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Favorite Lightroom presets

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by Speedliner, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    I'm new to DSLRs and am trailing LR/CC to replace PE. As with anything Adobe, the capabilities of the SW are only exceeded by its complexity. LT actually isn't too bad I think. More challenging is deciding how to organize your files and keyword standards.

    One simplification though, time being an issue always, is the availability of presets. Manipulating all of the controls is fun, but takes way more time than I'll ever have to do on a large scale. I've seen some great presets offered: at least they looked great.

    So what do you experts think? Are there some commercial presets out there that are head and shoulders above the rest for quality, ease and capability?

    Remember to talk to me like I'm four years old [emoji6]
  2. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    Presets are most useful for repetitiveness of results, not for awesomeness.
    Since you're new to post processing, I would suggest you to start without presets and learn what LR controls can do. Then you will be able to create your own presets that will suite your workflow in best way.

    The only presets I would recommend to buy are for color rendering - those are really time consuming and require good vision.
    I have bought Huelight profiles and forum user @Talanis@Talanis has some neat ones too.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
    • Like Like x 1
  3. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    I really don't use any of Adobe's provided presets. I build my own.

    I built one for specific sensor types with a "normal" and "hi ISO" setting. I also have them setup for JOG and RAW files. I then use these are the base from which to start completion of the process.

    I also have a few presets that I use to finish off images after they come back from using a plugin - specifically my B&W processes.

    While what I use is great for the way I shoot and the files as I have them coming from the camera, they may not work for how you have them.
    The best advice I can give you is to keep track of the top things you do in Lightroom to 99% of your images for JPG and RAW and then use those common settings as your base to start with as well.
  4. skellington

    skellington Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 4, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    You can also cut and paste settings from a picture into the rest of a shoot once you get what you like.
  5. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    For my m43 cameras (GH3 & GH4), I have 4 presets that I'll typically use:
    • noise reduction & light sharpening - low ISO
    • noise reduction & moderate sharpening - high ISO
    • vibrant color (boost the contrast, clarity, saturation, and vibrance)
    • distortion correct for the Oly 9mm FE BCL (Using Nikon 10.5mm DX FE lens profile)
    I still want to make a preset for more muted colors, but haven't got there yet. But the above presets are great because there are more universal changes made to a picture. Then I just go through each image and adjust exposure, and I'm done. It's a BIG time saver.
  6. arch stanton

    arch stanton Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 25, 2012
    You'll find after a little while there are a few base setups of the sliders you tend to prefer - save these as your own starting points.
    Then as skellington says, once you've tweaked one how you like it - copy settings, then paste onto similarly lit shots. A real time-saver!

    One tip I found useful in LR is to start at the top slider and work down...start with getting black/white/contrast right before doing anything with vibrance/clarity/sat etc as the basic exposure controls really change the colours.

    I tend to find after I've set black/white and WB where I want it I only need small clarity/vibrance changes most of the time.

    One other really nice quick tool is the gradient tool, very quick to drop in, good for skies - though keep it subtle ;) 
  7. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Thanks for the advise folks.
  8. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2012
    unrelated to your question, but a useful tip for when you get deeper into LR -- don't panic when you get to the "lens profiles" list way down at the bottom, and your lenses aren't listed. M4/3 lens profiles are loaded automatically, so just ignore that function.

    There are a lot of LR tutorials on Youtube -- some better than others. Julianne Kost is the official LR guru (or one of them), and her tutorials are a whole course in LR.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Ted

    Ted Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 10, 2014
    Tasmania, Australia
    Theo B
    I couldn't seen any examples of the Huelight Profiles there, but holy crap, those Talanis ones looks GREAT! Especially those blues! I had no idea my EM5 could take that good a shot, way to make me feel even worse about my photography ;)  I've been playing with Google Nik Collection the last month or two but that Chrome pack and maybe even the Portrait pack may have to be next, they seem a bit more usable than a lot of the Nik ones (then again, that could also be my poor editing skills!).
    • Like Like x 1
  10. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Can you explain this a little more? I was just getting ready to post a question about it. I've been trying to correct the distortion on my P14mm manually because there aren't lens profiles. If something is being done automatically, it's being done so poorly that I can't tell it's being done. I shoot raw if that matters.

    I'm not trying to hijack the thread...
  11. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    In Lightroom or something else?
  12. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Yes...sorry I missed that detail...in Lightroom.
  13. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  14. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    I use an LR import preset. Depending on the results I may pick another preset. If the results are not good enough, I take the image to DxO Optics Pro (which is an LR plugin) and do another version using their raw processing, and noise reduction. DxO returns a DNG file to LR. So I can then compare the LR version to the DxO version and pick which one to continue the post processing work in Perfect Photo Suite as needed. There are presets in Perfect Photo Suite as well to help speed up the work.
  15. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    What kind of distortion is bothering you?

    Some distortions like barrel and pincushion distortions are corrected automatically for micro four thirds lenses. These distortions show as curves in lines which should be straight (the lines bulge out towards the edges for barrel distortion, in towards the centre for pincushion distortion. Those distortions are basically symmetrical around the lens axis and become more pronounced towards the edges of the frame. These distortions can also be distant dependent and the automatic correction may not work equally well at all distances so you may need to do a bit of manual correction as well.

    There's another sort of distortion, keystone distortion, which is a specific perspective related distortion that occurs when the axis of the lens is not perpendicular to an object like a building. With keystone distortion, parallel lines such as the sides, or the top and bottom, of a building are no longer parallel and start to converge. The amount of convergence depends on how much the axis of the lens is off perpendicular to the object, the greater the deviation from perpendicularity the greater the convergence. This sort of distortion is not corrected automatically, you need to do it yourself.

    Finally there's the whole question of perspective and how things look to a camera lens vs how they look to you. The angle of view of the camera lens can be greater than that of the eye, and the greater the angle of view the more "extreme" perspective effects become. These effects aren't normally an issue for lenses of standard focal length or greater, so 25mm or longer for micro four thirds, but they become increasingly obvious at shorter focal lengths. Perspective effects aren't really distortion, even though many people call them that. They're actually the way things look when you have a wide angle of view, and you can control them to a degree by doing things like increasing your distance from objects that look distorted and/or avoiding having strong receding lines in the frame because those sort of things show perspective effects more strongly. There is no correction for them.

    So, if you're using the P14 which is a wide angle lens and you expect to have things at the edges of the frame, especially close things, look as "natural" as things at the edge of the frame look when you're using a 25mm lens or longer, then you're out of luck. The P14 won't deliver that sort of look, in fact no 14mm lens can deliver that sort of look, and as far as I know there is absolutely no way of "correcting" that sort of look. That sort of look simply isn't distortion, it's perspective. If you want to get natural looking perspective at the edges of the frame you're going to have to use a longer focal length and move a little further away in order to frame the same area.

    So, bottom line: there are a number of different sorts of distortion. Some sorts are automatically corrected in Lightroom from data contained in the RAW file but the correction may not be equally effective at all subject distances so you may need to do a bit of manual correction as well for some images. Some sorts, like keystone distortion, aren't automatically corrected and need to be corrected manually. Finally there is the whole issue of perspective and what a lot of people call "distortion" but which really isn't a distortion and can't be corrected. No one can give you advice on your particular problem without knowing what kind of things you're worried about and you haven't said what things are a problem for you.
  16. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Thanks for the response. That's an excellent explanation. The one I'm having issues with is barrel distortion....and in thinking about what you said and doing some more research, I think I may have figured out the issue. The first picture below is an example of the distortion. It's an unedited HDR (from Photomatix) that was imported into Lightroom. This is what I've always thought of as barrel distortion. But it occurred to me as I was looking for a good example to show you that most of my distortion issues have been related to HDR photos I've taken. The second photo below is one of the original unedited photos that went into the HDR. I just now took the raw file, imported it directly into Lightroom and then posted it here. To my eye, there is significantly less distortion (although it would have been easier to see if I had gotten the horizon level). Could it be that when I take raw photos into Photomatix and then export/import the tiff file from Photomatix into Lightroom, the "instructions" that come with the raw files from the camera get lost along the way (and the file type is changed from the normal raw file to a tiff file) so Lightroom doesn't automatically correct the distortion when the photo is imported?

    If so, I obviously just need to change my HDR processing to take the raw files directly into LR or some other converter prior to using Photomatix. Does that make sense?

    Thanks for your input! And again, @Speedliner@Speedliner, I apologize for the diversion of your thread, but it's been very helpful to me.:sorry:

    "Panasonic DMC-GM1"    ---          1/15s   

    "DMC-GM1"    "LUMIX G 14/F2.5"            
  17. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Haven't tried HDR so don't know about how it affects distortion correction but I think the very slight amount of curvature on the horizon with the sea in the second shot may not be distortion. I think the field of view with a wide angle may just be wide enough for you to start to be able to see the curvature of the earth on a distant sea horizon. If so, the automatic correction for barrel distortion isn't going to affect that.
  18. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Lol. No worries Twowheels. Glad you're gaining from it.
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