My Thoughts on Sleeklens Preset Tools
Sleeklens is a Danish company that reached out to me to review some of their portrait presets and brushes in exchange for free product. Here are my honest thoughts on them.
Just a couple quick notes before I begin with the presets and brushes. When initially downloading the presets, I noticed that there are a lot of helpful videos on the Sleeklens site detailing exactly how to install and use them, which is very helpful to anyone not familiar with the process.
Of course, and with any company, the backbone is support. Initially when dealing with Sleeklens, I had personally gotten replies in a very timely manner with any questions I had. In addition, their "contact us" page informs you that they will get back to you within 24 hours. If that is the case with most inquiries, that is a more than acceptable reply time.
On to the presets. Being that I'm not one that generally uses presets, it was a new experience for me. In a world where millions of people use presets everyday of varying quality in LR and PS, as well as social media sites like Instagram, it's not hard to see where presets like this would be hugely beneficial and second nature to a lot of photogs out there.
As far as naming conventions go for their presets, and not that I've seen many for comparison due to not really using them, I like how a lot of the names corresponds to what effect it has on the image. For example, the ones I've seen in the past have some quirky names that leaves it totally up in the air regarding what it may do to your image until you click on it. With Sleeklens, the names correspond to what the actual preset does, (darken shadows/lighten shadows/ect). There's definitely a structured workflow to the way you can use Sleeklens moreso than I've seen with others. In all honesty, this is not to say that every name is intuitive. There are still ones that aren't exactly predictable until you click on the preset and see how it affects your image.
Here's an example of a preset I used for this particular image. I turned it to B&W via "Duo". No other changes were made to this image after clicking on the preset. Personally, I like it. It's a bit of a high-key look that would lend itself well to this photo. This preset is one of my favorites thus far.
Another I used was "Beach Glow". A warmer preset that lifted the shadows and increased the warmth of the overall image among other various tweaks. As with the previous image, this preset worked well with this particular image, IMO.
Now, on to their brushes. They have some great brushes, IMO. I used only the brushes to edit this image. No presets were used. I was able to soften the skin, enhance her eye, add a touch more eye-liner, make her hair a bit more prominent, and bring out a little more detail in the sky. All with just using their brushes.
So overall, what do I think?
For me, and just because of how I've edited my photos for years, I don't see presets changing my workflow dramatically. I CAN see that for photogs who don't spend a lot of time editing photos nor wish to learn about the intricacies of Lightroom, can certainly benefit from these presets as an end result or a great starting point. As they use them, and if the photos are not exactly to their liking, they can experiment with the sliders a bit after applying the preset and eventually learn more about what these sliders do. Some of these presets are a bit over the top and heavy handed for MY particular style of editing, but that is not to dismiss them for others that may get great benefit from them.
Moreso than the presets, I look forward to using several of their brushes.
In an editing world where everyone is selling quirky named presets, I think Sleeklens' naming convention and claimed 24 hour response time customer support may set them apart from several others out there.