Review: Sleeklens Portrait Workflow for Lightroom

I'm putting some digital images on here for once! I was recently asked by Sleeklens to try out their Strike a Pose Portrait Workflow for Lightroom and post my thoughts on it. They're a Denmark-based company that offers different Lightroom presets, online Lightroom tutorials, and post-processing services. Rather than give a technical review, I've put together some thoughts on incorporating this tool into my workflow as a film/digital hybrid shooter.

When I edit my digital shots, I try to achieve a look that's complementary (but not necessarily identical) to the film images from the same session. For my purposes, all the presets I played around with were too intense on their own, but I usually just had to pull back the saturation and contrast to get the kind of look I wanted. This is normal for working with presets: they're a shortcut rather than an end product, so you should expect to make at least minor adjustments after adding the preset.
Here's a side-by-side comparison for two of the presets (Sunset Portrait 1 and Golden Shadow), showing the same image straight out of the camera, after applying the preset, and then after adjusting the saturation and exposure.

With the intense colours of most of the presets in this package, my impression is that these are best suited for outdoor portraits in natural or mixed lighting. They seem to work especially well for the backlit, golden-hour portraits that are really popular right now. If you're proficient enough with Lightroom to go right from the first image to the third in not much time, then this is obviously not for you, but if not, I could see these being a time-saver. One of the reasons I shoot film is to spend less time on the computer post-processing, so Lightroom presets can have a place in a film/digital workflow. Here are a couple of other presets that I used to complement the look of my film photos:

A major advantage to using Lightroom presets (either your own or commercial ones like the Sleeklens package) is achieving a consistent look across all your images. Out of the monochrome options, "Duo" was by far my favourite. It needed little or no adjustment and was an easy match for the levels of grain and contrast I prefer in my black-and-white film photos.

As with all preset packages, this won't be a necessary middle step for every photographer's workflow, and not all of the presets worked for me, as some simply didn't fit my style. Still, this workflow is a very quick way to produce nice-looking and consistent results, especially for someone who isn't looking to spend too much time in Lightroom. Thank you to Sleeklens for the chance to try out this package! 

In Colour | Ottawa Wedding Photography

Since I posted my photos from Highball, I've been thinking through the ways that film should figure in other kinds of events work that I do. I'm sharing this little set of wedding images from earlier in the summer to expand on my growing inventory of the kinds of recording that are possible with the analogue tools available to me. 

As much as I love the motion and energy of high-grain, black-and-white pictures, turning back to colour and natural light has been eye-opening now that I'm working in medium format. Shooting in colour slows the pace of an event, a consequence of making photographs with lower-speed films and a larger, heavier camera. As I keep trying to articulate why exactly I shoot film, I don't want to lose sight of the relationships between the medium I work in, the way I move through spaces as a photographer, and the kinds of narratives my photos can form. 
A simple change in pace might shift different moments to the foreground and bring different stories into existence.

Shot on Kodak Portra 160 and 400 + Fujichrome Provia 100f | Processed and scanned by GPC Labworks

Portraits from the Canadian Tulip Festival | May 2016

A few impromptu photos of friends, shot on International Museum Day this year when we made a quick trip to the National Gallery, at the very best moment to see the apple blossoms. Also, this is my first post on here of images taken using my new/old Pentax 645n! I hope it's the first of many more.

Shot on Fuji 400h | Developed and scanned by GPC Labworks