Welcome to #filterfriday, where every week I talk about Photoshop presets and editing tips I've been using lately in my professional and personal work.
I am fairly new to using presets in my editing. My photography education focused heavily on film photography and darkroom techniques, so I'm used to a more manual, hands on approach to even my digital editing. However, as I've been more involved in the social media photography communities, the prevalence and usefulness of presets has become very apparent to me. So one day, I browsed Pinterest for free presets and found FilterGrade. FilterGrade sends you 10 free presets when you sign up for their newsletter, so I obliged, installed the actions, and started to use them over the next couple of days. Over the course of this I found my holy grail of presets... RS II Reel.
While many presets are not for every shot, RS II Reel is a fantastically multipurpose preset for me that flatters and enhances my style. It has a lovely subtle, matte, moody effect, that desaturates, and adds fade and delicate film grain, perfect for the city, winter-time shots I've been taking lately. RS II Reel works great as a basic way to quickly get contrast and mood added to a photo, no matter the setting or subject. Most of the photos on my Instagram within the last two months have RS II Reel applied to them, usually with some of my own additional adjustments on top such as burning and dodging or layer masks, but RS II Reel can also stand alone which makes it so fantastic.
Disclosure: I am not being sponsored by FilterGrade, only writing to share my own personal experience and opinions.
I always process my photographs through Camera RAW first before running them through presets to adjust basic exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, temperature, and sharpen. That's just a manual control part of the process I can't let go of!
Once in Photoshop, I simply play the action and watch the magic happen. After that, as with most presets, I have found that the key is to mess with the opacity to achieve your desired effect. Sometimes a preset can be too dramatic on 100% opacity, but when adjusted even just a couple of percentages can achieve your desired look. Above on the right, I liked the moody tones but brought down RS II Reel to 80% to maintain a softer contrast for this lifestyle shot.
Megan of Diary of this Girl
I am a huge advocate for burning and dodging. Probably because I like to have control over the smallest areas of my photos, and it's so much easier to do it in Photoshop than in the darkroom! And since I shoot mostly blogger portraits, usually I want to have the maximum amount of flattering light on their faces. For both of the images above, I burned and dodged on top of the RS II Reel layer to bring some more light onto their faces and make them pop more.
Aania of Life of Aani
Tip #1: RS II Reel creates a copy of your background layer as part of the action, so keep that in mind if you're going about any cloning or retouching. Plan your layers accordingly.
Tip #2: RS II Reel looks amazing with red and purple tones, like Wendy's hair and the curtain behind her in the right hand picture below.
Since I have been using RS II Reel on my photos, it has helped me achieve a more cohesive appearance to my Instagram feed, not to mention helped simplify my editing process and return photos to my clients faster!
Have you tried RS II Reel, or any other FilterGrade presets before? Share your thoughts below!
Karya Schanilec is a Seattle based photographer specializing in fashion, portrait, and performance photography.