Presets Don’t Have to Be Lame
AI-powered photo editing presets make them much more appealing
Yeah, I’ve been that guy in the past who quietly sneers at all the photo presets that are peddled by photographers and YouTube personalities. Why would I want to make my photos look like someone else’s?
At some point I saw the light: presets aren’t just shortcuts, they’re automation. Instead of aping someone else’s style, I can save a set of edits I make and ripple those to other similar photos in my library. That can be a powerful time saver when you have lots of photos from the same photo shoot.
But presets typically apply to an entire image. If you wanted edits that affect only a subject, you’d have to go back, create a mask, and do manual edits. Now, apps are starting to incorporate AI-assisted edits into presets, which means you can target specific areas with automation.
In my latest Smarter Image column at Popular Photography, I look at how Lightroom Classic and Lightroom are doing this with Adaptive Presets that take advantage of the Select Subject/Select Sky masking features in the latest versions. In one example, I show how you can create a preset that applies universal edits to an image, such as adding a vignette and softening the Clarity amount, but also lightening the shadows just in the subjects.
Here’s a direct link to the column: Edit stronger, faster, better with custom-built AI-powered presets.
And if I may, I’d like to ask your help with something. If you have an opinion, or just want to say that the column is good or crap, please leave a comment at the bottom of the article at PopPhoto. Modern magazines keep an eye on engagement as well as web traffic, and it would be great to see some engagement with my column. (This request isn’t coming from my editors, just me.)
This isn’t specifically AI related, but with the churn about how Instagram seems to be going down the toilet in its attempt to become TikTok, I’d encourage you to check out Glass, a subscription-supported photo sharing app that actually cares about photography. I paid for an account last year (my renewal is coming up next month), and I’m happy to pay $30 per year to avoid ads and algorithmic garbage. Some of the photographers are amazing, and overall I enjoy the experience of viewing photos on Glass, compared to the annoyance whenever I open Instagram. It’s also a great experience on the iPad. You can find me over at Glass here.
On my PhotoActive podcast, we talked to Glass founders Tom Watson and Stefan Borsje about why and how they started the app. It’s a great episode if you’ve got 30 minutes to spare.
I’m still posting on Instagram, but no longer really trying to grow my followers or really engaging, because it feels like throwing pictures into a hurricane.