I was approached by the Sleeklens Group to see if I had any interest in trying out some of their lightroom workflow presets in exchange for an honest review of their product. I have to admit I'm a bit of a LR preset junkie and a Ps Action junkie, buying many and using few. I feel like I've over-dosed on presets, too many to choose from, not taking enough time to go through each preset to see what it would do, and I've been finding the brushes to be generic. But I thought, why not? What do I have to loose?
They sent me the Strike A Pose Workflow Presets and Brushes.
It contained 62 Brushes and 69 presets at a retail price of $39
After some time of working in light room with presets and brushes over the years, getting a better understanding of how they work, I felt I could make presets and brushes myself.
After digging into the Sleeklens workflow presets and brushes, I realized I had some more learning to do. It actually opened a whole new door to my editing process. The brushes give you a great starting point, but at the same time are customizable to further the finished look. Actually, the brushes are always editable, no matter whose brush set you are using. Sleeklens makes it point in their tutorials to mention the brushes are editable, and that you can save your edits as your own brush. Good to know for those that are new to LR brushes.
The presets are sectioned in groups and they are stackable. Meaning you can use a preset in group 1 choose another from group two and a third from group four. It's not magic, you need to use common sense when using any preset, but the tools are there at your disposal to help achieve the look you want.
The brushes too, have been thoroughly well thought out and organized.
So many times I just wanted to cleanup skin and eyes with out jumping to PS. The Sleekins brushset has that covered.
I still find myself learning more about the Strike a Pose Workflow, I'm not an expert by any means. I still find myself making initial adjustments, and then playing with the presets and brushes to see what works and what doesn't work. As mentioned above, it's not a magic one touch, and each image will produce different results. (Assuming it's not the same lighting conditions, etc)
Sleeklens also has a FB presence as well as the usual email subscription. I haven't used the customer service, but judging by the emails I suspect the customer service is genuine and the folks there really want to help the customers improve.
Another added bonus is the recipe concept. It's a basic outline of presets and brushes used for a particular sample image. the recipes include slider adjustment numbers where applicable. The downside on the recipes is there can be confusion where the brushes are used on the sample recipe image. The eyes would be self explanatory, but the doge and burn brushes, on the other hand, would need some explanation of where exactly they were used on the image with out some explanation or at least a video tutorial.
The images below are the before and after images using the workflow presets and brushes in LR, with some minor exposure adjustments at the beginning. There is no PS involved. I'm still working through getting used to the effect each preset has on an image, and the added effect of stacking the images. The brushes are more intuitive for me. I would estimate the time to edit this look would be roughly two minutes. Keep in mind, one would need to have a vision of the finished product, and once I know how these presets will interact with each other I'll be able to speed up my workflow.