So I haven't blogged my fashion and portrait sessions before but I'm going to start doing that along with my travel blogs. I struggle to balance my website between travel, fashion, portraits, engagements, etc. A lot of photographers specialize in one area but I'm literally and figuratively all over the place and I get bored quickly. Therefore, I dabble in everything and I freakin love it.
Fashion and portraits are my creative muse. Don't get me wrong, I love travel photography. Shooting in nature or alone with no pressure to capture anything based on a cash payment is very relaxing. But I also love shooting for people.
For editing my photos, I use VSCO's free film presets -- Film 00. FREE. It's awesome. I like to keep things simple, quick, and consistent.
However, when it comes to photographing human beings they have things like pores, hairs, blemishes, and all. Even if you're like a perfect human being you'll probably still need retouching.
I have a few retouching tricks that I like to think save time but sometimes I find myself 4 photographs in and 4 hours later and I've made little progress.
I tried out SleekLens for their portrait workflow in Lightroom and was very interested in their brushes.
First opinion on Sleeklens : the presets work best for an up-close portrait (at least in my photos). After all, it is a portrait package.
Second opinion : the brushes are super fast for retouching! I thought my system was good. No. These brushes retouch like lightning. However, I warn you. Keep your brush flow (opacity) about 50% or your subject is going to look like Barbie for a kitchy ad.
Third opinion : it's a literal workflow. The presets are stackable in order from 0-6. They can all stack on top of each other like layers, giving you a quick and easy edit. This is super nice. Here's a screenshot so you get the idea of how the editing order takes place.
So I took it upon myself to test out these Sleeklens tools by comparing my original VSCO edits with Sleeklens edits.
With my VSCO edits, I select a preset, adjust as needed, and retouch in Photoshop.
With my Sleeklens edits, I rarely had to open Photoshop for more retouching because the brushes could do everything in Lightroom. Therefore, the editing was much quicker with Sleeklens.
Raw -- VSCO edit -- Sleeklens edit
Last but not least I had a mega trip with this photograph.
Yes, it's a bit over-edited. I'm new to these tools.
Yes, my friend has INCREDIBLE eyes. I barely edited her eyes. No lie.
I never completed the VSCO edit here because I never took the time to retouch it but with Sleeklens the retouching was pretty easy. I edited this photograph 90% Sleeklens and 10% Photoshop for a bit more retouching in tiny details and small color corrections that I prefer to do outside of Lightroom.
I'm aware her skin is over-edited but just look at that!
From completely un-retouched to a full retouch in LIGHTROOOOOOOOM. woah.
Now, I really do love the shadows and subtle key of the middle photo which is VSCO but there's something striking about this Sleeklens editing in which you can really make light and color pop.
Sleeklens even offers a professional editing service in which you don't even have to edit your own photos. If you work in high volume then this could be a great option. If you prefer to edit on your own then you can watch their quick tutorials to understand the tools.
What I'm taking away from using Sleeklens portrait workflow : I like the brushes more than the presets because I prefer to change individual things in a photo to make it pop. I mask so much when I edit because I nit-pick every little area in a photo. The presets can feel a bit extreme with their oversaturated colors and pop of shadows. I prefer keeping shadows dark as you can see in the middle photo above. It's easy to find a quick rhythm with the Sleeklens workflow as I chose almost the same stackable presets each time. I'm glad I have the brushes and will continue to use them!