Jaclyn made an interesting comment the other day about how movie stars and those with a large social media platform have increasingly turned to photography presets as a source of income. Be they former Bachelor or Bachelorette contestants, or home and life stars from HGTV, each individual seems to have their own photographic preset pack they’re willing to sell you.
The issue is that most of those preset packs suck. They’re overdone, or they’re not done enough. The presets fit the look of the person selling the preset pack more than they fit their customers. And no matter how you swing it, preset packs aren’t going to fix a bad photograph.
So, two things to that:
- Don’t invest your money in presets with the idea of them making you a better photographer. Preset packages are designed to shorten your workflow and speed up the editing process. They are not designed to be — and should not be — a one-stop shop for magical photography. To find that magical look, you need to learn composition, light, and how to use your camera.
- If you know how to compose, if you know how light works, and if you have mastered your camera, then don’t buy rubbish preset packs. Buy good preset packs, which have been meticulously crafted to fit a wide range of photographic styles, a wide range of colours, and which are created by masters of their craft.
I’ve ranted and raved about Rebecca Lily’s preset packs for quite some time already. Rebecca even reached out to me to use one of my favourite photos as a test photo for Pro Set V (to which, I might add, ended up making me love that photograph even more).
Today, Pro Set VI has debuted, and although I’ve had very little time to play with it, I’ve come away more impressed than ever before. Pro Set VI has four main categories of presets, each with five to nine specific presets designed to fit a wide range of photography.
So far, I’m particularly impressed with Pro Set VI’s “Soft” presets, allowing you to gently enhance specific colours and to softly alter highlights and shadows to present a very approachable, comfortable look. For sunset and sunrise photographs, or for those with incredible colour gradients in the sky, these “Soft” presets are perfect.
I’ve also quickly fallen in love with the new “Venice” pastel preset. I went back and applied Venice to a range of our photos in Venice, and I’ve found more keepers from our 2016 trip.
Which is almost a story in and of itself, honestly — every time Rebecca drops a new Pro Set package, I end up testing the presets against my oldest travel photos. And no matter the circumstance, I come away with new flagged photos in my Lightroom library and at least 15 new photos I want to share on the blog or on Instagram. Somehow, Rebecca’s presets breathe new life into my oldest work, each and every release.
So, to sum up: Don’t go buy a preset pack thinking they’ll magically improve your photography. But if you want to buy a preset pack, or if you’re looking for new looks and new styles, buy the best preset packages there are on the market. Rebecca Lily’s Pro Set VI appear to be her best work yet, and are likely to act as a gateway drug to the rest of Rebecca’s Pro Set packages.