Sleeklens, Lightroom Workflow Made Easy(er).

Finish your photos faster.

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About a month ago the good people at Sleeklens asked me if I would be interested in trying out some of their workflow products for Lightroom and Photoshop. I figured anything that could speed up my workflow was worth trying, so I agreed to take a look at their Through the Woods collection of presets and adjustment brushes.

Due to the hectic Holiday Season being upon us this is just a brief overview and my initial impressions. Stay tuned for a more in-depth review.

First a few words of disclosure. I am not in any way affiliated with, nor do I receive any monetary gain from using/reviewing/promoting their products, however I was provided the Through The Woods workflow bundle free of charge.  

Tools to help speed up your landscape workflow.

The Through the Woods bundle consists of 50 landscape presets and 30 adjustment brushes that can greatly speed your image enhancement workflow.

The presets are divided into 7 separate categories, All-In-One, Base, Exposure, Color Correct, Tone/Tint, Polish, and Vignette. The majority of the presets are stackable, allowing you to globally add effects to your photos.

The 30 adjustment brushes ranging from Add Golden Sun to Darken Shadows can be used to further enhance your images in a more selective fashion by controlling the size and opacity.

The results speak for themselves.

Below are a few before and after images, none of which took more than a few minutes to go from the straight out of camera before to the finished after.

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Before

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After

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Before

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After

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After

Even though I haven’t had a chance to really dig into these presets and brushes, so far I’m impressed with the results I was able to get with just a few clicks and a few brush strokes.

For more information on the workflow products offered by Sleeklens you can visit them at the following links.

Through the Woods Workflow  This is the one I used for the above images.

Lightroom Presets Here you’ll find a complete collection of the workflow products offered by Sleeklens.

Image Editing Service If you’re too busy to enhance your own photos, or maybe you’ve got a photo you’re having a problem with, let the experts at Sleeklens handle the task for you with their image editing service.

The last word, for now.

As with any other Lightroom presets the presets offered by Sleeklens don’t all work perfectly on every image. Once applied you may need to go to the adjustment panel and play around with the sliders a bit in order the fine tune the preset to each individual image.

Are they worth it? To that I answer your question with a question, what is less time behind the computer worth to you? The Through the Woods collection sells for $39, and based on the time I can see the presets saving me is quite a deal.

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My Favorite Plugins Are Now Free!!

 

Nik logo

I had to share this exciting news as soon as I could.

The Nik Collection by Google is now FREE!! 

That’s right, the plugins that I use on virtually every image are not $299, the price before Google bought Nik.

They’re not $149, the price after Google bought Nik.

They are FREE!!

Run, don’t walk, and get your copy today!!

Notice: these plugins require that you have either Lightroom or Photoshop as host programs, this is not stand-alone software. 

 

New Image Editing Software For The Mac User.

Affordable Image Editing For The Mac User.

Recently I was invited to test a couple of new photo editing apps, Intensify Pro and Snapheal Pro, produced by the folks over at MacPhun.

First off, I have to mention that these apps are Mac only, so for you PC users you can stop reading now. Second, this isn’t going to be an in-depth review, that will come later. This is strictly a first impressions introduction to Intensify Pro, with a similar introductory review of Snapheal Pro soon to follow.

  Intensify Pro. 

In short, this app allows even the beginner photographer to quickly and easily add some “Pop” to their photographs. From mild to wild I was able to add more drama, more detail, more Wow, to the photographs I edited using this app.

The app offers RAW image support, and runs as both a stand-alone or as a plugin for Lightroom, Aperture, and Photoshop.

A few notes from my limited testing.

Installing the app.

The install process is pretty straight forward, with one exception. When opening the program as a stand-alone, which you must do the first time before you can install it as a plugin, there was no obvious prompt to select an image to edit and no obvious user interface. To me it just appeared to open another Finder window (this may have been more obvious to someone more tech savvy than myself). A quick email to Macphun, I had a response within 10 minutes, cleared this up for me. This “second Finder window” is where you need to locate and select an image from your hard drive, and then the app will fully open. I’ve been assured a more intuitive initial interface is in the works for a future update.

Once you’ve selected your image file and the app is fully open for the first time, you’re then prompted to purchase, continue your trial, or activate the app. During this process is also when you can opt to install it as a plugin for whatever your image editing software of choice is. In my case, Lightroom 5. From within Lightroom you access it as you would any other LR plugin.

Let the games begin.

Using the app is very very intuitive, especially if you only use the installed presets. And there is a long list of presets to be found on the right side panel once the app is open, I’ve only played with a few. Universal Improver and Better Landscape have become quick favorites. A word of caution is advised here. I found Better Landscape to be anything but when I first applied it. At least it wasn’t “Better” on the images I used it on. However, clicking on the drop down arrow just to the left of the preset title(they all have this arrow) and adjusting the revealed opacity slider made all the difference.  Left at 100% it made my eyes hurt. It looked like HDR gone horrible wrong. Setting the slider to around 20%-30% did the trick, adding a nice bit of “Pop” to the image while alleviating the eye pain.

My advice would be to play with the opacity slider before passing final judgement on any of the presets. Some, like Universal Improver and HDR Vivid worked quite well on several images straight out of the box at 100%. Others, not so much. At first glance it would be very easy to write them, and the app in general, off as unusable if all you did was click on a preset and leave it at the default settings. Considering the potential of this app, and its relatively low cost of $59.99(US), that would be a shame.

Along with a long list of default presets, you can create your own custom presets too. If you’re the type that likes more control over your image enhancements, you can skip the presets and select “Adjust,” at the top and manually enhance your images to your liking. Clicking “Adjust” replaces the preset panel with an adjustment panel very similar to Lightroom’s, starting with Color Temp at the top and finishing with Vignette.

I have only played with the Presets so far, having only briefly looked at the Adjustment panel. That will be addressed in a future, more in-depth review.

Overall, I’m impressed with the ease of use, the price, and most importantly, the results. Stay tuned for my brief introduction to Snapheal Pro, as well as a more in-depth review of both software products once I’ve had a chance to really put them through their paces.

Here are a few Before and After images that have been edited in Intensify Pro using nothing but one of the presets, with the opacity adjusted to achieve the desired look.

And now the disclaimer.

Along with the invitation from MacPhun to test their software, I was also invited to become an affiliate. The software was provided to me at no cost, and each of the clickable links in this post, as well as the Intensify Pro banner in the sidebar are all affiliate links. What this means is, I get credit for each time a link is clicked, and I earn a commission on each sale made through any of these links.

In all honesty(believe me or don’t, thats up to you), I would much rather earn money though the sale of prints, than as a shill for some company who’s product I think it crap. If I don’t believe a product is any good, you won’t be reading about it here. I’ve got better things to do with my time, like making more of the spectacular photographs that brought you here in the first place ;-), than to write a review telling you how crappy I think a product might be.

Watermarking Made Simple.

Make Your Mark

Sunsets Witness

I get a lot of comments about my watermark. Surprisingly, quite a few people aren’t sure how to create their own. Here, in my latest article for the New England Photography Guild, I explain how to create a simple text watermark using the tools available in Adobe Lightroom 4. I also tell how to make a more personalized watermark, such as mine, using a .jpg or transparent .png file of you brand or logo.

Stop by and give it a read. And while you’re there, take a look at the outstanding work of some of the New England Regions best photographers.

Sunday’s Hidden Treasure

Out To Pasture

Antique John Deere tractor and GMC truck sitting among the tall weeds in a rural Maine field

Camera: Canon EOS 7D

Lens: Tamron 17-50 f2.8

Settings: iso 400, 19mm @ f9

This is a 3 shot HDR. The original RAW files having been first imported into Lightroom 3, were then processed in Nik HDR Efex Pro.

I’d like to take this time to thank all of my readers who took advantage of my status as an affiliate for Nik Software. As most of you know, as of April 2nd I will no longer be able to offer a 15% savings on Nik products with the code: JSINON 

I appreciate all of your support, and if you are hesitating on buying what I still consider the best image enhancing plugins on the market, now is the time to do it. After tomorrow at midnight the affiliate links on my blog, and in my posts about the great new low price of these plugins, as well as the code JSINON will no longer work to bring you the additional savings. While they should still bring you to the Nik site, you will have to pay the full $149 U.S. price.

 

PLEASE NOTE! As of midnight April 1st, the code JSINON and any affiliate links WILL NOT allow you to save an additional 15%. Any links within posts will now bring you to the Nik Collection site. Thank You.

 

Nik Software Savings Update!

Nik logoI just wanted to write this short update to the post from two days ago. I have been informed by the powers that be that as of April 2nd I’ll be losing my standing as an affiliate for the Nik Collection by Google  will be terminated. While you will still be able to purchase this great software at an incredible new low price, I will no longer be able to offer you the 15% additional savings. I’m not sure exactly when on the 2nd my status is to be terminated, so if you were planning to make a purchase using either my affiliate LINK, or by entering the code: JSINON during checkout, I suggest you do it by midnight on Monday the 1st.

I felt it very important to share this change to my affiliate status and urge you to make your purchase before the discount code and link are no longer functional. Not because I will earn a few more dollars in commissions, which I thank each and every one of you who’ve made a purchase for, but because I would feel terrible if someone attempted to use either the discount code or affiliate link after April 2nd assuming they were to receive the additional 15% savings.

I still firmly believe the Nik Collection by Google, as it is now known, is the best suite of image enhancement plugins on the market, regardless of my affiliate status. Even without the savings I think you’ll feel it is one of the best $149 you’ve spent on your photography. I still feel this way and I paid the old $299 price!

The Best Just Got Better.

Nik logoMost of you know I’m a huge fan of the Nik Creative Plugins. In fact, I can’t remember the last image that wasn’t processed in one way or another with at least one of them. Whether it’s DFine 2 for outstanding noise reduction, one of Color Efex Pro 4′s many creative filters, or the unbelievable pinpoint control in Viveza 2, when I want to get the most out of my images I turn to one of the Nik Creative Plugins.

Many of you may have also heard that Nik Software is now part of Google, and like me wondered what changes were going to take place as the result of this merger. Well I can tell you you’re going to love what they’ve done. They’ve done something unheard of, improved all the plugins and lowered the price! The plugins I’ve raved about at $299.00 (U.S.) is now just $149.00 (U.S.). For the complete collection! Not only that, they’ve made it even easier to install with a single uploader that installs all 6 plugins, where before you had to install each individually.

Oh, there’s more you say? Of course there is. You can save an additional 15% by clicking this LINK, and entering the code: JSINON during checkout.

At Nik it really is about “Photography First.”