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Recently I have added a new photographic service to my studio:

"Ghost mannequins" or "Invisible mannequins"!

Photographing clothing on a mannequin shows the face of the mannequin, not the fabic behind the neck or face, likewise arm openings can be like black d. I have learned a technique where you can see all of the garment, even if it was displayed on a mannequin without the mannequin (or model). To see the images - click here. 

Make it easy, more efficient and economic when you  give me an assignment. Here are some tips to make your photographic assignment as economic as possible.

  • Provide new, clean products, undamaged, no dents, creases or marks if possible.
  • We can "photoshop" almost everything but it is an additional cost factor, best to avoid?
  • Provide image brief, angles of view.
  • Provide background, props or other instructions
  • Provide file specifications like: .Tiff, 16 bit, Adobe RGB col. profile, dimensions in pixels and resolution.
  • If in doubt about file specs - I help you out!
  • What is is the difference between your product and the competition?
  • Who is going to see your image that I create for you, what is your target audience?
  • What is your budget, I am not the cheapest image maker but one of the better ones
  • I may sound picky, but it pays to have  attention to detail.

BeArt-Presets product photography presets for Lightroom

Reviewed and evaluated by Robert A F van de Voort                                                           
A request was  received from BeArt-Presets (https://www.BeArt-Presets.com/) to evaluate the product Lightroom presets  for BeArt-Presets.

Following on the latest review on the landscape presets from BeArt-Presets I have received from the company another set of presets for product photography.

At present I create more product photographs than landscapes (it is autumn - wet and windy at present in New zealand) so this was an ideal time to work with these presets. Here with I give you my impressions of working with the product presets from Beart.


If you follow the instructions on the website on how to install the presets you should have no problems at all, smooth and easy. 

There are quite a lot of presets, I was happy on how many presets there are available. For instance; there are exposure presets ranging from +2 stops to -.2 stops in conveniently placed steps.

You can also visually adjust the effect of exposure settings from 200 ISO to 6400 ISO by adding visually grain. However I am more impressed with the grain effect settings from Alien Skin, but this grain is not bad looking at 6400. So there is plenty of latitude to alter your (visual) exposure levels. 

You are able to adjust the shadows with a simple click, and as a bonus you can do this locally with the BeArt brush adjustment too.

For me most of the fun actually came in the  special effects presets, where you can go from red vintage to black and white matte. There is quite a range of different settings to work with your image, improve your details for instance, contrast cross processing dramatic film, garden settings there are quite a few miscellaneous ones that have at first sight not much to do with product photography like fix blue attack! I would have thought the blue would disappear, it actually increases the blues. But after a little play with all these effects I get some really good results to fine tune my product photographs. Especially when you can have a little bit of free artistic interpretation on your product shot some of these presets are fun to work with.


You will find that these presets are quick in assisting you in correcting your exposure levels or your colour temperature, the preset name is "white balance" but that may be the wrong name for me, you can set the colour balance range from 3000 K to 6000 K in 12 steps, very handy if you want the same colour balance over a range of product shots shot at the same time. When I set the "white balance" I select an area that is should be neutral in colour.  Kelvin colour temperatures have nothing to do with white balance.


The terminology of some of the presets still baffles me a little bit, for instance when you select preset "Fix Dramatic Film 2" I get more a "Bleach Monday Morning effect". Well that is my impression of the effect.....you may find that each photographer will have their own visual interpretation and translation of the named effects. But they are quite close in description and I like the effects they produce.


There are many presets with the prefix of number two in it, sometimes I do not know what it refers to as there are no other numbers to compare it to. For instance there is a presets called Fix Gold Tone 2 but there is no number one or three. Perhaps the developer of these presets will later introduce an update with the numbers one and three? After a bit of work with these presets you can possibly rename some of the presets to give yourself a better idea what you will achieve with that preset.


That's how I would work with these presets, go through them, most of them are self-explanatory and do exactly what they say and the ones that are a little bit more "adventurous so to say" you can alter their name to suit your taste.


I followed the installation method number two, this way I could create a folder for each of the type of preset, for instance I've got now presets for ISO, white balance, exposure, instead of having one folder with all the presets lumped together.


As these presets are only a one click thing for a global adjustment, you may like to locally adjust the image with the local adjustment presets that are included with this set. You can locally adjust the sharpness, the blue colour or green tint, the noise, saturation or shadows, white background et cetera, I have not mentioned all of them. Quite a few choices are available to you which makes this total set of brushes and presets a very good tool for commercial photographers or even those people that just want to sell an item on eBay or their local trading post.


I find that using these presets is simple, quick and efficient after I have used my basic raw adjustments first.


Summarising:

Cons: 

installation was somehow a little problematic using method one, for some reason I did something wrong I think-but by using method two I got it right and everything installed the way I liked it.
The naming of some presets are open to different interpretations but that is easily fixed by renaming them.

Some presets have a number added to the presets description which does not make sense. Why give it a number two when there is no one or three?


Pros:

Versatile, eliminates quickly and efficiently common mistakes in lighting set up.

Extensive set of presets, it covers of wide range of possible corrections to achieve a quick correctly balanced look/effect."


My  review about BeArt Lightroom Landscape presets (May 2017):

Presets supplied courtesy BeArt Preset.com


A request came in from Bearts.com (https://www.BeArt-Presets.com/) to evaluate the Lightroom presets landscape section for BeArt.

I will not go into detail about downloading and installing these presets for Lightroom because the instructions I did receive were very explicit and accurate and so easy to follow.10 out of ten.
I am always fascinated and interested in the view of other photographers how they preview presets, after all they designing a preset to work with an unknown entity, my photograph, which they have never seen.
Upon installation the landscape preset folder of BeArt showed me all the names of the presets. And they are names of places like London, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, Venice, Singapore Istanbul, Queenstown et cetera.
As I just came back from Holland and had photographed some Dutch scenes I thought I apply the filter of Amsterdam for a “cool” looking image, I associated the word Amsterdam with a certain coolness meaning temperature wise, history, and kind of bland grey skies. Well I got definitely a bland grey sky but the green grass turned into a very saturated green grass. Not really what I expected to see.
I experimented with many other “city looks”. Somehow my predetermined brain worked out that when I read the word Barcelona I would get a nice warm hot image reflecting the vibrant mood of that city. Well it did warm up a little but in a retro style. Surprise - I never expected to see a black-and-white image when I selected the city Kyoto.
I associate the climate, vibes, culture, and aspects etc. with the name of the city. For me that seems a logic association. And expect a pre-conceived or visualised colour scheme. How wrong I was in my imagination, none of the cities responded in any which way even similar to what I thought I was going to get.
All these presets with their location names have definitely very interesting and arty preset effects. Way off the traditional hackneyed approach. But in no way I can associate the given name with the preset settings that were created. 
To visualise the selected effect I just have to hover with my mouse over the preset name so the preview window in Lightroom shows the effect. Of course such a small preview is not sufficient to see in detail what is going to happen. But it is a good start.
The advantage of these presets is that they give you a guiding line, if you are changing the presets adjustments in the right direction, you can slightly alter them to make it suit your purpose (if needed). And save them as your own new preset.
Again, my gripe is with the naming and content of the presets, when I want to work my image I want a name of the preset that roughly indicates what I’m going to get. And if the presets are stackable that would even be better. My first impressions with these landscape presets are that they are kind of subtle and effective but literally all over the place.
Grouping them in a certain way, like hot, evening, morning, cool, misty or foggy, perspective haze, crystal clear, Sahara desert rippling warm vibrations with names that reflect that kind of situation would be far more beneficial for me.
If I keep these presets on my computer I will rename them, regroup them and then it may be more workable. 
At the moment the prefix name of each preset setting is: “BeArt -Travel Hong Kong”, all listed under my BeArt landscape preset folder. 
The words BeArt and travel can be replaced with more appropriate visual indicators for a more precise workflow?
The presets are subtle, not over-the-top, they are all totally adjustable so it may give you a perfect idea to start working with.
With the abundance of free presets available for download I find this landscape preset set definitely needs to adjust a few settings as described above. It – the landscape presets - is like seasoning in my soup, but just not strong enough.
My images that I used for this evaluation were middle of the road, needing definitely an adjustment but it took me a while of applying one preset, saving and applying another preset to get the look I needed, it was faster to work with normal camera raw adjustments.
Cons: 
Naming structure.
Effects need to be “stronger”?
Effects need to be stackable.
Pros:
Easy install.
Not expensive.
Definitely different! 
Visit https://www.beart-presets.com/ to see all their other presets, quite a comprehensive collection

For your convenience I have included a few links to get where you want to be:

Sleek lens workflow for Lightroom review

By Robert A F van de Voort
Review Sleek lens offered me recently the “through the woods” presets for Lightroom.

In order to give a fair review I would like to give a little background information about myself so you know how I have evaluated this product.

I made landscapes on my Linhoff Technorama film camera (http://linhof.com/en/technorama-617s/), I was the first photographer in New Zealand to use this camera . As it uses transparencies on a film format of 6 x 17 cm on 120 film you have to be very careful making your photographs as it only takes four images on one film. Everything was carefully considered before making the photograph as it was imperative to get the right image on film you could not afford to take 10 or 15 images as people do now with the digital format cameras and stitch them together in a panoramic format.

Hence all my landscapes are made when the light is just perfect, everything is fine, nothing needs to be changed (photo shopped) as the transparency is the final result for my landscape image that will be printed in a book.

Now, in this digital age we can make images of landscapes when the light is not just exactly the way we wish it to be, we have so manyEdit tools available to make the photograph look good or better after capturing the scenery. Hence the abundance of perfect looking landscapes on the Internet, all the trees are gloriously lit with the perfect brightness and contrasts, water looks like you want it to look, the skies are moody or fantastic et cetera. Most of these perfect images are so perfect that I have not any interest in looking at them they are not real. Not saying all images are like that, there are exceptions. But the majority of published landscapes on the Internet are very flawless and lack emotional integrity.

Hence my reluctance using presets or any other preconceived settings to change the light or contrasts. In my workflow, I adjust the contrast, fine tune the exposure, lighten or darken certain areas and that is about it because my image is already the way I want it to look. I do not make landscapes when the light is not right, so there is no need for me to add some glorious sunlight or other shadings. Haze, and all those other things I do not need because they falsify my landscape.

However as a photographer I have those tools available to me in case if I need so I was quite interested to receive the Sleek Lens Presets for lightroom workflow for this review.
Easy to instal , and then the trouble started. The naming convention of these presets is very space consuming, the names start with “through the woods” (the name of the preset set I received) and then an indication of what it does, lighten dark and saturate et cetera. So it is a very long name with a lot of information that absolutely says nothing about the functional action of the preset itself.
I can’t recall exactly all the names but they were very long. So I renamed all these presets deleted all the ” through the woods” and other prefixes and just call them light and dark and saturate et cetera whatever the function was of the preset.

All these presets were placed in a sleek lens folder preset so I knew that I was using a sleek lens preset. I did this because when you want to find out what the sleek lens preset effect was, I had to increase the width on the left panel where the presets are presented in lightroom. Of course you can hover with your mouse or pen over the preset and the navigator will show you the effect of the preset.
Not easy for me, holding your mouse over one line of words and then looking up into the navigator panel to see what it does, that is not efficient. The same with the adjustment brush, the name of the presets from sleek lens were also far too long with too many prefixes that were absolutely not necessary, I renamed all the preset names into one word that defined the action of the preset, which was actually the last word of the preset name of sleek lens.

To test the presets out: I had a few plain landscapes that actually could do with some enhancement. When I looked at these images I knew what I wanted to add, colour, contrast, a deepening of the blue sky. It was easier for me to actually do this with my own brushes and creating my own adjustments instead of looking through all these presets to find if there was something that would do what I wanted.

Conclusion:

Pro: Excellent presets, very versatile, you could stack them, you could change them, you could save the altered one and so on. And some nice effects that possibly would not easily exist in nature.

Con: The naming convention of the presets is far too long.If you sell a tool, it has to work efficiently. Change the names of the presets.

Note:

If you make landscapes taken at a time that the light is not perfect, the scenery does not look at its best, then these presets will work very fine for you, you rummage around and you will find many delightful settings that will make your image pop like all the other thousands on the Internet. I could imagine as a wedding photographer you could very happily use these presets as you have to make images outdoors in light conditions that are not always optimal .

Many thanks to the sleek lens company for providing me with these presets for this review. Below are links to Sleek Lens: