Bundle settings for quick and beautiful transformations
The photographer's quick RAW conversion and use of a preset made this image shine.
Photo: Jessica Thew/One Willow
Digital cameras can produce images with incredibly accurate color and neutral white balance. While that can be a good thing, it is wise to consider a RAW file, shot with neutral tonality, as just a starting point. With RAW files, it is so easy to make good-quality color transformations that each image has tons of potential.
Photographer Jessica Thew was inspired by that potential and began using Adobe Lightroom to experiment with tone in her images. She saved her favorite settings as presets—groups of settings that you can quickly apply to your image in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw. When her blogged images began to attract attention, she started packaging and selling groups of presets through her company, One Willow (www.onewillowboutique.com). A number of other outfits sell presets, and most sets are fairly inexpensive (One Willow’s, for example, are $39 for a set that includes 20 presets and 17 postprocessing effects).
While not all presets are created equal, the best ones both improve your image and act as a teaching tool. After applying one, go through Lightroom’s adjustment panels and check out what the preset is doing; you’ll learn ways of manipulating images that you probably wouldn’t have thought of yourself. Here’s how to load and use a preset, and some tips on how to make them work for you. We used One Willow’s Retro Candy Collection, but the steps are the same for whatever preset you use.