As someone who often uses VSCO presets to spice up their digital files when I don’t feel like going through a whole load of editing and messing around with settings, inevitably opening Photoshop also and further fiddling around. I was eager to try the third generation of Rebecca Lily’s Pro Set. A preset pack designed for photographer’s that shoot a mix of film and digital who want to colour grade their digital images through Lightroom or ACR. Each preset comes with varying levels to choose the strength of the effect, from I to III. There is also a Toolkit to provide various changes without the need to go scrolling through editing menus.
I was due to shoot a wedding and thought it would be a great opportunity to really test out the preset pack. I don’t normally convert my digital files into black and white, so this also gave me a chance to do that.
Starting off with the bridal preparations on the big day of Naa & Sam’s wedding, I went for Epiphany I for my colour images. This preset promised clean overall brightness, more contrast and perfect pops of colour, with tones inspired by overexposed Kodak film. Kodak’s film emulsion is definitely my favourite so I was excited to try these out.
As recommended by Rebecca Lily, the exposure and white balance should be corrected before applying the preset to achieve the best results.
I was very happy with the effect the presets had on the colours in my images, especially what was shot under natural lighting as opposed to inside the hotel. Being able to achieve a pastel look with one click is quite a significant time saver if that’s the look you are trying to achieve.
Now on to the black and white, I tried out the Berlin I preset first. This preset is described as being reminiscent of classic black and white film. Deep shadows, more contrast and grain, and a gentler look. More contrast and grain is exactly how I normally choose to work with black and white film. The tones and overall look of Berlin I was exactly what I wanted, it’s definitely made me start converting my digital files using black and white presets now!
Moving on to the arrival to the church, I wanted to switch up the colour palette without creating too much of a sudden shift throughout the day. For this I decided on the Amethyst II preset, detailed as having gentle highlights, enhanced contrast, emphasised light and dimension and beautiful skin tone. This worked especially well with the images of children at the wedding, a more gentle colour approach.
Returning to some black and white, this time with Audrey III. This preset was described as an iconic black and white with rich blacks, warm whites, clarity, subject isolation and glow. This sounded perfect as I had shot some portraits that I really wanted to help pop with rich, deep black and white tones.
Back to the wedding and the ceremony was taking place, for these images I wanted something similar to the pastel look that I had already used but still something different. La Femme is described as having beautiful skin tones, a hint of warmth, creamy highlights and a filmic palette inspired by Fujifilm. I thought this would suit the ceremony perfectly and I wasn’t wrong. In fact, I think the presets are so dynamic that they would suit most situations!
La Femme III
Once again, for my black and white images I wanted something classic but not as contrasty as my previous choices. Orion sounded like it would fit best with brighter black & white with gentler shadowing, soft highlights and true black blacks. I didn’t regret the decision and it worked great with the pervious black and white images I had worked on.
Finally, the day was coming to an end and the reception provided a great backdrop to take some portraits of the newly-wed couple and their guests. I strayed away from the pastel pack and decided to go with Ireland II, from the Bright Colour pack and added Creamy Tone from the Toolkit. This combination really surprised me with how close it replicated the film stock I would normally shoot. It was a perfect mix.
Ireland II + Creamy Tone
For my final black and white set I decided to go with Black Jack III. It’s described as a balanced true black & white with medium contrast and graduation. The balanced contrast and even black and white tones really worked in providing me with a very pleasing end to my photoset of the day. Here’s the final two images.
Black Jack III
The Rebecca Lily Pro Set III pack really did shock me in how great it could make images look with one click, especially in my black and white work which I had since given up on when using digital.
I can’t recommend it enough and I can’t thank Rebecca Lily enough for letting me trial the pack and use it for my work. It’s definitely reignited my passion for black and white editing and I’ll be continuing to use it in my workflow.
Grab your copy here and give them a whirl: http://www.rebeccalily.com/products/