Sleeklens Presets Review

So a few weeks ago SleekLens got in touch with me about reviewing their “Strike a Pose” presets and brushes for Lightroom. Now, I’m not a big preset user. When I first stared using Lightroom and was learning how to edit I used them quite a bit. Now I’ve got a certain look that I like to go for and have made my own presets that suite my needs. Now, I did learn a lot about editing by reverse engineering presets that I had purchased.

SleekLens Strike a Pose collection contains 65 different presets including all in one presets, base, exposure, color, tone, polish and vignette presets. I’m not a big user of the all in one presets as they can be hard to adjust in Lightroom. I did quite like the Auto Tone Color preset as a starting point. For the images below I used the auto tone color preset, and then a mixture of other presets. For the first one I used Auto Color, More Highlights, Color Pop, Burne from the brushes and Golden haze from the brushes. Here is the before, straight out of camera,

and here is after using the sleeklens.

So in this case its a subtle difference. Here is another example where my image was super under exposed and flat straight out of camera. This was getting close to the end of our session, the sun was getting really low but I loved the relaxed feeling we had in this portrait. In the after image you’ll notice that I removed the young girl.

Here is after using the Auto Color Tone, more highlights, I used the peach haze very very lightly, and the Burne brush.

The cool thing about these presets is that they are stackable. Meaning I can go down the list, click on my favorite ones and they stack, one does not replace the other. So my Base stacks to my Exposure which stacks to my color and so on, so it’s not one click but it is a few very fast few clicks. These are  not one click edits to be sure, as none of them are. But the do create an amazing starting point where you can then make small tweaks to get them right where you want them. Or if you’re more advanced you can spend a lot of time making some pretty dramatic images.  So, go check out and check out the collections for Lightroom or Photoshop. Here are a few links for you to follow over to Sleeklens, 

All images were shot with Nikon D610, Sigma 24-70 2.8

for more information on booking your engagement session with Armato Photography contact us here,

Live Concerts at the 8x10 in Baltimore

So I got the fun call to come and shoot a live concert at the 8x10 club in Federal Hill, Baltimore. This was as much an opportunity to push my D4 to some serious low light limits as it was a chance to try out Sigma’s Art series lenses. I needed a lens that would allow me to shoot at 1.4-1.6 in close to pitch black and still be tack sharp. My Nikon 50mm 1.4 let me down big time at the first show. I wasn’t able to shoot any wider than 2.8 unless I wanted fuzzy images with tons of chromatic aberration.  So long story short, I rented the Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art and came very close to not returning it and just let them charge me. I shot pretty much the whole show between 1.4-2.0 depending on how much I wanted in focus, at an iso between 5000-10000.  The colors were amazing, focus was tack sharp, contrast was great. Needles to say I can’t wait to put a 35mm and 50mm Art series in my bag.

With any other set up than my trusty D4 and that lens I would have been sweating bullets when the only light options I had were red, green or blue rotating stage lights, with the occasional white light every now and then. The D4 shoots like a dream at super high ISO so I had total confidence it would do it’s job. Paired with a kickass piece of glass and it’s a tank. It also weighs the same as a tank, so thats a downside. Anyway enough of my ramble, here’s the shots. This is the band Slow Lights, based out of Montgomery county Maryland. 

So, if you want to shoot live concerts, a camera with top ISO performance and a fast, tack sharp piece of glass will do the job. I would highly suggest heading over to and renting one to try first. If you want to hear some great music head over to this bands page and check them out! To book us for your live concert or event contact us at [email protected], book us for your headshots now as well

Tech info, images shot with Nikon D4, Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art

Boyds, Maryland Wedding

I often get called to come and second shoot/assist with other photographers in my area. It’s tons of fun as I get to work some killer talent pick up on some new tricks. The other great thing about being a second is that generally the lead photographer is handling the formal portraits so I get a chance to capture the same scene but from some different angles. I also get to catch a lot of candids of the guests, and the bride and groom while other portraits are being taken.  Here is a small collection from a recent wedding I shot along side Rachael Boer (Rachael Boer Photography) while we worked together in Boyds Maryland.

Hope you enjoyed! If you’d like more information on booking Armato Photography for your engagement or wedding, please contact us through our site!

For you techie folks, digital images were shot with Nikon D4, Sigma 24-70 2.8, Tamron 70-200 2.8. Film images were shot with Hasselblad H1, 80mm 2.8 with Fuji 400H rated at 200, Nikon F100 with Nikon 50mm 1.4, Kodak Tmax 400. Film is all processed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab in Los Angeles.

Using Format