Photographer review of: Sleeklense – Landscape Adventure Collection
As a travel photographer, you get to explore cities, chase light, and hunt for the perfect angle to capture a sense of that place; you hope your photos will inspire others to travel and discover new places. It sounds a bit glamorous, and it certainly can be. However, there is always a practical side to everything and with the art form of photography comes a business side.
Processing photos is one of the most time-consuming aspect of the photography business. No matter the care and perfect planning one puts into taking a photo, there is still post-production: image processing, color correction and enhancement.
A photograph of that perfect golden sunlight on a colorful town on Lake Como, Italy can take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes to one hour to process post production. Gently pump up the color, warm that golden glow, remove any unsightly debris or cigarette butts, and lighten the grey in the clouds while making it look natural and not overly processed all takes time. Add that time to 24 other photos you are preparing for a website of 9 photos for a magazine story and that time adds up quickly!
Not to mention when all of that planning disappears and you get that perfect shot but everything is wrong: the sun went behind a cloud, shadows are dull, but the frame is perfect and someone on a bike just rode through your frame at the right time. That perfect shot, with less-than-perfect light, needs even more post-production time.
What if the photoshop tricks, the layers, the curve adjustments and filters were collected into a few easy clicks? Sleeklens provides a multitude of Photoshop (and lightroom) actions that you can download for various genres. Sleeklens kindly contacted me and asked if I would be interested in a trying out their “Landscape Adventure Collection” of 56 Photoshop actions. I said Yes! Of course!
Sleeklens has reasonably divided up the landscape Photoshop actions into 8 categories, all in order of how a photographer would process a photo: Exposure, Base, Tone, All in One, Enhance, Specialty, Temperature, and even Web File Prep. Each category then has clever names for each action so you know what that action will do. For example, select ‘Base Morning Light’ and see the morning glow enriched and you can decide how much warmth by adjusting the opacity/fill. Other clever names include: ‘Tone Dark and Stormy’ or ‘Tone This is Hot’. Use the “All In One” category and select ‘Calm Sunset’ when that is what you are working with, or ‘Dawn Rising’ or ‘Soft Golden Hour.’ One of my favorites “All in One” action is the ‘Shine into the Sunset,’ when you take that tricky photo directly into the sun to create silhouettes, and use this action to add the warmth that is there but hard to capture.
For photos that need touches here and there, use the “Enhance” category. Select Enhance ‘Deep Blue Sky’ or ‘Dramatic Sky,’ and the action is set with a pop-up box to remind you: ‘Warning! The action is not effecting the image yet. Paint the layer mask white in the areas you want to apply the effect on.’ Take the paint brush and see the sky subtly enhance in highlights, shadows and saturation. These two actions which can normally be time consuming, are now available in seconds!
If you are looking to create a mood, use the “Specialty” category for a soft focus ‘Dreamy Landscape’ or ‘Film Grain’ for a vintage look. Warm or cool the overall temperature with the “Temperature” category and as the self-explanatory title “Web File Preparation” for web use.
I am still having fun playing around with the Sleeklens photoshop actions. And as with everything, practice makes perfect. After I figure out which actions are my favorite and master how to fiddle with them, it will cut down on processing time, surely by half! The “Enhance” actions alone will significantly save time when I want to tweak small and specific areas of a photo. Another advantage of Sleeklens Photoshop actions, are that I can study the actions and learn how different combinations of adjustments affect an image, combinations I might not have thought to use before.
I have always been wary of Photoshop actions, worrying if it would make photos look over processed. However, Sleeklens has created these Photoshop actions with designers and professional photographers, and the quality shows! Overall the Sleeklens Photoshop actions will improve your post production skills, enhance your photos, and save you time!