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Editing: Making A Preset

Lesson 15 from: The Automotive Photography Workshop

Aaron Brimhall

Editing: Making A Preset

Lesson 15 from: The Automotive Photography Workshop

Aaron Brimhall

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Lesson Info

15. Editing: Making A Preset

Presets are a great foundation. Aaron talks through his process of creating a preset for a specific set of photos, and demonstrates how to save it to your preset library

Lesson Info

Editing: Making A Preset

So a huge topic with photography is presets. Presents, obviously, I use in everyday editing process. And there's a lot of hype that goes around them and I get why, just because you literally can paste it onto any photo. Most of the time it looks good, sometimes you gotta tweak it and that's okay. But I'm gonna show you guys how to make your own preset as fast and as cool looking as possible. So I'm gonna start from a clean canvas, just a photo that's just raw, straight from the camera. And I'm gonna see what I can do with it and then try to implement my style with that. So let's go ahead and jump into this photo. So while we were shooting yesterday, I was in the little bird box, what we call it, in the back of my truck. And I shot this with the 24-millimeter and I was at, let's see, what was that? That was at 1/60 of a second. So obviously you can see how much motion is in this photo. That was the whole goal and I wanted some foreground. So I left this entire space down here, the botto...

m right of the photo, basically the whole bottom of the photo for copy. If this was for a brand, I would love to have copy down here. Maybe even somewhere down here on the bottom right. But let's get to this photo and see what we can do. So, first thing I usually do when I shoot with a wide lens, I'll come down here and I'll usually enable the profile corrections, just because sometimes, what happens with the wide lens is you'll get some distortion. So as you can see there, how kind of like distorted the whole truck gets and then you're not getting as big of a vignette. But what we can do later on is create a vignette. Like I said earlier, I like a vignette on my photos. So we're gonna try to incorporate that in this photo. So here we go. Let's just try to figure out what we wanna to do with this. So I'm gonna go here, like I said earlier as well, I'm gonna work my way down from this entire column. So let's just mess around in this zone first. So as you can see here, usually I just try to mess with the bars a little bit, just kind of swing left and right and see what you're feeling. So if you can see here on like the badge, the front grill of the truck, it's pretty blown out already. I don't know if we're gonna be able to fix that too much. Well, actually going down there all the way down with the highlights, you're basically seeing the whole Ford and that's what we want. So let's go to the whites. See if we can get some more white in the sky. If not, that's okay. We can work around this here in a minute too, so. Another thing, let's mess around with white balance. Again, I tend to lean towards the more cooler side, more teal side. So it's kind of a mix between, you know, cool and warm tones, but I generally like to lean more cool. So let's mess with this a little bit. And if we wanna get a little wild with it, let's just hop down to the HSL column and figure out what kind of colors we wanna use. So as you can see, I am just kind of messing around, just playing with the bar a little bit just to see if we're feeling anything. I think warms too warm. Probably just keep it right where it was at. All right, so while we're here, before we do any of the coloring, I'm gonna go straight to the radio tool. It's probably something I use more than any other thing when I'm editing a photo, just because it usually will get basically everything that I'm trying to accomplish within the radius or whether I'm trying to, you know, make a vignette. So it's pretty useful. I'm gonna actually make a vignette right now. So we're gonna basically be utilizing the entire outside of this oval. So let's bring the shadows down just a little bit. And what I can do, so I usually like to have the radio tool go with whatever's in motion or the same direction as the subject. So I'm gonna come here and we can twist this oval a little bit to basically make that the car. And that seems pretty good. So let's move this over here so we can get a little more play on the outside of this framing out here right where my mouse is. Okay, let's go down to dehazing and I might not do the dehazing on this because there's a lot of sky. And when I do the dehazing in the sky, it's gonna make it pretty dark as you can see now. And I do not like that. And I already know in this photo, I'm gonna take down the blues in the sky, just because for me that's more my editing style. So do not worry about the blues in this, but again, you can mess with all of this. And another cool thing I like about this photo is all these dust. And it just gives it a little bit of an edgier, grittier look and I'll show you what I can do with that in a minute. All right, so let's dumb down the dehaze a little bit. We'll use a tiny bit, but I think after this, I'm gonna come down with the brush and dehaze all of this motion blur in the dirt just to give it a little bit more texture and contrast. Again, I'm just feeling out what I like and what I don't like. And I'm keeping in mind too, I shot a few different exposures. I was shooting pretty backlit and then I was shooting like not so far backlit but I was shooting more of like to the left of the sun. And we were still getting hotspots in other photos. So I wanna make sure that this image right here that I'm making a preset that will fit anything backlit and anything with shadows on that side of the car with the panels. So you basically wanna make something that will look good for the rest of the images. Again, just playing around with it. Let's bring up that contrast just a tiny bit. Let's close this out and I'm gonna, real quick, just go to the blues down here in HSL and I'm gonna work with the sky 'cause I think when I work with the sky a little bit, I'll be able to pull that dust out and you're gonna see a little bit more of the dust and it's just going to give it a little bit more of a dynamic look, which I like. Let's bring down the luminance just a little bit, not a whole lot. And then I'm gonna go to the saturation of the blue specifically and bring that down a tiny bit as well. And I already like that. So while I'm here, before I move this column 'cause I'm gonna come right back to it, grab your brush. And this is kind of where you can get crazy. So zero out over here. You're gonna reset the effects and then I'm gonna go to, since all the dust is pretty white, what you're gonna wanna do is I'm gonna bump up the clarity just a little bit so it's gonna give us just that little push of luminance in those whites. And then I might bring up the whites, but if you feel like it's too much, you can dumb it down again. So let's hover over these just a tiny bit. As you can see, we're already getting that texture in the sky and we're making that dust just come alive a little bit more. And it looks pretty cool. So I'm gonna keep it and let's just try to get a little more. You can see a little bit of this dust up in here in the sky and you don't wanna miss those 'cause you wanna, again, want it staying consistent throughout, like just those dust clouds. See where it's like, it's pointed up here right where the tool is. Right where the brush is, you wanna grab that. You can just like, just brush through those in little strokes and I'm just like working around it. And I wouldn't go so much over the car just because you're gonna, like, if you go over the car with this brush while it's on the same clarity and whites as you're doing with the dust, the car itself is just gonna get blown out and you don't want that. So we'll work on the car in a sec. I'm just working on that dust. And I might bring the clarity up just a little bit. See if it stands out a little more and that's pretty cool. Let's do a before and after just to see what we've done. So hit that Y and yeah, boom. I already love it. And there's already so much potential with this. So let's keep rolling and kind of get a little bit more of a darker image and let's make that subject pop out a little more. All right, real quick. Let's go back down to the HSL section and we are gonna play with these orange, yellow colors. So I'm not gonna go and point out directly. I'm not gonna go on top of this. I'm gonna just work with the bar directly. So just to see if the saturation's too much or too little. And I'm just gonna work with the orange and yellow on this. And as you can see, when I'm messing with the yellows, it's getting everything from the sun, highlights from the grill, all the way down to this bottom section of the photo. Subtle, but it'll all make a huge difference in the end. So just be aware of how much saturation you're throwing in to every photo 'cause it'll go across the entire image. And then let's come down to luminance and you can brighten these yellows up if you want. So if you go any further, even just in the negatives, it just gets a little too, like almost too HDR-y and you don't want that. Let's just keep it at somewhere right in the middle. Let's work with these oranges a little bit. So honestly this is my favorite part of editing, just getting as like wild and creative as you can. And again, I would probably be editing this image for myself, not so much for client 'cause they probably wouldn't want a whole lot of dust in there. You'd probably wanna choose a different select that didn't have as much dust. Maybe something with the angle a little higher 'cause I was pretty close to the ground on this. So we're getting a lot of that dust, but that's okay. This is more of a director's cut than anything. All right. So let's go to the brush and I'm gonna work on the ground that's moving out here. And I want a little more contrast in there 'cause right now, it's matching the truck but I want the truck to stand out a little more. So I'm gonna give this more of a darker feel. So I'm gonna dehaze it a bit and bring the shadows down quite a bit. And I still want some light so I'm gonna keep the highlights just up a tad. And then let's just brush over this road to see what we got. As you can tell, it's pretty subtle. I don't think you're gonna wanna go any further than that 'cause anything darker than that is just gonna be a wild treatment. I mean you can go crazy, but you don't wanna go too crazy. So if I'm happy with this, great. And if not, I'll probably end up bringing shadows up a tiny bit just 'cause it looks a little dark, but for the most part, I think we're good. Just make sure you get every section of the road or whatever you're trying to brush over. It looks pretty sweet. You're still getting all the dust over the road so you're seeing that it's not getting lost, which is I think really cool. And I think that's good. I'm gonna work on the sky again just a little bit. And with the sky, I'm gonna go down to the split toning and mess around with that just a little bit. 'Cause I kind of want these shadows just a little bluer and maybe the sky with all the highlights maybe, you know, maybe just a mix of both. Maybe a mix of blues, blue shadows, and either or blue highlights or kind of a yellow highlight tint. So what I always do just for, you know, just so you can see what's going on, I would just bring saturation up to even five to 10 over here on the scale and then same thing with the shadows. And then what you can do is mess around with the hues just to see what you like. And you can spend so long here in split toning, just trying to figure out what you like, see like that looks really cool. Anywhere in that like blue highlight, green highlight, I think looks really, really neat. Looks just different. So, let's stick with that for a moment. Right now, shadows are in that red zone, which looks cool, but let's mess around with blues, see what we can play with. And if that's too blue but you want blue, let's come over here to this balance. And usually, it will give us a few different options to play with with the hues. I think that looks pretty cool. Check real quick with the before and after, just to see if I'm not going too overboard. I think it's looking sweet. All right. What I'm gonna do really quick, bring out the brush and sharpen just a little. I wouldn't go over 30. I'm gonna flow the brush through the entire vehicle 'cause this image is pretty sharp, but I want it just to be a tiny bit sharper. When we were out in the field yesterday too, I was saying spray and pray. You're literally shooting at a high continuous shutter and you're just hoping for the best, but usually, you'll get one out of a hundred. And when you do, you get stoked,. But you as you can see, this one's really sharp. I'm just gonna add a little bit of sharpness to it. And you don't want a lot because then there will be some noise and you don't want that. Might even come down to 20 on this. Holy crap, my computer's frozen. All right, let's just rub the brush through that entire vehicle. I wouldn't even go through the entire vehicle. I would just go maybe that first section. So the hood, the tires, the wheels, just all that. See what that looks like. Zoom in on this a little bit just to see if we're getting any noise. So that's the last thing we want, is a noise complaint and it looks pretty, pretty solid. Let it load a bit. All right. Yeah, it's looking good to me. Cool. Once you feel good about that, I am gonna move on to the sky again. It's not loving the blues still and I think the luminance in the sky could be stopped down a few. Let's go over here. Let's go a little low. Again, this is gonna make the subject stick out a little bit. So already like the the dust is taking over a little too much and it looks too fake. And you don't want that. So let's just keep it where it's at. You only have so much to play with sometimes, but I think it looks cool. All right, real quick. Grab the brush again and let's just see what we can do with the vehicle itself. Let's see if we can bring it out and just brighten it a tiny bit without getting too much of that dust. And if we can't, it's okay. I think that looks cool. If that doesn't work, I'm gonna go back to the radio tool. The same thing I made the vignette and I'll make that vignette just a tad bit darker. All right, so I'll probably wanna do is bring up the shadows just a little bit, the clarity a little bit, and then just contrast a tiny bit, just barely, to mess around with this. And you probably don't need to get the front of the car 'cause it's already lit and I don't wanna bring up any more highlights in that front because it's just gonna keep getting blown out and we don't want that. Right now, it's looking pretty solid. Again, just for safe measures, check your before and afters 'cause you never know. Like little tweaks here and there could make it look funky and you don't want that so just keep checking. It's looking good, though. Still wanna mess around with those panels just to bring up those highlights just a little. Seeing it's subtle, but it's nice. It's not too overbearing. I probably wanna contrast it a little bit. Sweet. Another thing I like to try to do, oh, well let's see. That was too much contrast. So let's bring that back. And if you hit Command + Z, that will just undo whatever you just did. So just another shortcut. So that looks pretty nice. Okay, so I'm gonna come to this radio tool again and if you wanna create more of like a, almost like a sun flare, what I do is, so let's say the sun is coming from that angle, I'm gonna make a little, it's like a sun shape. Just a big circle and it can go over the car. Not too much, but you can mess around with it as much as you want. So let's make a big circle, gonna go probably this big. And depending on how we're gonna utilize the lighting over here for the sun, let's move this radius just a tad out of frame. Probably wanna even go wider vertically, but we'll see. Computer's so slow. Baby steps. All right, so to get like that flare effect and it works sometimes and then other times, it doesn't, just depending on, you know, how your exposure was or if it even looks right. So come over here, invert it. So you're basically making this hole inside of this radius is what you're gonna be working with. And then let's go to the dehaze, just a tiny bit and we'll go probably negative five maybe. Maybe 10. Just a bit. So I'm gonna actually go big on this radius, like really big, 'cause we can move this whole circle and kind of play with all that. That fall-off that we're gonna really want, we don't want it pretty harsh. We just want like a nice fall-off. So hit Shift and then you can start bringing this up and it will stay the same size, if you're comfortable with that size or the shape, I mean. So let's bring down the dehaze just a tiny bit more, 'cause we kind of want that. Or I like the whole, you know, flare fall-off that's kind of bright and kind of abstract in a lot of my photos. It's just like another little cherry on top. I like adding those elements. It's just fun to play with. So if it works in this, great. If not, no worries. Just mess with the highlights a little bit. And then I'm gonna mess with the white balance too, just so it can give off that sun fill. See, already it's a little too bright and what we'll do is just we'll dumb down those whites in a second. But you can already see that it's gonna be a sun. So just work around it a little bit and see if we can find that right balance. It's so hot. Can you show that like how to save the preset and stuff? Yeah. Yeah, I'll get to it quick 'cause this thing's about to burst into flames. So hot, it's wild. All right, so as you can see, it's blowing out the grill, which I didn't want in the first place. So I'm gonna move it down just a tiny bit, just like right below the truck just to see if we can lose that fall-off that's leaning into the grill and more so just down onto the ground. And another way to do that would be even just making an oval shaped and leading it down this way. So that's what I'm gonna try to do. So I'm gonna dig this in, come a little shorter, and I'm not holding Shift 'cause maybe just keep the same shape and I don't want the same shape. So I'm gonna create more of an oval. So let's bring this out here just a little bit so we can figure out a good shape that works for a sun flare. And this is something, again, that you could mess around with for hours, which I have done in the past many times. So that looks pretty good, but I'm gonna turn this. I'm gonna turn the shape so we're running, I got a 45-degree from the truck. All right, so we're almost losing that fall-off in the grill. Let's bring it down just a tiny bit. And if this looks good, we'll keep it. If not, we'll just get rid of it. Because I think most importantly, you're gonna wanna see the Ford emblem up here in the grill rather than a sun flare, 'cause branding is everything. I can't believe how slow this is going. It's kind of insane. All right, so like I said, you could spend hours doing this. It's not working out right now, so I'm gonna get rid of it. Maybe we can come back, you know, later and figure something else out, but let's just get rid of the flare. 'Cause like I said, key is just this Ford badge up here. So let's not lose that. All right. Once you're happy with your photo and your preset and if you're stoked on it, what I normally do and how to save a preset is come up here to the left side under presets, click this plus button, create preset, and you can name it whatever you want. I always name it from kind of normally what I was doing on the shoot or where I was or what I was doing. So I always name it AB underscore, and I'll do AB workshop rollers. And usually, I could do backlit, but I'll just keep it at that just because yeah, I'll probably have another preset that we can throw on and then I could just do rollers, too. So create and yeah. And now it will be in your sideline over here and you can use that whenever you want. So that's how you make a preset and you can use that in basically all the other imagery throughout the entire project. So I got it.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Automotive Presets

Ratings and Reviews

Ben Waugh
 

Worth Every Cent! Keen For More! This was awesome, definitely keen to see more of these in the future! Keep them coming dude! Loved seeing your edit breakdown and workflow. Would love to see some more of the behind the scenes of planning a shoot too - @benwaugh

Allison Gregory
 

From Zero to Hero Awesome workshop to not only get my first taste of automotive shoots, but I am walking away with a shoot set-up and planned to create speck work and present brands with decks. I loved how Aaron really explained everything he was doing. He rocks.

Adrian Mirabal
 

Amazing and WORTH IT! I have followed Aaron Brimhall for a while now and when I saw he was releasing a workshop I knew I had to get it! If you are wanting to shoot anything in motion or automotive action this is the workshop for you!

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