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.

Presets And Plugins, Creative Tools Or Creative Crutch?

I Love To Make Photographs…

As the Mad River in Farmington, NH, cascades over a bright green moss covered granite ledge, it shoots down a natural flume carved into the rock over the centuries. As it reaches the bottom of the flume, it enters a small pool and from there disappears into the forest beyond.

…but I hate the time spent behind the computer once the image has been captured. Time behind the computer is at best, time away from the camera, and at its worst, time away from my family. I’d much rather be out shooting or spending time with my wife and daughter, than working on photographs.

So, that is why I”ve tried to make my time in the “digital darkroom” as quick and painless as possible with presets and plugins. My photo editing software consists of Lightroom 3 (Lightroom 4 is the current version now available), and  Nik Software’s Complete Collection for Lightroom.  I have absolutely no desire to become a post processing wiz, in fact, I’m perfectly happy in my “photoshop ignorance.” I want to be in and out and done with a photo in 5-10 minutes, tops! It’s also why I’m brutal when it comes to deleting images, but that a story for another time.

Hi, My Name Is Jeff, And I’m A Lazy Post Processor.

An intimate portrait of a small section of Garwin Falls in Wilton, NH. Shown during the low flow of summer, with a few smoothed out round depressions in the rock, eroded over many years by the power of the water.

First, I have to say that I do not subscribe to the “I can fix it in Photoshop” school of thought. I believe in getting it right in camera as far as exposure and composition goes. I don’t try to “rescue” crappy photos, I delete them.

I do know how I want my final image to look though, but do I care how I achieve that look after capture? No, not at all. To me the end results are all that matters. That is why I rely so heavily on Lightroom presets, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of free presets available with a quick Google search*, and Nik plugins. Since I started using the Nik software however, my use of Lightroom presets has dropped considerably. Once I correct white balance, if I need to, set my blacks, lens corrections, and capture sharpening, it’s off to one of the Nik plugins. Usually, the first stop is Viveza 2. The control you have over every aspect of the image in Viveza is phenomenal. With Nik’s Control Point Technology, you can correct the color, brightness, contrast, white balance, and more, of an individual color and have the effect as locally or as broadly applied as you wish. Next, it’s off to Color Efex Pro 4. With 55 filters along with a long list of recipes(multiple filters applied together), there is no end to the look you can achieve.

Vertical image looking upstream on the Swift River in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Boulders strewn throughout the stream provide points of interest, while the autumn foliage lining the banks provide vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges to catch the eye. In the distance, can be seen a granite cliff.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Is mastering image editing software part of becoming a “complete” photographer? Or are you like me and just want to realize the image you envision when you press the shutter, as quickly and easily as possible?

Here’s a great source of free presets for Lightroom to get you started.