You may be wondering what are presets, and how can they benefit you as a photographer? The easy answer is that presets are the bread and butter to the workflows of most photographers.
Here, we'll cover just what presets—sometimes called photo filters—are and how they can benefit you.
If you are not making use of these fantastic tools, your life and workflow are about to make a drastic change for the better!
The ability to quickly edit an entire series of images is the single greatest time-saver while editing. By Chris Daniels, edited with Mastin Labs Portra 160 preset
Presets are a group of photo-editing settings designed to transform your digital images into a beautiful, finished product at the click of a few buttons.
They come in many forms, such as phone applications and computer software, and are known by many other names, such as styles, photoshop plugins, and photo filters.
The benefits of presets are many. At the top of that list is the ability to drastically increase the speed of your workflow while still delivering quality images.
How Presets Differ From One Another
The range of presets available to photographers is pretty mind boggling. A word of caution, though: not all presets are created equal.
Preset differences can be grouped into two broad categories: style and quality.
Both have a great effect on the final product.
Style is easy to see and is ultimately subjective to the photographer's own personal taste.
There are many presets on the market that cater to those looking for a worn, vintage look, while others may lean toward a clean, archival feel. There are presets for bright and airy, dark and moody, and almost anything else you can imagine.
Mastin Labs, for instance, only focuses on building presets that do one thing very, very well: emulate actual films.
Which brings us to the next category...
In a preset, quality is not always immediately apparent, but it is what makes the most significant difference between presets that are worth your time and money and those that are not.
This quality can be measured by how well the preset works with varying styles of properly taken images. In other words, if the photo is captured and exposed well, then the preset should work on it.
Mastin Labs Presets are painstakingly designed to ensure that they not only emulate real film but that they also do so with many styles of photography.
It becomes clear when those efforts are not put forth in a preset because they may look good on one photo, but then they make the next look like rubbish.
The Benefits of Using Presets:
Presets save you time.
Using quality presets offers you, the photographer, the ability to edit large quantities of images in a fraction of the time that it would take to edit the same images without them. A wedding consisting of 5,000 images that might take you days of staring at a computer screen that can be cut down to just a few hours using presets, and a good workflow. Spending less time on editing while still being confident in the results means you have more time for other things, like living your life.
Presets make your work consistent.
This is a big deal for several reasons. First and foremost, if you deliver a batch of images to your client and the editing is all over the place, not only is this confusing for them, but it also makes you look unprofessional. Consistency matters. Presets help you maintain that consistency not only on one shoot but across your entire body of work, which brings us to the next point:
Presets help you develop your style.
Finding your own personal style and voice is a journey that every artist and photographer takes. Finding presets that really speak to you, combined with your own personal touch in how you create photographs, is something that will cause others to recognize your work just by seeing it. Presets won't take you all the way there, but they will be a big leap in finding your own voice.
Selection of multiple images to apply the same preset to many photos at one time. By Chris Daniels.
THE TAKEAWAY FROM PRESETS:
- Presets are for editing images.
- Their benefits are that they can add style and consistency to your images and significantly positively impact your workflow.
- Not all presets are created equal. Good ones will pay for themselves with the time that you save!
Which Mastin Labs Presets are right for me?
DESKTOP PRESETS FOR LIGHTROOM & STYLES FOR CAPTURE ONE
The Mastin Labs preset lineup has various looks and feels, but if versatility is what you want, then I'd recommend either the Fuji Original or the Portra Original—our flagship preset packs. Both offer multiple presets within each pack and are clean and versatile. The Fuji Original is more for the person who wants the bright and airy feel, while the Portra Original offers its own softness, but it can also be very moody.
If you want to be prepared for any scenario, and throw in a ton of fresh style, the following is where I would start using Mastin Labs presets:
- Fuji Original: It's clean, bright, and reliable. It provides that classic look that Fujifilm is known for and works super well in almost any scenario. From weddings to editorials, products, and documentaries, Fuji OG is a workhorse that never skimps on style!
- Adventure Everyday: I love, love, love this preset pack. Love it! This pack screams nostalgia and makes all of the good feels happen. It may not be quite as versatile as some of the other packs, but where it does shine makes it worth having a thousand times over!
- Artisan B&W (formerly Ilford Original): The honesty that can be found in a black and white image is truly something difficult to overstate or replicate. It's much, much more than merely a lack of color. A genuinely striking grayscale photograph is about the tone. Few master tonality as well as the Ilford line of films. Mastin Labs has so beautifully replicated that with this pack.
We want to see how you're using presets! You can leave a comment below or join us on the very active Mastin Labs Facebook Community. See you there!