Presets: Lightroom and Aperture
Apparently there’s been some buzz lately about the benefits and detriments of using presets, and I thought I’d through in my two cents. Presets potentially can lead to laziness as cited by others, but they can also increase workflow depending on how you setup your presets. Having a goal in mind for a specific look when your shooting allows for better use of presets – especially if you have building blocks for getting things in the right direction.
One possible point of the different opinions may be the areas in which people are working. I tend to feel that you should be able to use a set of presets on a given project at a minimum in order to maintain a consistent look and feel. For catalog work presets work beautifully for batch processing while shooting tethered. For advertising it may make a little less sense to rely on presets to get the job done because you probably need something a little different, and you’re probably not working on a large body of work. The being said a lot of people use series of actions in photoshop to increase workflow and effectively work much like presets.
In short I think if used appropriately they are a huge benefit once you develop a style or a set of styles, as long as you aren’t afraid to experiment outside those presets when needed.