I was approached a few weeks ago by Sleeklens, a company who develops editing workflows for photographers. They wanted to send me one of their workflows to play around with in exchange for an honest review of their product. They sent me the Lightroom workflow, Strike A Pose, geared specifically for portrait photographers.
Strike A Pose is compatible with Lightroom 4-6 and CC. It comes with 62 Brushes, and 69 Portrait Presets. It also comes with an arsenal of highly informative information to help you download and integrate the workflow. They even have “recipe lists” that give you step-by-step lists of how to incorporate several of their presets and brushes together. On top of that, they have plenty of videos on YouTube to show you how to use their products.
Before I start to say anything about what I think, I wanted to clarify what my personal style is, as it affects how I used and reviewed this workflow. When I photograph, I go into a session trying to get everything as perfect as possible straight out of camera. I want everything to look clean, bright and timeless. I want my images to have enough “pop” to them that they look amazing, but not so much that they are going to date themselves within a few years. All of that being said, I probably err on the side of being an editing minimalist. :)
You receive 69 presets, and from there they are broken down like this: 1. All in One, 2. Base, 3. Exposure, 4. Color Correct, 5. Tone/Tint, 6. Polish & 7. Vignette.
Presets are a great way to start playing with an image if you aren’t sure what direction you want to go with it. It is true with presets that some things work for some images, and some definitely don’t. I tried each of the presets out on different types of images, and came to this conclusion: The All-in-One presets are really strong for a classic portrait image, but can work beautifully for what I call a “landscape portrait”, or an image where the landscape is as much of the photo as is the person… thus you can get a little more creative with coloring and editing. I put together a few images to show what I mean. In each of these, I just did the one-click “All-In-One” without adjusting anything afterwards. The final image I didn’t use the All-in-one, but layered some of the other presets for a more finalized look that represents my normal editing style.
To showcase a more classic portrait type photo, I also did the one-click All-in-One Presets. For the most part, these are much too strong for my liking. The final image I layered their other presets together, and then used a variety of brushes to get the final image I was looking for.
The bundle includes 62 Portrait Brushes. They are broken down by these categories: Color, Face, Haze, Light, Portrait & Skin. The brushes really wowed me, and I think this where the workflow really shines. You can do just about anything you need for a portrait… whiten teeth, add coloring, enhance eyes/catch-lights, add in glow-y light, add make-up. etc. Here is an upclose version of some of the classic brushes I would use on a regular basis for a portrait.
Brushes are a great way to “paint on” the finishing touches on an image, and I love the difference they make here.
All in all, this workflow is pretty comprehensive. Aside from the All-in-One presents being a bit too strong for my preference, I think they are rounded out by the rest of the presets that let you layer the look you are going for. The brushes are everything you really need, and I am excited to work them in to my editing workflow for clients.
Anyone else tried out Sleeklens? I would love to know what you think!