Happy 2020

To you, and to me.
May the light be good and kind to you!

I am typing this post with a smile on my face. Today I managed to hack my software and make it work for me. Let me explain. I have a new phtography tool that -sigh- could not be simply plugged and played.

It took me 2 days to figure out in/compatibility issues and solutions. Photo hardware and software is quite expensive, new equipment often requires spending additional money on a new cable, adapter, other accessories or even a program upgrade. I really wish electronic stuff be more sustainable and compatible. Of course it can be, but we all know manufacturers are strategically forcing people into new and costly as much as possible. For instance iPads and smartphones, such a ridiculous short lifetime and support. Apps that only supported for 1 max 2 years. The waste and frustration. The same applies to photography. Oh my, the brands hardware incompatibility is a pest. Photography software, the brand and platform dependency as well as the current subscription schemes are no joy either. Perpetual licenses are no longer available and/or supported. Monthly fees are the norm and all photographers simply need to comply. I understand the love and need to innovate photography tools but hate the trend to waste and dump.

But victory today, for me. I managed with a hack. My small but significant work-around is about connecting a new cable, changing software code and re-using an ‘old’ Tethered Capture program. Although the hack does not allow me to import the new camera raw file, I am able to shoot an extra jpg and see that file appear on my monitor. And that suffices! The jpg is for analysing light and composition during shoots only. All for the customer of course, so cheers to a happy you (and me ;+)).

Software review : Sleeklens actions

Update : 2018. I stopped using this software. My style is doing retouch   manually and using my own built photoshop actions (aligned with my own workflow and very subtle on details).

Recently Sleeklens contacted me and kindly offered me the opportunity to work with their software. Sleeklens sells Lightroom and Photoshop workflows to photographers that want to cut down photo editing time. As their Photoshop actions are ‘not only custom-built but also of high quality for guaranteed efficiency’, Sleeklens got my interest.

Up until now I had around 20 Photoshop actions that I use for portraiture. Half of them I recorded myself. So far my actions were not about adjusting colors and tones (like applying a Filter effect), they were about ‘automated’ repetitive and lenghty workflow steps. For coloring and toning I sometimes used the NIK collection. Because I give full attention to all my selective images and never ‘batch automate’ the editing, I was doubtful if I could benefit and realise efficiency gains with the new Photoshop action bundle.

Portrait Perfection Collection
‘The Sleeklens bundle contains 56 Photoshop portrait brushes and actions that will help you adjust tones, colors and improve the overall appearance of your images turning them into amazing masterpieces. Apply soft, velvety looks and feels to your portraits, while giving them a professional finish’.

Although I had doubts, I did find some gem Portrait Retouch actions, that are in line with my style and vision. I started working with them and find that they speed up my fine retouching editing. So far I am very happy with :

  • Portrait Retouch
  • Enhance Tones
  • Candy Store

Up until now I have been quite a minimalist with filter effects. Also I have not done any serious ‘digital recipe cooking’. But I am keen to explore and learn. So, mange tak Sleeklens for the opportunity to explore and build upon your portrait recipe collection. Maybe I can come up with my own flavoured recipe lists. (However I doubt that my digital recipes will ever outnumber my slow cooking and oven recipes…). 

I am convinced that many portrait photographers can benefit from the Sleeklens software and find for instance good use in ‘Temperature’, ‘Color correction’ and ‘Light Glow’ actions. Creative and seasoned Photoshop/Lightroom and Filter users will undoubtedly be efficient and great in mixing actions and make many interesting own ‘recipes’ and tasteful portraits. Hence I can recommend my/their

‘Portrait Perfection Bundle’

Check out the Sleeklens website and this video for more information and examples :

https://sleeklens.com/product/professional-photo-editing-service/ and https://sleeklens.com/product-category/photoshop-actions/.