I was on sleeklens‘ email subscriber list. I don’t remember how I got myself on it. In trying to simplify my life I got to being ruthless on my incoming emails and I unsubscribed. Shortly afterwards, I received an email from Sleeklens requesting an honest review of their Portrait Retouch actions. I had my choice of ones for Lightroom or Photoshop. It was a tough decision as they both looked good, but I chose the Photoshop version as that has been the primary editing software I have been using lately.
Sleeklens has many Photoshop actions available on their site, and they have a helpful blog for photographers on tips and tricks to use their products and other aspects of photography. They always have sales and a ton of helpful videos for you to see the product in action before you buy.
Now I tend not to use actions to edit my photos as a blanket edit. I tend to use a few specific ones for my needs. The All in Ones actions part of this set will OVERWRITE all your previous layers and flatten your image. No way to go back and adjust a previous adjustment or customize a part of the whole action you just played.
Base actions also flattens your image. It will take care of flattening for you, but again, cannot make changes on previous layers and work. The point of Photoshop is to work in non destructive ways. This defeats that purpose.
The Exposure and Tempurature actions do as they say and are helpful for those beginners or those just not comfortable making changes using the other features in photoshop. This makes it easier for you to make those types of adjustments and they put it on a layer for you to change opacity to your liking.
The Color Correcting actions have a nice cream yellow tone that is really helpful for evening out skin tones among family members especially for newborn portraits. Newborns are still getting their skin tones depending on how many days old they are.
The Portrait Retouch has a few nice actions that I would use. I liked soft glow, and the Rose which adds a nice blush where I need it. Dodge and Burn is nice and many less steps for me to run this action than to do it manually. Frequency Separation is confusing and I couldn’t get it to work right. The instructions are not great. I ran it, but then I had to do what it was supposed to do again on my own? No thank you.
There were “two” vignettes included. The one would give you 4 colors to turn on in your layers. One was blue. When would you use a blue vignette? I would like to see an image where that looks good just out of curiosity. The other vignette is a vintage one which I enjoyed, but is not my editing style and preference. I know there are many photographers out there who would love it.
I have included some samples of a few of these edits. I used them sparingly on an already edited image I had.
This edit I used the portrait retouch actions to add blush to their cheeks with Rose. I also used soft glow on the baby’s skin and I really liked what that action did.
This edit is with the Enhance Tones set of actions. This is the Romantic Dance at a lower opacity.
Sleeklens Review Verdict
This has many nice features, but what I do not use is a lot. I might retry these out in the future on different images. They might be better for on location shoots and not studio which is a more controlled setting. There are a few really nice feature and if you rely on actions for your edits than this would be a good deal on sale.