I had a chance to try out the Lightroom Presets for Landscape Photography from SleekLens in trade for an honest review of the product. I generally prefer manual editing in Lightroom over using automated methods for my architectural and real estate photography, however for some landscapes and evening photographs I find this collection of presets from them very useful, mostly as a starting point to the final product. In the fall I tried them out on a luxury real estate photography project on the Pend Oreille River in Washington state.
The first image goes through the editing process starting with the original image (as shot) then shows some of the presets one at a time, followed by my final version as delivered to the client. As always, beginning with a great image is key. Presets cannot recover blown out highlights or underexposed shadows. Editing the raw files also helps greatly.
As you can see, the original image is pretty, but quite boring and dark in the shadows. The feature of the image is the house but at first glance the eye misses it and goes straight to the river and mountains.
The first Preset is “Calm Sunset” which is my favorite for evening shots. As you can see it took the image from flat and dull to colorful and warm. There are still some adjustments I would make, but overall it did a great job.
The next one I tried is called “Dawn Rising” which produced good vivid color again but was not as much contrast but still a great starting point to editing a sunset photo.
“Shine into the sun” is the name of the third preset I like for this type of scene. It renders a slightly darker and less vivid scene but still provides plenty of colors.
The final preset that improved this image is called Warm Shadows. While it did improve the image, it still needs a lot of correction to be considered good. An exposure adjustment and increasing color, shadows, and vibrance would be needed before hitting “export” on this one.
Finally, here is my edit as delivered to the client. The preset I began with was the first one mentioned above, Calm Sunset. Additional edits I made included exposure, vibrance, color saturation, selective color, dehaze, and several other adjustments. The flat image we started with is now worthy of sharing!
Another drone image of the beautiful house from closer up. Here is the original, unedited version. the composition is great as it shows the river behind the house.
Dawn Rising Preset applied:
Finally the version I delivered to my client, began with Calm Sunset and added final edits
Here is another example from the same evening shoot. This image is from the front yard looking out at the Pend Oreille River. The original image is very dull and flat. Let’s see what kind of color we can pull from this one.
Adding the Calm Sunset preset gave me a good starting point, and would almost be deliverable as-is.
Here is my final version as delivered to the client. Only minor adjustments from the earlier image with just the preset applied.