In this blog post I’d like to introduce and review of some new actions I’ve been playing with from Sleeklens. I was contacted by Sleeklens, who were interested in having me use and review their actions. It was perfect timing because I was on the market for some new editing tools, so of course I said yes.

As a travel photographer I’m dedicated to capturing stunning landscapes and portraying them in their finest form. Sometimes the photos require a bit more ‘punch’ to really bring the environment to life, therefore I use post-processing as a method of enhancing a photograph. I take pride in keeping my editing to the basics, usually with a minimal amount of editing applied to an image. I favour a natural processing, editing that brings out the atmosphere of a place rather than altering it completely in post.

One of my favourite ways of working on my images is by implementing various actions, presets and other editing filters in Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop. Not only does this speed up the process, it also means my images have consistency to help give my work distinctive style or feeling. Seeing as I’m trying these new actions I wanted to really see how far I could push the image files, so the processing may be slightly more ‘overdone’ than my usual editing. Nonetheless, this really shows how to drastically improve your pictures with a few quick clicks using Sleeklens ‘Landscape Adventure Collection’.

Sleeklens was founded in 2015 by the current CEO and CoFounder Daniel Chabert. He started Sleeklens after being dissatisfied with the quality of products on the market. He would often end up with Lightroom or Photoshop products that were designed to be a “quick-fix” or an “all-in-one” solution. You will find no such products at Sleeklens. Their goal is to provide a product that works “with” you, not “for” you. This statement was what intrigued me to try their actions to see what it’s all about, and I must say I’m quite impressed so far.

At Sleeklens they understand that some photographers are just starting out in the big world of post-processing. This is why they ensure that all their products suitable for all photographers, no matter what level of experience. Their easy to follow instructional video helps explain, step by step, how to install each set of actions/presets. In addition, their actions include instructions on how to install and use each effect, which are delivered straight to your email in ZIP files after you’ve made your purchase. Brilliant service!

Before/After Edits

Drag arrows back and forth to reveal before/after

The magical dusty plains of Bagan is a truly inspirational place for landscape photography. The best time to shoot is early morning and late afternoon during golden hour. This can be challenging especially when shooting straight into the setting sun. Most of my images were underexposed for the highlights, which meant a loss in shadow detail. Fortunately the Canon 6D has decent dynamic range that aided in bringing back the detail in the foreground. The ‘before’ image is the RAW file straight out of camera with the ‘after’ being the final edit using Sleeklens ‘Landscape Adventure Collection’. Below are the adjustments applied using the actions.

  • Applied ‘Detail Enhancer’ at 20% to brighten highlights in foreground trees

  • Applied ‘Digital Speciality’ to entire image at 30% to add more detail to shadows

  • Applied ‘Warm Temperature’ at 20% to give the image a warmer tone

  • Applied ‘Base Clarity’ at 50% to entire image

  • Applied ‘ALL IN One Soft Golden Hour’ at 10% to entire image

  • Applied ‘Base Morning Light’ at 60% to entire image

Lush green Gondwana Rainforest in Dorrigo World Heritage National Park, the ultimate jungle environment for landscape photography. I’ve spent countless hours exploring the many tracks and hidden gems beneath the canopy, always finding something new to inspire me to shoot. Shooting in the forest can be overwhelming, mostly due to it being cluttered with detail and often patchy light resulting in underexposed shadows or blown highlights. By visiting on a rainy overcast day I was able to eliminate those hurdles to capture an image rich in detail, colour and interest. Below I’ve listed the adjustments I applied utilising Sleeklens ‘Landscape Adventure Collection’.

  • Applied ‘Detail Enhancer’ at 10% to lighten shadows

  • Applied ‘Base Clarity’ at 20% to entire image

  • Applied ‘Exposure Contrast’ at 10% to entire image

  • Applied ‘Speciality Dreamy Landscape’ at 30% to add slight glow to foliage

Aerial photography opens up many new opportunities to capture the landscape from a different perspective from what most people would normally see. One of the troubles I’ve faced with my DJI Phantom 4, is that the still image quality isn’t exactly amazing. I’ve found the images require a fair amount of editing to really make them jump off the screen. This edit was probably my most drastic using the Sleeklens ‘Landscape Adventure Collection’. As you can see I’ve transformed the entire atmosphere using the action set – just brilliant the possibilities!

  • Applied ‘Base Clarity’ globally to entire image

  • Applied ‘Exposure Contrast’ at 30% opacity entire image

  • Applied ‘Tone Warm Highlights’ 50% to entire image 

  • Applied ‘Tone Colour Pop’ at 10% to entire image

  • Burnt in shadows selectively to add contrast to shadow areas (using Photoshops dodge/burn tool)

  • Applied Orton effect at %10 to trees to slightly soften details 

Conclusion

My overall thoughts

After trying the different actions included with the Sleeklens ‘Landscape Adventure Collection’, I can confidently say that I’ll continue using these tools to enhance my landscape photography. I particuarly liked how the ‘Detail Enhancer’ action dramatically increased detail in the shadows without being too heavy HDR – I can see myself using this for almost all my landscape images whenever I need to bring out lost details.

Overall, I think Sleeklens have compiled a solid list of tools to help photographers of all levels liven their images. There’s really something for everyone depending on your shooting style. Whats not to like? I’ve tried various action sets online and very rarely have I been satisfied with the result. Most are tacky Instagram styled filters, vignettes and horrible flares that don’t look pleasant. Sleeklens seem to understand what photographers want and deliver just that in a clean and intuitive package – win win.

Anyway, I’ll share more before/after samples in the coming weeks after I have had more time to try more features.

Enjoy!