Sleeklens, a Danish photography company contacted me and provided a full copy of its Strike a Pose Portrait Workflow Lightroom Plugin in return for an honest, unpaid review. I regularly get asked to review photography software and products by companies that think their offering may be useful to my portrait photography business. I require products and software that help me make stunning photographs that my clients will love – if it doesn’t do just that, I’ll not use it.
For non-photographers, you may want to look around my website instead of reading this blog post, but for photographers, do read on…
What the Strike a Pose Portrait Workflow promises:
- Premium 69 Presets and 62 Brushes;
- Easily turn your portrait images into amazing shots with a fast, easy and professional approach; and
- Portrait Brushes which enable you to edit any part of your portrait whether it be lips, eyes, skin tone or anything else.
What I like about the Strike a Pose Portrait Workflow Plugin:
- Reduces the need to spend time in Photoshop or other retouching software;
- Specific portrait brushes allow retouching to be done quickly; and
- A couple of the presets will go into my workflow.
What I don’t like about the Strike a Pose Portrait Workflow Plugin:
- Presets are more for outdoor, environmental portraits, such as on a beach or forest.
- Brushes aren’t as strong as the presets; and
- Names of the presets are similar, so you may need to rename them to remind you of the effect they create.
When you work as a professional photographer, clients may not realise that the photographer’s work is only half done once he/she has taken the photograph. The editing and any retouching process can equally be as long as the shoot itself. Ask any wedding photographer about how long it can take to create the client’s wedding album!
Presets and editing tools such as those found in the Strike a Pose Portrait Workflow can speed up this editing/retouching process to some degree. I say this as you need a clear vision of what you want to enhance or take away, otherwise you’ll get bogged down in choosing what preset or retouching needs to be done. Any decent photographer will be tweaking and adjusting the presets as they see fit, but below does give you a flavour of the effect of three presets.
Some of the Strike a Pose Portrait Workflow presets I like:
The following photos have just had the presets applied. No other colour corrections have been carried out.
“Love Bug” produces a flat, muted image that reduces the contrast of the image. This is useful for an Instagram filtered look for a website where text can be placed over the image:
“Duo” turns the image black and white and is great retaining the softness of the lighter areas of the image. Below, I’ve used it shooting David, for a wedding portrait shoot:
“Crisp Dawn” warms up images and gives the impression soft light shone on the subject. As you can see on this quick sample shot of my partner, the skin tones in the “before” image on the left were red. It was shot using the Provia standard setting on the Fujifilm X-T1 which has a tendency to bring out red tones. On the right is with the preset applied. It has nicely reduced the redness, and softened the skin tones and shadows:
The brushes cover the whole spectrum of editing a person’s face and hair – see screenshot below to see most of the brushes included:
I’m not going to go through the process of editing a photograph with the brushes, however I will add that the brushes are very helpful in retouching the subject’s skin. Because of the non-destructive nature of the brushes in Lightroom, the brushes can be edited and adjustments made at any time should you wish to tweak things.
Would I recommend this to a portrait photographer?
Overall, yes I would!
The mileage you get with the presets will of course be subject to your style and taste. However, if you’re in a process of editing several hundred photos from a shoot, and don’t fancy opening up Photoshop to edit/retouch each one, or that you’re not too au fait with Lightroom’s native brushes tool, then I would suggest buying the Strike a Pose Portrait Workflow.
Rating 4.5/5 – Highly Recommended!