They say that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year but I would dare to argue that there is nothing quite like the first few weeks of spring. The sounds, smells and colours assault our senses, reminding us that beauty and new life always return, even when winter seems never-ending.
One of my favourite springtime hobbies is searching for wildflowers in the fields behind our neighbourhood and photographing them. Not only is it an enjoyable and relaxing exercise for me as a photographer, but it also helps the National Plant Monitoring Scheme, an organisation that monitors changes in plant populations across the UK.
A half a world away in sunny Florida, there lives another photographer who enjoys shooting plant life and nature as much as I do. Tammy Lee Bradley has been an inspiration for us since we first began MirrorLessons, as she always manages to beautify even the simplest objects through her use of impeccable composition and light. Not only is she a great photographer but she is also a talented artist who works with a variety of mediums including pencil, watercolour and oil.
Recently she developed a set of 98 black and white and colour presets for Lightroom, which she kindly send us to try. These presets are based on the post-processing techniques she uses for her personal images, and are heavily influenced by her knowledge of the fine arts.
In the collection, you’ll find a medley of styles, from the overpowering to the extremely subtle. Not every preset will suit every image but by experimenting, it is quite easy to find one that matches the image you are trying to post-process. The image below for example would look good with any of the following four presets, as well as many others.
I thought I would end up steering clear of the presets that dramatically change an image’s original colours but I have actually found myself using them for certain photographs such as the one below. These presets are effective if there isn’t too vast an array of colours in the original image.
That said, I usually prefer subdued to punchy for my nature images, even when I post-process without the help of presets. Some of my favourite subtle styles from the TLB set include Amazing Preset, Colour II and Colour XI to name a few.
The images you see here were taken with two different cameras, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 with the 60cmm macro and the Fujifilm X-T1 with the Zeiss Touit 32mm. The presets worked well with both kinds of Raw files.
Presets are an excellent starting point if you are unsure how to start post-processing your images but would like to give them a special “look”. They work to unify a series of images and help you to develop your own personal style by spring-boarding off the groundwork of someone with more experience.
If you are interested in trying out Tammy’s Lightroom presets, you can order them here for $24.99.