles,Rosy Lips, Define Blonde Hair, Portrait Punch, Darken, Add Contour To Cheeks, Add EyeLiner, Reduce Highlights, Subtle Smooth Skin, Sharpen Face (to brush over her eyes). The image now looks warmer and has more depth without losing it’s soft feathery feel.
I was surprised by the number and variation of the brushes, I like how they are grouped into categories so they are easier to find. It meant I had to spend less time going to Photoshop and back as I now have a better selection of tools within Lightroom which are so easy to use. I tried using the presets and brushes on other images and found they can be used for all sorts of portraits inside and out, I am chuffed with my Sleeklens presets and brushes as they give me fast easy options to use with my Portrait Photography but also my Boudoir and Family Photography.
We managed to catch a sunny evening at long last to take some pregnancy shots… more to follow
Thomasin is an image and style consultant who is based in Essex but works with clients all over, she wanted some images of herself to use on her social media and website which showed a mixture of themes from the classic smiling head shot to her playing around with different styles and looks to tell a bit of a story about what it is she does for others. Please read more about her here and find out how she can help you to ‘look good and feel great’.
A few shots from a recent shoot for Weston Homes Business Centre, Colchester, Essex. It’s a great building with lots of space for businesses from hotdesks to large open offices.
The three main issues for me were 1) How do I photograph welding and metal grinding without making myself blind?? 2) Would the welding damage my camera sensor? 3) What settings would I need the camera on to get the dramatic shots I am after?
Looking online I couldn’t find too much clear info on taking shots of Welding, there were lots of conflicting views but the strong message was protect your eyes looking directly at the welding would cause damage to your sight. From what I could find out it seemed that my camera sensor would be okay, so shooting remotely seemed like the best option. I often use tethered shooting for shots in my studio but hadn’t had experience of using software to control the camera setting from my laptop. My Canon 5DmkIII came with a disc which I have never used as I just thought it was mostly stuff which I didn’t need but it provides a utility to shoot remotely. So after a little rummaging about in my messy cupboard I found the box which still had the disc in and loaded it onto my laptop.
I won’t go into detail about using the EOS Utility 2 as it is very self explanatory, if you have got a canon camera its well worth having a play with. In a nutshell it means I could set my camera up on a tripod in front of the welding (not too close as I didn’t want my camera to get damaged by any flying hot sparks) use a tether lead one end which plugs into the camera and the other has a USB to plug into the laptop and I can control most of the camera settings on my laptop and keep my eyes safe behind a partition and take the pics by viewing what my camera sees on my laptop screen.
I needed to find a light source to experiment with and decided Sparklers would do the job. Tesco sells small party Sparklers in it’s party section so I thought that would give me a good idea on a smaller scale. So the night before the shoot I took some time to set my camera up on a tripod, plug in the tether lead and start up the EOS Utility2 on my laptop before lighting the Sparklers.
The first image above was when I began shooting before the sparkler had really got going. I set my camera to 1/5th of a second F11 and decided to put the ISO on 500, I was going to have the ISO adjust automatically so I had once less thing to worry about but soon realised the camera automatically bumped it up high and I ended up with noisy images.
The second image I tried a radial filter only because I have never used it and wondered what results it would give me but felt the glow was two strong in the middle of the image I liked how it softened the background but not right for the shot I had in my mind.
The third image was using a adjustable gradient filter to darken the image and I was also thinking it might provide some protection for my lens eek!
So a few hours later I felt happy, having used the remote EOS Utility 2 I found I could focus in on what I wanted to using my laptop screen, I could control my speed, aperture and ISO from my laptop and I could do this from a few metres away with my back to the camera!
On the day of the shoot I started with taking my shots with my camera set up on a tripod using my 24-70mm lens with an adjustable gradient filter on which I twisted a few stops to darken the scene. I set my camera to 1/5th of a second F11 and would adjust if I needed to once I had taken few shots. I shot the first round of images and stopped to see what we had which was useful as my client and the Welder could also look which helped them to understand what we needed to adjust to get the composition right. It did feel a bit like magic taking pics from my laptop and I was surprised at how well it worked.
The downside of shooting this way means you cannot move around your subject and you can’t zoom in and out or change the camera angle, you have to stop to adjust the camera. I also found there is a few second delay on the images uploading so I wanted to shoot a zillion shots whist all the action was happening but you do have to go by the speed of your camera, the tether and your laptop uploading the images. Here are a couple of shots taken on the day…