I was contacted recently by Sleeklens to try out their Strike A Pose Portrait Workflow. They offer a selection of Lightroom and Photoshop workflows for various types of photography from landscape to newborns. I've been using VSCO presets for years so it was exciting to try out something new. I actually don't spend a great deal of time editing, I prefer to spend the time in the studio or on location making sure the lighting and camera settings are as close to perfect as I can get. Most of the time I just end up creating my own preset for each photo shoot that I do, since every lighting situation varies and I find that each set of photos needs something different in terms of exposure and color. Then I'll just copy and paste and make minor adjustments for each photo. However, it's definitely always helpful to skip a few steps if you find a preset you like. :)
I've included a few samples below so you can get a feel for the kinds of presets the Portrait workflow includes. I found a few presets that I liked, but for the most part the All-in-One presets were a little too contrasty and extreme for me. I used Love Bug and Crisp Dawn the most. I did like the base and exposure presets, however, as they were more minimal changes such as color correct, greyscale and highlight/shadow adjustments.
(Edited image uses the Love Bug All-in-One filter, two skin softening brushes and a contrast and highlight adjustment)
(Edited image uses the Base Studio Headshot preset and the darken shadows preset, plus an increase in contrast and exposure and skin softening brushes)
My favorite part about the Sleeklens workflow were the brushes. I can tell I'm going to use these fairly often in the future. There are brushes for eye brightening, skin smoothing, adding shine to lips, whitening teeth and defining hair. I'm not one to spend hours adjusting one photo, but I think for a lot of photographers, these brushes would prove to be very useful (and help you avoid using Photoshop if you're a Lightroom fan like me). Honestly, for $39 you really can't go wrong. Personally, I'd avoid the All-in-One presets, but if you want a quick fix for highlights, shadows and skin adjustments then this workflow could be useful for you.
The presets and brushes were super easy to install too if you just watch the videos on the Sleeklens site.
I hope this review was helpful for you! Feel free to ask questions, leave comments about the before/after photos or tell me what you think about the Sleeklens Workflows if you use them. :)
(Another example of the All-in-One Love Bug preset)
(Edited image uses the All-in-One Sparkle Sparkle filter and increase in exposure and contrast)
(Edited image uses the Base Greyscale Matte preset and the Polish - High Contrast preset, along with the skin softening brush)
(Edited image uses the All-in-One Crisp Dawn preset with the Hair Shine brush)