#534. The Monday Post (5 December 2016)

By pascaljappy | Monday Post

Dec 05

Presets are for losers. Right?

When you’re too lazy or not inspired enough to figure out your own post-processing like a man, you click a magic button and let the machine inject talent into your pathetic work. Probably to share with your pathetic friends on a pathetic social network.

When you’ve run out of variety, Instagram refreshes your social life by creating a bunch of other shadings, vintage looks and neo-something color pop with ridiculous names just like online gaming platforms release new levels frequently enough to keep addicts addicted a little longer. And that keeps you going.

Phew, even I won’t dare use a preset again, now. That stings.


Sad, ’cause I love presets. If Dylan hadn’t stolen the show, I’d have voted the creators of Nik software Nobel Prize for something artistic.

There’s nothing like clicking a few buttons to view instantaneous mood swings on screen. When 3 or 4 stick in your mind, you’ve a direction to start abusing pixels with a compass setting.

Sad, and ironic!

Because in a recent 80 minute webinar on advanced Photoshop, I was just taught how to: save actions corresponding to elaborate filter settings and display them in such a way that they’re always accessible in a single click of a button. So as to seamlessly switch between favorite processing scenarios, without having to redo all the work over and over again. Clever!

So … missing thumbnail-preview notwithstanding, what the most advanced Photoshop users, the elite club of photography post-processing, are creating for themselves are … presets! Right?

dsc09157Have we come fool-circle, maybe?

Maybe it’s time to give presets a chance and understand them as a tool for exploration.

All creation process starts with an exploratory phase, where possibilities multiply, and continues with a deliberate pruning. Presets are brilliant for freehand brainstorming and exploration. Personal values, projects, experience, goals and context take care of the culling. All in harmony.

I love presets ๐Ÿ™‚


Great Monday Post from Pascal. My (PP that is) two pennyworth?




A shot from my wander around Strand with fellow Cape of Storms (FaceBook group) member Basil Parker last Thursday. We debated this shot for several minutes. The ratty looking door was interesting, but the sunlight really sold me. Holding it all together is the yellow/black chevron on the stay cable.


For the technically minded, this was a Leica M9 shot, with a 35mm f2 Summicron. OOC DNG file processed in Apple’s Photos with the newly released Luminar plug-in. Not a bad software solution.


On later inspection, Luminar’s lack of lens correction (promised Real Soon Now) has left the left edge of the building very soft and quite a lot of CA to deal with. Re-processing the image in Lightroom, turned out a cleaner, but no better overall solution. I hope Macphun (Luminar’s creators) are as good as their word regarding updates and feature additions.

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  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    I didn’t realise that using pre-sets is tantamount to peeing on the walls of St Peter’s in Rome.

    I think the issue is simple. There are too many people out there with “opinions”, and nothing better to do that fling them in other people’s faces, to be annoying.

    I personally don’t make much use of pre-sets, but that doesn’t give the right to tell other people how to post process their photos.

    Anyway, I’m on record as “admitting” that one of Macphun’s (Luminar’s) pre-sets has cured a problem with one of my photos, which has haunted me since I took the shot, some 15 months ago. And hey, solving it with a pre-set isn’t laziness – it came after attacking that shot OVER & OVER, for the whole 15 months. All I care about now is the fact it DID work.

    I use anything, to try it out and see what it can do for me. It replicates the behavior patterns of my childhood, when I explored everything around me. I see no reason to stop doing it now – as my second childhood approaches, it seems even more appropriate. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Gianfranco says:

    Ciao caro Pascal,
    Presets, it’s like starting with so called soft vanilla ice cream and adding toppings. Very colorful, but still tasteless. Meanwhile get an Italian gelato add a dash of Cointreau and “lรฉchez-vous les babines”.
    The same as your sunlit door, great as is, but a little of your imagination and voilร  a very nice rendering.
    Say hello to Philippe.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi Gianfranco, the analogy speaks to me. Being a lover of heat and not a great fan of anything cold (except white wine), I was a gelato virgin until very recently. Lets get intimate … My first time was in Sirmione, behind the doors of the castle. Two large soft cones of creamy delight opened up a new world to me. Can’t wait for summer, now ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • NMc says:

    When I started reading the first paragraph I thought you may have lost your marbles, but then I realised you were just using a standard photo blog article preset. ๐Ÿ˜‰


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