It’s no longer a question of whether top-tier photographers use Lightroom / ACR presets as part of their workflow. But a question of ‘which look’ they’ve decided to go with via the application of their favorite preset to attract those drawn to their editing style.
Because the alternative of not using beautiful moody tones in professional photos just doesn’t cut it anymore.
#1 – Skin Tones
Chances are you already know what I’m talking about. I’m referring to the distinct separation between the images of a much-loved photographer on say Instagram, than one with significantly less followers and engagement. Usually, if you have a good eye, you’ll be able to pick them right away. As there’s just something about the better photographer’s images that pop out, which in comparison makes their weaker counterparts’ work seem flat or pale. And it’s not just a matter of yanking contrast. The trick is all in the colors – particularly skin tones. Some of the best shooters in the world opt for what we call ‘alien skin’ in their photos. Others, a more earthy brown, while still others, a light, bright, and airy feel. Yet while different preferences exist, one thing is for certain. Skin color needs to be mastered. It goes without saying therefore that unflatteringly red, blotchy, or overly-smooth skin will never get it done.
#2 – Background Colors
Presets help to bring out the best in your background. Do you often shoot in woodland areas that would benefit from a dimmer emotive chroma? Or do you frequent festive farms and epic mountainscapes, and would prefer presets that emphasize detail and freshens greens? Whatever the case may be, you need to experiment with your colors to see what works for your location, your shooting equipment, and the nature of your couples.
#3 – Speed, Efficiency, and Continuity
In addition to the abovementioned must-haves, presets have also ushered in an era of unprecedented workflow efficiency – the likes of which have never been seen before in photo editing. It wasn’t even that long ago, when wedding photographers would have to slave over their work for months before being able to deliver them to clients. The reason being, it was hard achieve a wonderful ‘continuity’ in their wedding collection. Presets however have done away with that. Speed through streamlining now allows photographers to apply a panoply of signature palettes with no more than a few clicks.
So for those who are still sitting on the fence when it comes to presets, isn’t it time you took a bold step forward?