Hi! I’ve been really busy lately: teaching at extra schools for a month while we waited for more staff to be hired, taking two courses online, organising three posts a week on the Sewcialists, AND sewing and blogging for myself! So while I’ve got plenty of summer sewing projects still waiting to be blogged, I wanted to show you a really simple project I made recently. The project is nothing special and the pictures are nothing special, so it seems like the perfect time to also play around with Lightroom Presets!
What are presets? They are basically Instagram filters made for Lightroom editing software. One click, and you get a photographic “look”! Sometimes subtle, but often a little heavy-handed for my taste… but they are a fun way to play around!
The idea behind presets is that you can edit pictures quickly with one click. Once you’ve applied the preset, you can also layer other presets (such as a vignette effect), or you can tweak the picture a bit more so it’s exactly to your tastes. For the pictures in this post, the far left version is as-shot (sometimes with some exposure adjustments to brighten things up), and the other three versions are presets.
In Lightroom, you can also create your own presets if you have consistent edits you like to make on all your photos. Using one preset consistently gives a uniform look across all your posts, and helps if you want a consistent visual brand.
Presets are also a great learning tool. If you’ve ever played around with the presets on Instagram or other social media filters, you’ll know that part of the fun is seeing how your picture changes! For example, the three black and white versions above are all subtly different, with more shading, contrast, or warmth. Once you apply a preset, you can look at the adjustment sliders to see how the effect was created, which gives you strategies for creating similar results in your own edits.
I got fascinated by presets this summer when Facebook started showing me endless family portrait sessions that a friend has “liked”. I got really fascinated by the very particular style that seems to be popular now, like this, this or this. (Everyone always seems to be frolicking in nature at golden hour!) It reminds me a lot of wedding photography, and my wedding pics have some of the same vibe, which I’m sure will look very 2010’s in a few more decades! I started studying the pictures to figure out how they were getting that specific look: high contrast, warmth cranked up, matte blacks, and whatever else is going on. I decided that as an academic exercise, I’d see if I could find the preset that would recreate that look!
For these photos, I’ve downloads two free sets of presets: “15 Must-Have Presets” from Cole’s Classroom, and “The Starter Pack” from SleekLens. I also used some of the built-in presets from Lightroom. I don’t really have any favourites – I’m not sure there are any I would use regularly, but I enjoyed the exercise anyway! If you are curious to learn more about Lightroom, I’ve blogged about it here and here.
I guess I should tell you about the dress? It is an ITY Groove dress, just like this one I made at the start of the summer. You were all right about that one – it’s not as short as I thought, and I have worn it lots! I’ve seen this print in several Fabriclands over the last couple of years, and finally just decided to buy it already! It was $5/m, and combines my love of cobalt with my love of leopard!
And the fun part: my first tattoo! I planned this out over the summer, and finally got it done a few weeks ago. My husband has a matching one on his forearm. It’s actually a Fantastic Four logo (his obsession), and depending which hexagons are black, it represents married superheroes Reed Richards and Sue Storm. He has the original logo with two all-black hexis, but I changed one of the black ones to have sashiko stitching instead. We met in Japan, I love sewing, and it reminds me of quilts and Jamie of his grandfather’s bees, so it’s really all things to all people!
I wanted a location that I could easily cover at work (especially if I decide to work my way up to principal), but currently I just wish it showed more! Come summer, I’m going to have to make some shorter shorts, skirts and dresses!
So… chat with me! Presets! Photo editing! Tattoos! Short skirts! Feeling way too busy! I’m pretty sure we all identify with at least one of those topics, right?