Working and learning from presets in lightroom is just part of the photography hobby. You buy presets from famous photographers like Peter McKinnon to get a glimpse of what a highly skilled mind has done in the same software as you use yourself.
I will argue that I have learned a lot from using these presets because I study the settings and tweak it for each photo – and don’t just apply them without any additional editing. However, figuring out your own style is where things get interesting.
I have tried several times to create my own presets in Lightroom to ensure my photo style is consistent across my website, Instagram and other channels. It just never really clicked – until today.
I love history and the 1960s is a particulair interesting period in time with new artistic styles in music, painting, films and of course photography. The moon landing, the Vietnam War and politics just gives an interesting contrast to everything. For me, the US President Kennedy (JFK) kinda sums up everything from the period and I often listen to his speeches for inspiration and tapping into the mindset and sense of the early 1960s.
Today I was watching a documentary on Youtube that made a reference to Kennedy using this photo from 1960 by the photographer Capa Cornell:
The photo shows Kennedy speaking at a campaign rally in New York and everything about it just clicked for me. The theme, colours, contrasts, framing, lighting etc. I grabbed my laptop and opened Lightroom to see if I could capture this style in my photos.
I created a preset that used utilized blueish shadows contrasted with a slightly purple highlight. The contrasts have been tuned up a notch and at the same time, the colours have been dulled a bit. To add a final touch, I have added a bit of grain to the preset as well to let the contrasts and colours flow together.
This is the results:
I have saved these settings as my first Lightroom preset and entitled it “Kennedy” in reference to the Capa Cornell photo that captured my attention. I will try this out on my photos and upload it to my Instagram and website.