Many photographers look for ways to save time in post, while also creating images with a consistent ‘look’ that they prefer. This short article provides simple instructions on how to create a preset in DxO PhotoLab or OpticsPro.
The photographs used in this article were captured yesterday afternoon during a very short visit to Hendrie Valley. All of the Great Blue Heron images are from a single AFC run captured at 10 fps, shooting in Manual mode with Auto ISO 160-3200, using Continuous Auto Focus with Subject Tracking, and Vibration Reduction turned off.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
The first step in setting up a preset is to determine if you plan to finish your image in PhotoLab/OpticsPro, or if you will be exporting it into another program like Lightroom or Photoshop for additional corrections. Working with additional programs will likely affect how you set up your preset.
The next step is to open up a RAW file in DxO PhotoLab (or OpticsPro). I always allow the program to make its typical ‘auto adjustments’ based on the camera body and lens used to capture the image as this automatically takes care of things like lens distortions.
Using the various sliders execute the adjustments to the photograph that you want to make ‘standard’ with that particular preset you are creating. For example, I set up a ‘V3 standard bird preset’, which I used for all of the images in this article.
My ‘V3 standard bird preset’ includes: Highlights -20, Shadows +10, auto Micro-Contrast, PRIME noise reduction, Lens Sharpness Global 1.20, and Lens Sharpness Detail 70. These adjustments are designed to bring typical bird images close to where they need to be so I can make final adjustments to them in CS6 and the Nik Collection.
If you plan on finishing your images in PhotoLab or OpticsPro you would fine tune your presets beyond what I typically do with mine.
After you have all of the settings in DxO PhotoLab or OpticsPro completed for the sample image, click on “Image” in the menu across the top of the page, then click on “Create preset from current settings”. Once you do that a window will open that will allow you to name that specific preset.
After you name the preset, save it, and then it will be ready for future use. It really is that simple. As you become more familiar with the adjustments available in DxO PhotoLab or OpticsPro you may decide to create multiple presets based on subject matter, lighting, camera body or lens used. It takes a bit of effort to initially set up your presets but they will save you hours down the road when working in post.
The gull image below was processed using the same ‘V3 standard bird preset’ that was applied to the Great Blue Heron Images. An important difference between the images was that the heron images needed some fairly aggressive crops compared to the gull photograph.
All photographs were captured hand-held in available light using Nikon 1 gear as per the EXIF data. All images in the article were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO PhotoLab, CS6 and the Nik Collection.
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