The good people at Sleeklens have sent me one of their many available workflows named Through the Woods, which is targeted at landscape photographers and I agreed to use it and write a bit about pros, cons and my overall experience with it.
The package comes with a variety of presets and brushes that have to be imported into Lightroom. Import is straightforward and easy and should you need any help, there are plenty of tutorials available on Sleeklens on how to get them in Lightroom.
Lightroom is not very friendly when it comes to sequencing various actions. I guess this is the reasons why the presets come numbered, to give the user an idea of the steps to follow (0 for All in One Presets, 1 for Base Presets 2 for Exposure and so on).
Ideally Lightroom would allow us to group these presets in individual folders but... maybe in the future. So right now all Presets will be in a loooong list. A minor inconvenient.
So once I had these loaded I was curious to give them a try so I selected some old images from a photo trip to the fantastic Isle of Skye in Scotland.
I started with this image :
I selected the first "All In One" Preset called "Calm Sunset". You can see the changes made on the Right hand panel. Big increase in Vibrance, Whites & Shadows are brought up, Highlights cut down and Contrast & Clarity are reduced. Already a big improvement and not very far from the actual scene as I remember it.
Still I was not 100% happy with the image so keeping the All In One preset as a base I tried some more subtle presets available, in this case Exposure - Darker Shadows and a Medium Black Vignette and here is the result:
I also wanted to take advantage of the new Brushes that come with the workflow so I used Clarity & Contrast on the bottom part of the image and I used another brush to increase saturation on the sea.
Here is another example of a different image both in original RAW form and final result after being edited with the Through the Woods presets.
As any other tool, these presets take practice and in my view the people who will benefit the most from them are the ones who already know what style they're going for and they are looking for ways to cut down the editing time.
On the other hand, someone who is not familiar with Lightroom Develop module can have a lot of fun choosing presets and observing the effects. Just remember to Undo before you apply the next preset or they will be combined! Speaking of effects, I was surprised to see that none of the presets are using the Dehaze slider in Lightroom, which recently has become a very good tool in landscape photography due to its complex capacity of handling haze, contrast and luminosity. That is the only lack I see in the current package for landscape photography presets from Sleeklens.
Through the Woods workflow can be purchased for 39$ US from Sleeklens website.