May 17, 2017

There is so much that goes into the job of a photographer: advertising, scheduling shoots, contracts, financial record keeping, constantly reading and cultivating the craft, and of course, the actual shoot. In addition, a big component of the job  (arguably the most important) is the post-production process. Photographers can spend countless hours upon hours in Lightroom and Photoshop. And while it is an enjoyable process, an efficient workflow is paramount.

While I’ve used a number of Lightroom presets from various companies, they have unfortunately (and disappointingly) sat dormant and virtually unused due to subpar performance.

AND THEN recently – the heavens opened up and I discovered MCP Actions for Lightroom. I was cautiously optimistic but…was beyond the moon once I started exploring their Enlighten Lightroom Presets. The presets offer a wide, wide range of editing possibilities at the literal click of a mouse. What would take me a few minutes to get by messing around with tone curves, temperatures, tints, etc. came within a second. And if I clicked on a particular preset that didn’t quite work with the theme of my shoot or be in line with my vision? No problemo. Reset buttons are available for every preset.

To test out the Enlighten Presets, I used a recent Mother’s Day shoot I captured of my wife and daughter (click here to see that blog post). Since we were in the beautiful, enchanting location of Woodward Park in Fresno, California, I really wanted to achieve a classic matte feel while keeping the greens popping in the shot (thank God for the “enchanted rainforest” preset). And the various matte presets feel endless as do the haze ones. There really are an amazing range of possibilities and while I am thrilled with my first go-round, I can only imagine where these Presets can take my work the more and more I familiarize myself with them.

Oh. And for all you B&W photo lovers like myself, these particular Presets has you more than covered (I’ve used a sample further down in this blog post). As mentioned, what I envisioned was a classic matte look with a touch of haze. Simple and elegant. Film-esque. And I got exactly that and I couldn’t be happier. It’s dynamic yet subtle and something I will be using constantly on all of my future projects – especially weddings, family portraits, etc.

But enough of all my typing (I have the gift to gab)…better to show than tell.  The “before” shots are on the left and “after” shots are to the right.  ***Note*** I also did some basic editing in some of these shots including cropping, removing certain distractions, and the like***

Lastly, I included this photo of the water above to show what one click of an exposure preset can do for colors (in this case the sky) and when you couple that with the “Local Adjustments” preset – you get a profoundly better image. With the “Local Adjustments” presets, MCP Actions gives you the ability to take that adjustments brush to do a wide spectrum of things. In the case of the photo above, I used a “color pop” brush to add even more blue to the sky without going overboard or making it look so unrealistic that it didn’t flow with the rest of the images from this shoot. Lovely, right?

But don’t just take my word and images for it…try it out for yourself. You can even sample out the set I used by downloading the Free Lightroom Presets. Yes – FREE. You’re welcome 🙂

And once you do, let me know what you think! I’d love to hear (and see) your experience! Until then, take care and happy Preset-ing.