Portrait Photography Workflow Review | Sleeklens "Strike a Pose" for Lightroom

Welp, I'm a bit behind in my editing and blogging since I took a 10-day road trip across the midwest and central plains and just got back last week, but I have a bit of a different blog for you!

I was contacted last month by a representative from Sleeklens-- a company that provides Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom "workflows", which are essentially sets of actions (for Photoshop) or presets (for Lightroom) to help edit your photos more quickly and effectively-- the difference between Sleeklens' workflows and conventional presets is that their presets come as a step-by-step, buildable/stackable set. I have been using actions and presets in my photo editing for a few years, and usually any that I have downloaded from a third party I edit drastically and re-save as a user preset so that they work better for my editing style. 

I was intrigued by the Sleeklens "workflow" method of editing with Lightroom presets, so I agreed to review their "Strike a Pose" Lightroom workflow presets for portrait photos. *They did not pay me to do this, nor did they suggest I write a positive review, rather they were interested in an honest review in exchange for letting me use their workflow for free*. 

 Straight out of camera

Straight out of camera

 Edited with one of the Strike a Pose workflow recipe lists

Edited with one of the Strike a Pose workflow recipe lists

I putzed around with the various presets from the set on some recent portraits for a while before buckling down to actually try their "workflow", or, preset stacking techniques. With the download of the Strike a Pose workflow they included a "recipe list" of suggested workflows. On the image above, I used their suggested presets for base and tone/tint, plus a variety of adjustment brushes. The end result is not how I would have edited the photo on my own, but it doesn't take a long time to use the workflow and the brushes certainly cut editing time down when doing a lot of correcting. 

 Here's a screenshot of the portrait test edited with the Strike a Pose workflow in Lightroom. 

Here's a screenshot of the portrait test edited with the Strike a Pose workflow in Lightroom. 

You can see in the screen shot above the Strike a Pose presets on the left side panel-- they include All-in-One presets (which are most like conventional Lightroom presets), as well as Steps 0-6 (0- All in One, 1- Base, 2- Exposure, 3- Color Correct, 4- Tone/Tint, 5- Polish, 6- Vignette). The workflow pack also includes a set of Strike a Pose Adjustment brushes.

 The Strike a Pose Adjustment brushes are accessed by clicking your Adjustment brush, then toggling the Effect dropdown menu.

The Strike a Pose Adjustment brushes are accessed by clicking your Adjustment brush, then toggling the Effect dropdown menu.

I was pleasantly surprised by the Sleeklens Adjustment brushes-- it really made local editing easy to do all in Lightroom. My preference has been to edit my images in Lightroom then pull them into Photoshop for tweaks and finishing touches, but with all these adjustments just a click away I don't really need to do that. 

 Straight out of camera

Straight out of camera

 Edited with Strike a Pose

Edited with Strike a Pose

 Straight out of camera

Straight out of camera

 Edited with Strike a Pose All in One preset 'Sparkle Sparkle', Color Correct, and Vignette, followed by tone curve adjustments and Strike a Pose brushes

Edited with Strike a Pose All in One preset 'Sparkle Sparkle', Color Correct, and Vignette, followed by tone curve adjustments and Strike a Pose brushes

After eyeballing the other Sleeklens recipe list suggestions and deciding the edits and color grading were way too drastic for my portraits, I watched their suggested editing YouTube videos and edited some other portrait situations. 

 Straight out of camera + crop

Straight out of camera + crop

 Edited with Strike a Pose presets and brushes, followed by my tweaking the tone curve for less dense shadows

Edited with Strike a Pose presets and brushes, followed by my tweaking the tone curve for less dense shadows

 Straight out of camera + crop

Straight out of camera + crop

 After editing with Strike a Pose presets and brushes

After editing with Strike a Pose presets and brushes

The above couple sets of photos are the closest to my "regular" editing style using the Sleeklens workflows.

 Edited with my own portrait presets and the Strike a Pose brushes

Edited with my own portrait presets and the Strike a Pose brushes

Conclusion:

The Strike a Pose workflow from Sleeklens is hit or miss-- it really depends on the photo and how you prefer to edit. Most of the All in One presets and steps are too dramatic for me on their own, but all presets are meant to be tweaked with, which is time consuming if all you want is a one click edit solution. The biggest hit from this workflow I found was the adjustment brushes-- those alone are worth getting the workflow.

You can buy the Strike a Pose workflow here: https://sleeklens.com/product/strike-a-pose-portrait-workflow/
Their Lightroom sets: https://sleeklens.com/product-category/lightroom-presets/ and https://www.pinterest.com/sleeklens/lightroom-presets/

Sleeklens also offers a photo editing service: https://sleeklens.com/product/professional-photo-editing-service/ 

Thanks for reading!