Ok, we get it, in an era when photographic success is simply a measure of the number of Instagram followers you have, it's no wonder that people want to buy a cookie-cutter formula that they think will encourage more ‘likes’ and engagement. But regardless, we’ve never purchased or used a single one, and we never plan to either. Here’s why:
We want to keep learning
We don’t claim to be the best photographers, and like so many photographers we are constantly trying to improve our photography. In our view though, taking a photograph and applying someone elses preset to improve the image is not improving your actual photography. A one click preset won’t show you how to ‘fix’ the image, but undertaking adjustments manually in Lightroom yourself will help you understand where you went wrong and how to make improvements in-camera when your next out shooting. A bad photograph cannot be fixed with a good preset.
We don’t want to be another photographers clone
Presets are based on someone else’s creativity, style and equipment, not yours. While looking at other photographers’ images is a great way to learn and develop your own photographic style, using their presets is likely to limit your own creativity.
It’s never just black and white
While presets may be a welcome time-saver for portrait and wedding photographers, when it comes to underwater and landscape photography, one size doesn’t fit all. Mountain and underwater landscapes are uniquely dynamic, shifting and continually wavering with the weather and of course the light. Because of this, each image we create is totally unique, and therefore in our view fitting of its own individual post-processing.
Whether you decide to purchase and use other photographers presets will depend on what you’re trying to achieve; but for us, photography is a uniquely creative process of which manual editing is an important part.
We’d love to hear your thoughts.