Photography Presets

If you speak with any seasoned photographer, they will tell you there is undoubtedly 2 sides to all photography.

  • 1st – Production – Taking photos of your subject
  • 2nd – Post-Production – Editing your photos

Each can be fun, but each can be very difficult to master especially if you don’t know where to start. This article on working with models on TFP shoots is a great way to find subjects for free and start working with teams of creative people. With that said, what about editing?

Editing programs

When I first started photography I was lucky that I had a foundation of learning with Adobe Photoshop. I’ve been using it for my professional design career, but never for photo editing. I never knew the potential Photoshop provided when editing photos until I dived into photography.

There are two photo editing programs that are available from Adobe. Photoshop and Lightroom. Each provides unique capabilities that I may explain in another post, but right now let’s concentrate on the presets. Also, there are many other editing programs available for MAC and Windows machines, but again, I want to concentrate on the presets for this article.

So, what are Photography Presets?

When you edit a photo in Lightroom or Adobe ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) you are using sliders to edit your photos and adjust different settings. These sliders cover everything from color temperature, exposure, hue saturation and more. The great thing is, when you start editing and developing your own style, you can save your settings into photography presets.

Photography presets are files from Lightroom or Adobe ACR that are used to recall specific editing preferences and settings for your photos. These settings can be applied to single or multiple photos to help maintain consistency in your post-production work.

Why you should use presets

  • Consistency – To reiterate, one of the best things about using photography presets is creating consistency in your work. Check out Instagram and look up some of your favorite photographers. There is a really good chance they use custom saved presets in order to help speed up their workflow and create consistency in their work. The photos have a unique style and this is part of the brand they created.
  • Speed – You can easily upload 100 images and apply the same preset to every photo and you
  • Style – create your own style or mimic other people’s styles with presets. Film presets are very popular these days along with HDR and more.

Should you buy other people’s presets

There is no reason you can’t use photography presets from other photographers. Selling presets is a big business and can help you create a style of your own. Just make sure to use these purchased presets as a foundation. You’ll want to make some tweaks to the preset settings after you have applied to your photo so you can create your own style.

You can also use these purchased presets to learn how photographers edit photos in post-production. Apply a custom preset to your photo and see review the settings. See how the photographer has played with tones and colors in the photos.

Create your own presets

Once you become comfortable with your style, you might find there will be others that would love to mimic your style. Creating your own presets is a way to monetize your photography skills and generate another form of income. You can find tutorials online for creating your own presets.

Learning as you grow

You will come across thousands of photography presets on your photography journey. Don’t let them become a distraction and allow yourself some flexibility as you grow as a photography. Best wishes, and happy shooting!

Some of my favorite Photography Presets

Some of my favorite presets are more film style. They are made to mimic old film camera emulsions. This particular style is not for everyone, but it is one of my favorites since I started photography.  Here are a list of some of my favorite film photography presets.

Check them out when you have a chance. There are some great examples on the websites.

Checking out new Gear

If your interested in starting your own photography journey, I recommend checking out some of these great resources and gear!

Great Sony Full-Frame Cameras for Portrait Photography:

My Sony A7riii Mirrorless Camera – High resolution Sony Mirrorless Camera
The Sony A7rii – High resolution Sony Mirrorless Camera (2nd Generation)
Sony a7iii Mirrorless Camera
– 3rd Generation Sony Mirrorless Camera
Sony a7ii Mirrorless Camera w/IBIS – 2nd Generation Sony Mirrorless Camera
The Sony A7 Mirrorless Camera – Great full-frame starter camera for beginners

Sony Full-Frame Lenses for Portraits: (e-mount)

Sony 85mm f1.4 G-Master – Best 85mm portrait lens
Batis 85mm f1.8 – Lightweight 85mm portrait lens
Sony 85mm f1.8 – Smallest 85mm portrait lens
Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8 – Small, sharp, lightweight portrait lens (my favorite lens)
The Sony 50mm f1.8 – Cheap starter nifty fifty
The Sony Zeiss 35mm f1.4 – Great wide option for portraits and lifestyle images
Sony 24-70 G-Master f2.8 – Sharp and versatile zoom lens
Sony 24-105 G Lens f4.0 – One of the best zooms for Sony
Wide Angle 16-35mm F2.8 – G-Master wide angle lens
The Sony 70-200 G-Master Lens f2.8 – Long range telephoto zoom

Great Sony Starter Cameras for Portraits: (crop-sensor)

Sony a6400 Mirrorless Camera – Amazing eye auto-focus detection
Sony a6300 Mirrorless Camera – Sony mirrorless camera (2nd generation)
The Sony a6000 Mirrorless Camera – Great affordable interchangeable lens camera
Sony a6500 Mirrorless Camera w/IBIS – Amazing photography and video camera

Affordable Crop Sensor Lenses for Portraits: (e-mount)

Sigma 30mm f1.4 – Great for blurry backgrounds
Sony 50mm f1.8 OSS – Made for crop sensors and shallow depth of field
Sigma 16mm f1.4 – Amazing lens for Vloggers and video
Sony 35mm f1.8 – Super walk around lens for travel

Recommended Accessories:

Godox Ving V860IIS Camera Flash – Speedlight Paired w/ X1T-S Wireless Trigger
Meike Grip Sony a7 – Camera extension grip
Meike Grip Sony a7ii – Camera extension grip

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