I was graciously asked by Rebecca to test her latest (masterful) Lightroom Pro Preset III pack before its release this month. I was blown away with the number of presets in here (120 in all), both color and monotone, as well as a full set of custom tools. For this review, I am only hitting the color presets. The B&W (sub)review has been posted for you as well.
I used to be pretty anti-preset. I think it was the over-use of filters from Instagrammers and iPhoneographers that put me off in the beginning - all creating similar faux-vintage looks from a limited filter-set that just looked wretched in my book. So, I had always thumbed my nose at the idea of using these things and wrote them off as silly annoyances. Well, I have to tell you, Rebecca really turned me around - especially when she created my custom color set last fall. Since that time, I have a new found respect for these high level presets. Rebecca took a great deal of time and effort with a masterful eye to color detail and tonal ranges to make these gorgeous, artistic, unique looks that are not filters - rather Lightroom Presets for one-click editing. (I still can't look at the "filters" on Instagram).
Her latest Pro Set (III) has me completely sold on the idea. This series is really mouth-wateringly beautiful with a selection of gorgeous tones from "Deep Color" through the airy "Pastel" sets. There are so many to choose from that will suit just about any style and scenery. You can quickly see where each one can be used (from dramatic landscapes to delicate portraits) once you begin to click through them. These can be used as is (their intent) or used as a baseline for further customized to your liking.
For the color presets, they each come in three flavors; first a base version and then two progressive versions that increase the specified effect.For example:
- Pro III - Bright Color - Gold Rush I (base)
- Pro III - Bright Color - Gold Rush II (more intense)
- Pro III - Bright Color - Gold Rush III (max intense)
- Pro III - Pastel - Apricot I (base)
- Pro III - Pastel - Apricot II (more intense)
- Pro III - Pastel - Apricot III (max intense)
I've tried to use each and every one - in all combinations - below throughout this post.
Rebecca Lily's Lightroom Website: http://www.rebeccalily.com/ for more examples and details.
I did my best to grab various scenes from seacoast to city to country portrait. I think this sampling reflects a wide range of possibilities with the color presets here. Again, just scroll through the duplicated images in this post to see the effect each variation has. There are zero edits to color for every image on this page, other than the one-click application of Rebecca's preset. Honestly, that's all I did for each of these.
Well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so for the most part I am going to let the photos speak for themselves. First, have look at a before after of the Apricot pastel preset, then I'll toss up full examples of each category of presets.
With this one, notice how well she handles the light and shadows, really bringing this portrait from dull to amazing! (Again, this went from SOOC to one-click edit!) I love this dramatic example because:
- My slightly underexposed shot was brought into perfect exposure with the one click.
- What would have taken me 30 minutes of mucking around with sliders took me literally 1 second with the preset. "Click" and done.
Below, another shot of Mary taken in identical light, just a different preset. Notice the difference in pastel tones here - moving from pinks to blues - amazing in my book!
Think about it for a second. Taking an entire shoot in the same light and mass-applying a filter for a consistent and unique look for a series of photos. This has become such a huge time-saver in my post processing. I now can concentrate on shooting, not processing.
Technically, I use only two color labs now:
- Richard Photo Lab for film
- Rebecca Lily Presets (and custom presets) for digital
OK, so on to some quick examples of each and every color preset she offers in this set. Again, B&W was posted separately as this post is already quite graphic intense.
The Complete List of Color Preset Examples
For the images below, I apply the multitude of presets to three separate images. The first image in the series is the "raw" version with no preset adjustments. The remainder reflect one option for each preset (for example, Deep Color - Mystic I). The other versions (Deep Color - Mystic II & III) will be found in either the fall shot of Ashley or the ocean shot at the bottom. Hopefully that will make sense as you view on.
Above is the original, so below is a sample of each series of presets (one of three versions of each).