Stand Out by Mixing Up Your Style With ON1 Photo RAW Presets

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Stand Out by Mixing Up Your Style With ON1 Photo RAW Presets with Dustin Lucas

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We all want to stand out in some way from the competition to stay in the competition. Trying new editing styles and processes must be on your radar at this time of year. You should have already put up new work on your website by now. Go to your inspiration place (such as the magazine you’re holding). See what others are creating for a glimpse of what is considered a good image versus a masterpiece in the industry.

Of course, image competitions are one of the most resourceful ways to get feedback on your work. Enter your best images, sit in on critiques and learn something. I don’t know it all and neither do you. Don’t be afraid to be a student of photography. Because, let’s face it, you are getting in your own way. Even peers will be nice and say they love your work. Who cares as long as you make sales and your clients love you, right? That may be true, but what are you learning from them, and what can you do to step up your imagery?

Get Involved With ON1 Photo Project

Did you get inspired? Ready to start showcasing some styles? Perfect—let’s head to the ON1 website and see what they offer with their RAW 2017 software. Again, try out the software or just stop dragging your feet and buy the damn thing. It’s $100. On1 RAW is becoming my new best friend for creative post-production.

That’s why I am so excited about their customer support program called On1 Photo Project. (1) This is a forum-styled area on their website where you can share ideas and get your friends to rate it, and the ON1 develop team takes it into review. This is where you have a voice and can let your Lightroom-molded mindset roll out in the user interface of a better software. I will admit that I love the before and after develop panel view when editing, and Kelvin values for white balance, Lens Correction and better preset management. With user feedback, these sorts of options are becoming available with the next rollout update. Yes, preset management is a must for saving your stylized settings and rapidly applying them to multiple images. (2)

Presets and Custom Preset Packs

Much like in my last article, it took a lot of prep time to build and organize these presets. ON1 has an extensive collection of prebuilt presets for portrait and wedding work. Let’s jump into ON1 RAW and look over some of them. (3)

At first glance, the preset management felt limited. Since I am used to Lightroom, I move sliders to a good starting point and save my presets by holding Shift + Command and striking the ‘N’ key. Also, I can quickly save and store them in Finder for better organization. This allows me to drag and drop multiple presets into Lightroom without clicking the Install button in every dialog box that pops up.

You have similar functionality in ON1 RAW to access presets in your user library folder, and can zip files together to package them into a set or preset package. (4) The last step is to change the .zip file extension to .ONPreset; from there, you can drag and drop this file into ON1 RAW to install multiple presets at once. (5) This is how I installed the Guru Signature Collect Presets seamlessly. This includes 15 presets from four different ON1 Gurus, for a total of 60 free presets. (There are more options at www.on1.com/store/category/presets/.) (6)

Creating presets and customizing are simple as well. Let’s review some of the prebuilt and custom presets to dial in some of our own favorite recipes. Open ON1 RAW in Browse and click the Presets in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Make sure you have an image selected in the Browse window, and select any of the Preset Packs listed below. The prebuilt ones include: Architecture, Black & White, Cinematic, Faded & Matte, Hipster, People and Weddings. Select the icon to the right of the pack name to explore the gallery of presets. (7)

This feature is awesome. Instead of having to click and see like in Lightroom, you get a grid preview of your image from which to pick your favorites. Now we can experiment and start mixing styles. (8)

Experiment, and Always Mix Things Up

My favorite presets are Cinematic, Faded & Matte, Film, Hipster and Weddings. I like to create Auto-tone versions of the presets to give me quick client-ready proofs and to get the images headed in the right direction. (9) It’s simple to customize any prebuilt or purchased preset to your liking. Click on the preset you want to apply, make Develop and/or Effects adjustments, click on Settings in the menu bar at the top of your screen and choose Save Settings as Preset. (10) Why not just update the prebuilt preset? Doing that requires you to export the preset to transfer it to another program, which damages the default presets.

Saving a preset lets you start organizing favorites into one preset pack. This is a must for processing multiple files quickly, and previewing a gallery of your customized presets is a mouse click away. Currently, exporting every single preset is a pain in the butt, but ON1 saves these custom presets automatically in your user library folder. (11)

What I love about creating presets in ON1 RAW is I can include adjustments made in Develop and Effects. (12) This doesn’t limit me to develop sliders only; I can apply prebuilt filters and fully customize them to different image needs. After applying the Crisp & Cool preset in the Cinematic preset pack, you will notice no Develop sliders have moved. So where are the settings adjustable? You need to go to the Effects panel, where you’ll notice the filters are applied. Now let’s get working. (13ab)

Something I noticed right away were the details brought out in heavy recovery of this preset. (14ab) I prefer a less HDR look, but retaining highlight and shadow details is important. Lowering the Compression slider between 50 and 75 in the HDR panel is a useful approach. (15) We can always tweak that later and finish off by adding a Tone Enhancer filter. This gives us settings like the Develop panel to add a matte look to the recovered tones. (16) Now we can decide if adding Auto-tone is a smart move. I am going to apply it for this preset. Now let’s save these settings to our Personal Presets pack, making sure we include Develop and Effects settings. Go to Settings in the menu bar at the top of the screen and choose Save Settings as Preset. Naming can be helpful when sifting through presets; I chose Cinema_Cool_HDR_Auto. (17)

What I like about the customization of my presets in ON1 is the ability to mix and match styles as well as preview my image with all the available presets in the pack. One thing you must consider when applying multiple presets to one image is that you overwrite all the settings in that panel. For instance, if you apply filters in the Effects panels, Auto-tone to an image and then a Sharpening preset, this overwrites the Auto-tone settings applied in the previous preset. Otherwise, fire away and build your presets as you see fit.

Wow Your Client With Final Touches

Now we can work with custom Develop settings and Local adjustments to get the image fixed beyond the click of a preset. I typically toggle the Auto-tone on and off to see where that takes the image. From there, I bump the exposure and sharpen the image. Not much needs to be done at this point but some dodging and burning.

For skin, I like to even out the harsh contrast of highlights and shadows as much as I can so it doesn’t look fake. In order to get the editing flexibility with the Develop settings and masking, I use the Tone Enhancer filter in the Effects panel. I have a dodge-and-burn preset already built that is like a Photoshop action. After clicking this prebuilt preset, you’ll notice it resets my stylized edit. Not to worry—we can add filters to this image manually. (18)

Starting with the dress, we need to burn down some areas where detail is completely lost. Recovering too much with global adjustments makes the skin look terrible. That’s why we need to brush in the small details to get things looking much better. (19) We can now burn down the sky. Gradient filter to the rescue. Simply add a gradient filter, drag it down to cover the entire sky, rotate to even out the effect parallel to the mountain line and you’re done. (20)

Dodging shadows on the subjects can be a tedious and less effective adjustment. We want some contrast in the image, but there is a fine line between removing this distraction and destroying the skin tones. (21) Again, I like to use the Tone Enhancer to fine-tune my recovery. (22) With some subtle dodging, we are there.

Remarkable Results

You can customize the crap out of your image with prebuilt presets. ON1 makes it so effortless to see what your image can look like with them applied at a click of your mouse. This is helpful when getting together some client-ready creative proofs.

Applying my go-to presets to large batches of images allows me to move fast in ON1 RAW. Why haven’t you tried it out yet? Stop hesitating and mix it up.

 

Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the May issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.