I was recently asked by Danish company Sleeklens to review a set of their Lightroom presets for photographers. The set they asked me to review is called Strike A Pose Portrait Workflow.
The set comes with 69 portrait presets and 62 different adjustment brushes as well as a set of “recipes” to help quickly apply a range of effects and adjustments to images.
I do most of my photo editing in Lightroom, so I was quite keen to try out something new I could use with my editing software of choice. I love being able to batch edit in Lightroom and only ever open up Photoshop for things like Liquify or having to do a face swap. As a general rule, I don’t use a lot of commercial presets and tend to use some that I’ve made myself and apply to my images for a consistent look when editing. I’ve had mixed results when purchasing presets in the past and honestly only use a few from time-to-time in my edits. I also have a few trusty old adjustment brushes I tend to use when editing portraits from family, children or bridal sessions.
So I wasn’t expecting I’d be thrilled with Sleeklens, but cautiously gave it a test-drive nevertheless.
After playing around with the various presets and brushes for a while, I started to get the hang of them. I liked the pop of colour and the warmth I was able to give to my images with Sleeklens without too much manual adjustment:
In fact some of the presets allowed me to achieve, in just a few clicks, what I would normally spend a lot of time trying to achieve manually:
While other presets and light adjustments in the package allowed me to create more dreamy images:
I’m always a big fan of high-key black and white portraits, and I found that with the Sleeklens Strike A Pose Portrait Workflow I was able to achieve the result that I usually strive for, while adjustment brushes let me bring out additional highlights of the subject’s features:
When photographing families with babies or very young children, it’s not always possible to shoot in the “golden hour” before sunset because their sleep schedules make it impractical. I really liked that “add golden sun” adjustment helped to make images look as though they were taken at a different time of day, without being too saturated in yellow. This one was captured at around 10am on a summer morning, not a time I generally like shooting at:
Skin tone is something I constantly stress about in post-production. I will definitely be incorporating elements of this Sleeklens set in my portrait workflow moving forward, as it allowed me to effortlessly achieve realistic skintone representation over and over again:
The Sleeklens Strike A Pose Portrait Workflow is reasonably priced compared to many other Lightroom presets packages on the markt at $31 USD for the bundle. At that price point it is worth giving it a shot, especially if you shoot a lot of portaits outdoors like I do.
That being said, there were quite a few presets in the bundle that just didn’t do it for me. I didn’t like how they made my images look and would have required a LOT of manual adjustment to make them presentable. But there are a handful that I was quite impressed with, along with most of the adjustment brushes, and I look forward to the next session that I edit and incorporating them into my workflow.
This review was not paid and I received nothing except for the package to test-drive in exchange for my published comments.