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!