This week I was fortunate to be asked by Sleeklens.com to review their 'Strike A Pose to Portrait' bundle workflow for Adobe Lightroom.
Sleeklens is a Danish company with a reputation for quality products in the field of photography, so I was very happy to review a product by such a prestigious company.
The 'Portrait Workflow Bundle' is just what is says: Presets and Brushes designed to work on Portraits.
This is what is included in the bundle:
- 69 Portrait Presets and 62 Portrait Brushes
- Compatible with Lightroom and 4-6 and Adobe Creative Cloud
- Works both on Jpeg and Raw images
- Works on PC and Mac
- Recipe list and sample images to get inspiration from
- An easy to follow guide on how to install Lightroom Presets and Brushes
- Guide on how to layer/stack the presets
- Easy to adjust to suit your own style
- Exclusive access to their private Lightroom Help and Tutorial Facebook Group
- If you are looking for a Photoshop version of Strike a Pose, then pick “Portrait Perfection”
As an experienced user of both Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop for over 10 years, I have extensive experience in photographic restorations, commercial photography as well as wedding and portrait photography.
The installation of both the Presets as well as the Brushes can be done easily by following the online tutorial instructions: very straightforward.
The first thing I noticed about the Portrait presets is the layout: they are arranged in such a manner that even a beginner Lightroom user would find it easy to use.
These presets do all the tasks that can be done in Lightroom or Photoshop, but they allow you to speed up this process.
Keep in mind that a preset is only a starting point if you just want to play with your photos and give them a certain look. The resulting photo however is not necessarily a well balanced one as you can see in this example:
Here you can see the original photo on the left hand side and the results of a 'One Click Preset' called 'Dream a little Dream' on the right hand side. The one on the right is a little off colour and has a yellow tinge. This creates an artistic look, however this is not necessarily the ideal look for a portrait.
To achieve a really professional looking photograph you will need to familiarise yourself with the use of the Brushes. They are task specific and named in such a way to make it easy to select a certain Brush to achieve a desired look.
When working on portraits, you can choose brushes for 'Skin Smoothing', 'Sharpening Eyes' or 'Whitening teeth' and achieve quite stunning results as you can see in this example:
With this set of photos you can see how I used the brushes effectively to achieve a more natural looking portrait.
For the skin tone I used a brush called 'Even Skin Tone' as well as 'Fake tan'. For the hair I used a brush called 'Define Hair' and as you can see both the skin tone as well as the hair have a lot more definition, which makes this portrait more natural looking.
All in all I would recommend the Strike A Pose Portrait bundle for both beginners as well as experienced photographers who would like to take their portrait photography to the next level.
It offers a very large variety of Presets that can speed up your workflow and with some time and practice you will find your favourite set to achieve a desired look. The use of the Brushes can be learned quite quickly and in no time at all you too can achieve amazing looking, professional portraits.
10 points for Sleeklens for developing these easy to use and relatively inexpensive Presets.