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Customizing Your Presets

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Hi this is Elizabeth Halford from Elizabethhalford.com and today I’m coming to you on behalf of Pretty Presets for Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw and our topic is customising your presets.

So here we are in Lightroom we have this image here it is RAW straight out of camera and this is going be a pretty quick video because it’s a pretty simple concept. All I really want to relay to you today is understanding the necessity of not just considering presets to be a one click edit; one click and then you done. It’s really important to understand that it’s just a spring board for your editing creativity to take your photo in a certain direction but it’s up to you to understand the different settings in Lightroom in order to customize the preset that you’ve added to your photo to make it work for your individual photo. Some of the presets when they were created may have been for certain scenarios in mind for example outdoors or in the studio setting, depending on what set your using and so it’s really important to keep that in mind. Every once and a while you’ll have a preset that when you click once, bam your photo is done and your pleasantly surprised and its quite a thrill when that happens and you can move onto the next. But most of the time I find the need to customize my setting after applying a preset to make it work for my individual photo.

So let me show you an example of a few presets here from Pretty Presets that work really well for this image. Now when you’re new to Lightroom or you haven’t used it before, it’s wonderful, that one of my favourite things about Lightroom is when you hover over the presets here, just on top of the list you can see on the top left it shows you a preview of what your image will look like.  That way you’re not working blind; you’re not just clicking and then having to go back and undo it, you can kind of preview what your photos going to look like here.

So I know from experience that a couple of the really great presets for this photo is from this ‘Old Hollywood Glam’ set, one of them is called ‘Rising Star’. And when I click that it treats the photo very well. There’s nothing here that I think needs to be changed. So that’s an example of a preset that works really well for the photo. Obviously when that preset was developed, it was developed on this sort of image.

 Another one is ‘Silver Screen’ and I think this is a really nice, really moody, really punchy black and white. I really like the different colours especially the colours of the rust on the truck that she has her hand on, but at the same time I really like the texture of the rust. So I can go black and white and maintain the texture or I can keep it in colour and maintain the colour, just depends. But that’s an example of a wonderful black and white one click preset completely done.

Then another one I have found was the ‘Sweet Ending’. I really like it really warms it up and makes it look like there’s a lot of warm sunlight flooding into the barn, which there wasn’t outside it was a yucky day with a very cool light.

So let’s take a look at a preset that I tried out and really felt needed some tweaking. Now this is the ‘Fall In Love Collection’ from Pretty Presets. It’s developed with JPEGs in mind and this photo is a RAW format. So I really love this ‘Dazzling’ preset though. I use it quite often. But because these presets were made with JPEGs in mind, and this is a pretty big reason why you find that you need to tweak your presets when you use them. If you’re using a set that was made for RAW on a RAW photo, you have a better chance of making an instant photo that you love. But if you’re using presets for JPEG such as these on a RAW image such as this, you will find the need to tweak it yourself.

 So I’ve clicked ‘Dazzling’ then over here on the right side are all the different things that you’re going want to look at... these are the things that you’re going to  want to look at when it comes to tweaking your preset. So what a preset is, is a set of commands that when you click it once it changes all the different levels on all these different sliders here and  all these different areas for a specific combination. And you’re going have to edit them a bit yourself for some photos.

So the first thing I always start with is exposure; I bring it down. I’m trying to keep her face in mind because it was quite a bit too blown out. I really like keeping this photo looking a little bit dingy a bit dark, not too bright or over exposed because this was indoors in a barn and I want it to maintain that dingy darky feel. So I’m not going take that down too much.

And then you can see the recovery slider. It’s good to click around on the different sliders here to see what they do so that you can see the effect that it has on your photo. So, recovery. What that does is it kind of tones down the highlights and it helps to prevent any clipping or blown out highlights in your photos. So as you bring it up you can see her face gets a bit flatter and not so sharply highlighted. So that’s really good.

Contrast, I bring that up a bit.

Now the clarity is always nice. I like bringing it up, especially for things like this truck. Take a look at the truck. When I take the clarity all the way down it’s all really soft, when I take the clarity up it highlights the texture looks a bit more grungy. But watch faces. This is an area where I customize my presets quite a lot because if you take the clarity up, particularly if you have a close up, it also sharpens the lines  on the face. It makes the skin and the features on the face look rather harsh. It’s okay for this photo because it’s not a close up but that’s often something I often fix. The way  I would fix that is I would keep the clarity up like it is because I really like the way it’s made all the features of the photo pop, but if I wanted to take the clarity down just in one area like her face I would use the adjustment brush. I would use a clarity adjustment brush and take the clarity down and all I’m really doing is just wiping it way so that bumped up clarity that we had in the photo, I’m taking it away from her face. So that’s what I would do if I wanted to adjust that.

Then we go over here, you’ve got to be careful about highlights that an area where you can kind of destroy your photo. So all I’m really doing here is just adjusting this preset to make it work. So you can see that what it’s done is it has been a spring board for the direction that this photo was going in… It was just a spring board and I had to take it into my own hands and make it into what I really wanted it to be. Now you can see, if you want to completely remover the settings you’ve applied, for example the vignette, you just double click the heading and it puts everything back to the middle, or to the default position.

So there are two different ways to add a vignette when you’re in Lightroom 3, there’s the lens correction area and then there’s the effects area. So I can tell that this preset was probably made using Lightroom 2 because you can see that Pretty Presets has used the lens vignetting area here to add the vignette. So if you want to bring it back in a bit or add to it, then you need to go into to there. Or if you want to completely do away with that you can double click and then go into the effects area where Lightroom 3 has added an area for adding a different kind of vignette. And this one has a bit more control than the lens correction vignetting area.

I’m going to make a copy of that… if you do control and the apostrophe symbol it will make a copy of your photos so now ive got this one and this one… I’m going to hit reset and then I’m going to put the ‘Dazzling’ preset back. Now you can see that this is the default ‘Dazzling’ preset from the ‘Fallen Love Collection’ for this photo. And this is it after I’ve edited it a bit and adjusted it for my particular photo.

So just to recap, sometimes when you click a preset it will be a one click edit on your photo but most likely you’ll find that there are certain things about it that you’ll want to tweak because it’s really important to understand that these are just as I said, just a springboard for your creativity and  just a springboard of the direction you want to take a photo. It’s an excellent way to explore the different moods you put on you photo if you’re not sure what you want it to look like. But just be aware that after you click your preset, quite often you’re going to need to understand and be able to utilize the sliders on the right hand side in order to customize that preset for your photo.

So thank you so much for watching again, this has been Elizabeth Halford on behalf of Pretty Presets for Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw and that is Lightroompresets.com.

Elizabeth Halford is a professional photographer and blogger. She gives real photography advice in real.plain.english. Visit her on Facebook and join a community of photographers just like you!

*Special thanks to April Renee Photography for the beautiful before and after*

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