As a wedding photographer, capturing the essence of love and the most cherished moments of people’s lives is your ultimate goal. Every click of the shutter holds a story, a memory, and an emotion. But behind those stunning shots lies an art that extends beyond the camera itself. One tool that has become a staple in the photography world is presets. In this guide, we’ll delve into the world of photography presets, why photographers – including professionals – use them, and my journey through some remarkable presets that have shaped my style.
Presets, in the realm of photography, are pre-defined settings that allow you to apply a specific look or style to your images with just a single click. They’re like digital filters that instantly transform your photos by adjusting various aspects such as color grading, exposure, contrast, and more. In essence, they’re shortcuts to achieving your desired aesthetic, whether that’s a timeless film look, a vibrant and modern tone, or a moody and dramatic atmosphere.
Why Do Photographers Use Presets?
Even seasoned professionals turn to presets for several compelling reasons. Firstly, presets enable photographers to maintain a consistent style across their body of work. This consistency becomes a signature touch, making their portfolio instantly recognizable. Secondly, they save an incredible amount of time during the editing process. As a wedding photographer, time is often of the essence, and using presets can significantly speed up the post-production workflow. Lastly, presets act as a starting point for creativity. Photographers can tweak and adjust the settings to match the specific lighting and conditions of each shoot, resulting in a unique and personalized final image.
Lightroom Presets: A Photographer’s Best Friend
Adobe Lightroom has become the go-to software for photographers, and its preset functionality has revolutionized the way we edit. With a wide array of preset collections available, photographers have the freedom to experiment and discover the perfect look for their images.
My Preset Journey
1. Dawn Charles Presets
When I embarked on my photography journey, I began with Dawn Charles presets. These presets were a fantastic starting point, especially for capturing the soft, muted tones of the Pacific Northwest – think the misty landscapes of Washington and Oregon. They provided a gentle, dreamy quality to my images, perfectly matching the serene atmosphere of the region.
2. Beba Vowels X G Presets
As my skills evolved, I sought a warmer and more film-like aesthetic, which led me to Beba Vowels presets. These presets exude a timeless quality, ideal for encapsulating the warmth of weddings and love stories. While they worked wonderfully in tropical settings, I found that they added a charming nostalgia to images that might not have been suited to Oregon’s cooler palettes.
3. Phil Chester Presets
Enter Phil Chester presets – a versatile set that caters to both editorial and wedding photography. These presets offered a well-rounded look that aligned with my evolving style. From capturing candid moments to crafting editorial spreads, these presets provided the flexibility I needed to create a diverse portfolio while maintaining a cohesive visual identity.
4. The Archetype Process
For those yearning to emulate the timeless appeal of film photography, The Archetype Process presets and profiles are a revelation. Their ability to recreate the depth and texture of film was awe-inspiring. These presets transported my images to a different era, evoking a sense of nostalgia that resonated deeply with my clients.
5. Refined Co X KT Merry Presets
For that elevated fine art look reminiscent of the iconic Fuji400h film, I discovered the Refined Co X KT Merry presets. These presets elevated my work to an entirely new level, infusing a delicate yet powerful beauty into each frame. The pastel tones and ethereal quality they added were perfect for capturing the most intimate and emotional moments of a wedding.
6. Brady Bates Presets
Finally, in my continuous quest for the perfect blend of film and editorial aesthetics, I stumbled upon Brady Bates presets – a discovery that added a new layer of sophistication to my work. These presets stand out for their impeccable emulation of film, coupled with a refined editorial touch that aligns seamlessly with my personal style. The black and white presets are super elegant and classic looking and the colored presets are so creamy and soft.
Comparison: Brady Bates (left) vs KT Merry (right)
These two presets are definitely my favorites. I still use a mix of both depending on the situation. The biggest differences to me, are the contrast/shadows, greens, and skin tones. I personally gravitate a bit more to the Brady Bates presets due to the softer skin tones and contrast. However, sometimes that contrast helps a photo look more “punchy” and gives that elevated kind of look.
In the world of wedding photography, presets are not just a shortcut; they’re a powerful tool that allows us to turn our creative visions into reality. From soft and dreamy landscapes to warm and nostalgic love stories, presets offer a wide range of possibilities. Through my journey, I’ve learned that each preset collection tells a unique story, and it’s up to us as photographers to choose the right presets to weave our narrative.
So, to all the aspiring wedding photographers out there, remember that presets are not a substitute for skill and creativity; they’re enhancers that help you refine and amplify your unique style. Embrace them, experiment with them, and let them be the brushstrokes that add the final strokes to your masterpiece. Your journey through presets will be as personal as the images you capture, and it’s through this exploration that you’ll carve out your place in the world of wedding photography.
If you’d like to learn more about how I edit and use presets, consider booking a mentorship with me that way we can deep dive more and go over my whole process.