Post processing techniques and ressources for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, Google Nik Collection… and more to come! Processing fans, this one is for you!

Nik Collection Silver Efex Pro 2 presets – Streets Contrast

It’s been a while I haven’t posted presets for Silver Efex Pro! Now that the whole Nik Collection is free, it more than ever the moment to look at this formidable suite of photography applications. Silver Efex Pro remains my main tool for advanced Black & White edition. I’ve developed during the last few days a new set of 4 presets I’ll share with you today, for free of course! Those presets are dedicated to obtaining a contrast feel for your street photography. Those 4 presets are:

  • Street Contrast: standard additional contrast.
  • Street Contrast Washed: darker tones are washed, but the blacks keep there deep tone.
  • Street Contrast Grainy: gives the look of a famous black and white film, known for being quite grainy.
  • Street Contrast Red: often, I find myself pushing the reds to be way darker that the other colors when I switch to black and white. This is what this preset does.

As usual with Nik’s presets, do your basic adjustments in Lightroom or your favourite RAW editor, then launch the Silver Efex Pro 2 plugin and apply the preset you prefer. You can also edit those presets to your tastes 🙂

Just click a bit down to download these 4 free Nik Collection Silver Efex Pro 2 presets, and have fun! By downloading these presets you will also register to my newsletter.

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Nik Collection Silver Efex Pro 2 presets - Streets Contrast 1.88 MB 77 downloads

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Nik Collection Analog Efex Pro 2 presets – Streets in colors

Nik Collection is still my favourite plugin for Adobe Lightroom, and now that it’s free, it’s getting even better!

Even if I’m a black & white addict, when it’s about Street Photography and colors, my go-to tool is definitely Analog Efex Pro 2. It’s less over-the-top than Color Efex, and offers much more flexibility than VSCO’s plugins, allowing you to create all kind of effects from standard film simulation to wet plates or double exposures, always with that film-esque touch. Those 5 free presets for Analog Efex Pro 2 cover some of my favourite moods for color street photography:

  • Street 1: faded with a focus on the warmer colors, gives an old film feeling
  • Street 2: adds a bit of contrast and of vibrance, goes well on almost every situation
  • Street 3: a very vibrant look, Steve McCurry style… somehow 🙂
  • Street 4: unsaturated, faded look, a pretty sad feeling
  • Street 5: brings the details back

As usual with Nik’s presets, do your basic adjustments in Lightroom or your favourite RAW editor, then launch the Analog Efex Pro 2 plugin and apply the preset you prefer. You can also edit those presets to your tastes 🙂

Just click a bit down to download these 5 free Nik Collection Analog Efex Pro 2 presets, and have fun!

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Nik Collection Analog Efex Pro 2 - Streets in colors presets 3.08 KB 398 downloads

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Lightroom’s Smart Previews, your new best friend

What are Lightroom’s Smart Reviews

Adobe’s Lightroom is a fantastic piece of software. It may not be the best photo editor (Capture One for example is still the reference IMHO), it may not be the best to organise your photos (Photo Mechanic is pretty awesome too), but it does all of that very well, and furthermore it offers so many features that makes the photographer’s life easier.

The last example I have is Smart Previews. I must say I’ve discarded them as soon as they appeared. Imports are already long enough, between copying the photos to the hard drive, generating the previews… Who cares about another kind of preview? They are actually smaller DNG files created after the original RAW files and that keeps all their flexibility, except with a lower resolution and therefore a lesser MB footprint. Their usage became clearer to me when I started using Lightroom Mobile: it synchronizes Smart Preview over Adobe’s Creative Cloud in order for the Mobile App to work with. It’s become quite useful, but my older and slow iPad and my small iPhone are not the best tools for retouching. And Lightroom Mobile doesn’t offer (yet) all of Lightroom’s features such as the local adjustments. So, that was it. Until 2 weeks ago.

Let’s be Smart

Because I’m a lazy kind of guy, I still have a bunch of travel photos from last year’s trip to Japan that I still have to touch. Being on a business trip for a few days, including a LOT of time in the place, let’s use this time for clearing a few hundreds of remaining photos. But I need unrestricted access to all of Lightroom’s features of course, so no Lightroom Mobile work. And I don’t have enough space on my laptop’s hard drive, so no way I’ll copy GBs of photos on it, or use a slow like hell external drive. That’s when I remembered those little Smart Previews, and how they can help me having access to all my Japan photos without too much precious space used, and fast access too. Let’s give it a try!

So for sharing photos between 2 computers you need:

  • 2 computers:
    • The “source computer”, that holds your main Catalogue
    • The “target computer”, that you’ll use to work remotely on your photos
  • Lightroom installed on each computer, preferably the very same version, at least the same major version (e.g. Lightroom 6.x)
  • An external drive, or a shared drive on your network
  • A bit of time 🙂

Going remote

Here is the thing:

1. Save the photos’ metadata to a sidecar file on the source computer.You may have already a standard preset when importing photos into Lightroom, as I do. You also may have some already retouched photos that I could use as a reference. So you want to keep all the changes that have been done until now. The best way is to save all the development metadata to XMP sidecar files. Those are XML files that contain all the changes you do on your photos in Lightroom. The only constraint is that it doesn’t work with virtual copies, so be careful. Ideally the photos and the sidecar files should be on an external drive, or at least a shared drive that is reachable by the target computer. So select all the photos you want to work on in the Library module, then right-click on them and select Metadata > Save Metadata to File.

Lightroom Smart Previews - Save Metadata to File

Lightroom Smart Previews – Save Metadata to File

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Nik Collection Silver Efex Pro presets – Black & White

For today’s Processing Tuesday we leave a bit Adobe Lightroom for another great tool, Google’s Nik Collection‘s Silver Efex Pro 2.

Silver Efex Pro 2 is my “go to” plugin for awesome black and white photography. Lightroom’s black and white module is quite useful, but is far from being as powerful as Silver Efex Pro. You have much more control on the contrast and the structure (+/- clarity on Lightroom), that can be global or separated for highlights, mid tones and shadows. And those Control Points… I think I’ll have to make a few articles about it 🙂

Today’s free presets, or recipes as they’re called in Nik, are my 2 favourites for Silver Efex Pro. They are pretty bright presets, that I use for street photography mainly. Let’s see how they do on this photo of an old Trabant’s “portrait”, in a very good shape, and with little hearts on the eyes:

So we have:

  • High structure: structure/clarity oriented preset, perfect for highly detailed photos.
  • High key: a highlight oriented preset, much softer than the High Structure one. Goes well for portraits.

Just click a bit down to download these 2 free Nik Collection Silver Efex Pro 2 presets, and have fun!

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Google Nik Collection Silver Efex Pro 2 - Black & White presets 2.10 KB 710 downloads

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See you next Tuesday for more processing resources!

Lightroom presets – Vignette

This Processing Tuesday is a follow-up of another article from a few weeks ago when I was talking about “the subtle art of the subtle vignette“, and how an almost imperceptible vignette may give another dimension to your photography. Now comes the time for a few free Adobe Lightroom presets!

Our volunteer of the day is a young man riding his bike in the streets of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The 6 presets are the ones I use on a daily basis, they are a great basis to start with, setting up the baseline of the effect I want to produce. Then, I only do a bit of tweaking if needed, but those are already pre-tweaked so it’s usually not even needed 🙂

So, here are the 6 Lightroom presets:

  • Vignette 5: a pretty standard but very subtle vignette, with a gain of -5. By far my most used setting, I apply it by default on all my black & white photos (yes, I love a bit of vignette on B&W photos, it’s one of my OCDs).
  • Vignette 12: the same as the previous one with a gin of -12. My second more used one.
  • Vignette 25: a much stronger vignette on this one (gain of -25), but compensated with the highlights saving slider raised a bit, making this vignetting effect less aggressive.
  • Vignette 40: based on the previous preset, with a more aggressive gain setting (-40) but also a more aggressive highlights saving. I also like the fact it has a smoother transition by raising the feathering.
  • Vignette max: a very strong vignetting effect, that can draw the viewer’s attention to the max on the subject. However this type of strong, aggressive vignette is not for every kind of photography.
  • No vignette: not really a creative preset per se, much more a utility preset that will reset your vignette.

I hope you’ll like those vignette presets and find it as useful as I do. Click below to download your 6 free Adobe Lightroom presets… and have fun!

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Adobe Lightroom presets - Vignette 3.17 KB 275 downloads

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See you next Tuesday for more processing resources!