Sleeklens Landscape Adventures Collection
If you haven't heard of Sleeklens before, you aren't alone. It is, however, a situation that should be remedied. One visit to their website reveals that they've been working hard to develop tons of products for facilitating and enhancing your workflow.
Sleeklens recently reached out to me to ask if I would be willing to review their Landscape Adventure Collection- a series of 56 Photoshop actions that work together to beautify landscape photos. The actions are varied, and do everything from simple brightness/contrast/saturation boosts to vintage looks to cross-processing.
There are "all-in-one" actions, which are made to be one-click fixes (though they wisely leave each change on its own layer, so you can move in and tweak the finishes to your heart's content. This sort of work is simple for someone with a bit of Photoshop know-how, but it may be confusing for someone starting out in the Photoshop world. If this is you, I'd recommend looking into the Lightroom presets instead. Those seem equally powerful and a little more user-friendly (though they also have some tutorials!).
Professionals will appreciate the customizability, while also knowing the benefit of a workflow that reduces the time spent in front of a computer screen. But that's enough of me talking for now. I'm sure you want to see what they do.
Before and afters (from original RAW to completed jpg) can be clicked through below, and each image will have a description of what happened in the photo below it and commentary on the results).
Photo of Seville: BASE: Dramatic Contrast, EXPOSURE: Brighter
I really like this edit. My professional editing style tends toward dustier, warmer tones, but my personal photos work to enhance my camera's images to look more like what I saw. This combination of actions did just that- showing the bright colors of the Spanish city under the contrast of a midday Mediterranean sun.
Sunset over Sierra Nevada mountains: ENHANCE: Details, BASE: Morning Light, TONE: Sunset Colors
These actions are powerful. This one pulled the details right out of the underexposed shadows without sacrificing the highlights. One thing I will note is that the actions featuring the word "sunset" tend toward red tones, rather than orange or yellow. This is something you can fix manually, and something you may not want to fix at all, but gold is more my style than red.
Sunset over Sierra Nevada Mountains II: BASE: Autumn Colors, EXPOSURE: Brighten
This is an interesting sunset photo because it isn't backlit like most. But, because of the elevation changes in the mountains, it still features dark shadows and high contrast. I opted not to use a "sunset" action for this one, since the image has enough red in it to begin with (see above). Autumn colors added better warm, gold tones and brighten drew the details out of the shadows.
Red Cow: "A good place to start with landscape photos," TONE: Warm Highlights
I set up two steps of this edit to show how well the basic "good place to start" action pulls up brightness, contrast, and saturation. Basically, it turns your dampened RAW image into an eye-catching image more like a jpg. From there, you can see the ruddy colors added to the highlights (an attempt at warming to gold, ha). Overall, I'm pretty happy with this edit without too much work.
Bay of Biscay Church: BASE: Retro, TONE: Dark and Stormy
For this overcast, backlit image, I wanted to show off a few of the looks that aren't really to my taste, but which might fall solidly into someone else's style range. Retro added warmth and perhaps a little grain, as well as adding a more film-like contrast. I wasn't happy with the amount of brightness in the sky, so dark and stormy pushed the contrast a little more and somehow managed to make the highlights better, though it wasn't part of the action. It also pulled some of the warmth back out, which was nice because it was perhaps a little orange-y. I'm happy with the stylized result.
Grand Tetons: ALLINONE Punchy Black and White
I couldn't get through this review without showing black and white. Their basic black and white is pretty similar, just with less contrast. They play very well into the modern interpretations of black and white, but I don't know how Ansel Adams would feel about them.
Garden of the Gods: series
1. ALLINONE: Vivid Pastel Painting
2. BASE: Extended Dynamic Range, TEMPERATURE: Warmer
3. #2 plus: TONE: Color Pop, TONE: Red and Blue
4. #2 plus: TONE: Blue and Yellow
This series shows off a couple more artistic/cinematic looks that, once again, aren't my everyday, but could be someone's. The pastel painting softens things up and brightens colors- much like a Holga filter. The extended dynamic range plus warmth is actually a lot more my speed, and I threw that in to show how well these actions can push shadows and pull highlights. The last two toned images could, when reduced, give the Art of Visuals look if you're going for that.
Overall, this is a set of powerful tools that offer up a wide variety of editing options that save time and ensure efficiency. With a little know-how, the actions can be molded to do almost anything you'd like, and the extras that you won't use as often are still fun for special occasions. Regardless of which you choose, your images will almost certainly be improved in contrast and brightness (just go back through and click between my examples- in none of them is the original more desirable). Plus, as of June 6, the Landscape Adventure Pack is on sale, so there is much lower risk to giving it a go. To see a bit more about them, click any of the links in my first paragraph, or find them on Pinterest!