Question #23: About Presets

Q: "I would like to hear your thoughts on software for photo-enhancing beyond Lightroom and Photoshop. Are they helpful and do they add something the basic editing software does not? Also, the same question related to presets for Lightroom or Photoshop? And if you do find them helpful, how in the world does one decide which ones to purchase as there seems to be so many available?" Melanie Barrett

A: "Hi Melanie and thank you for your question! There are some wonderful enhancing software programs and presets out there, I just don't use them... I find programs such as PS, Lightroom or Aperture so powerful that I don't see the point of adding anything else to my workflow. I like to tweak my images myself to reflect the emotion I had when I took the picture. No preset can really do that for me.

That said, I am not a portrait or fashion photographer. They may use some tools beyond the traditional photo editing software programs in order to help them achieve a final image faster. It would be interesting to find out more about that if someone wants to leave a comment below.  

The type of photography I do requires very little post processing and I like a very natural look to my images. Anything that looks over-processed turns me off, especially in street photography or in nature. But photography is an art form and art is subjective. Presets are obviously popular and I believe that anything that boosts the artist's creativity is a good thing!

The presets available in LR are a good starting point to experiment with. I think you have to make it your own by adjusting a few sliders to achieve a final look and feel that works for you.

I think that many photographers rely on plug-ins or presets to try to make a mediocre image look better. Reality is, no preset or amount of post processing is ever going to turn a bad picture into a good one. Yet, skillful editing (via a preset or not) can definitely turn a good image into an even better one!

If you want to try some of the many products available on the market I would recommend a free trial to see if that is something your work is really going to benefit from.

 I hope this helps. Thanks again for submitting a question for the blog Melanie!"

Please leave a comment below and share your experience with the community. If you have a question, feel free to send it to Valerie for an upcoming Q&A blog post. This blog cannot exist without your questions!