SH Presets Usage


The time has come for me to share something incredibly significant and important. There a whole bunch of things many content creators don’t really want to reveal, however, I’ll share with you my editing experience I’ve been working on for more than two years.

I believe anyone can find something valuable in what I’m about to share with you guys, but I’d like this to be particularly useful for the young photographers and content creators.

Everyday I receive many messages about photography, its technique and what is it exactly I do when I edit my photos. So here it goes! Thank you for purchasing my preset pack. It’s my pleasure to help both, new and maybe even seasoned photographers, to learn something new.
I’d like to make it clear that my main focus is on the newbie photographers, so few of the following things  may seem boring to some of you, however stick around for more advanced advice later on.

Presets are not a bad photography practice as opposed to what many would say. It’s a way of taking a look at everything from a different point of view. Not only concerning photography, but also in helping you to recognize your own style. Presets allow you to constantly create beautiful branding.

That’s why feel free to use these presets while you’re still navigating your own handwriting when it comes to edits.
They are unique as they’ve been developed and built on all the possible conditions of nature in Latvia. In doing so, I’ve made it easy for you to deal with many types of photos. Inspired by the world’s greatest Instagram nature photographers as Alex Strohl, Benjamin Hardman, Rodrigo Trevino, etc. they are not far-fetched from the work of these personalities. Nevertheless they are not made as an example of their work.
SH presets were created to represent style that’s relevant nowadays.

You always have the option to use any of my presets, but my best advice is to create your own!


Exposure changes the level of light apparent in a photograph, it lightens or darkens the entirety of a photograph which allows you to choose a happy place where my presets can rest and do their job excellently as opposed to being too bright or too dark, a good exposure, or even a well-edited over/under exposure can make all the difference in the starting off point for your edits.

Highlights change the level of only the lightest points apparent in a photograph.
So anywhere you see light (from a window, through a tree, over a landscape) it will lighten and soften that point based on where you slide the knob on the bar.
If you slide it down it won’t technically darken the highlights but rather wash them out and make them faded. This is an important tool as well for spot-checking light in your photographs.

The same said for highlights can be said again for Shadows except for in the forms of darker spots throughout your photos (areas around a window, trees, back side of a landscape) it will darken and deepen the points based on where you slide the knob on the bar. If you slide it up it won’t technically lighten the spots but wash them out and make them faded.

This is a highly important tool to keep in mind when editing. Your camera may shoot differently than my, pick up different colors, the time of day may be different, there are any number of factors that effect temperature but it has a massive hold on how I edit.

Most typically my temperature is between 5.500K and 5.800K on the slider bar. A perfect balance of not too cold or too warm but right in that sweet default spot. You may need to adjust this to see how the base color (from blue to yellow) affects your initial photograph.

You can do this Before applying a preset to see how it affects the non-edited photograph. This helps you understand if a photo may be too hot or too cold before applying it to any given preset. You may want your photo warmer or colder based on the mood you’re trying to elicit.

Tint isn’t something I often use so I will brush over it basically: it helps change the greens and purples apparent in a photo, making a photo a bit more whimsical either way I feel. So I try to keep it natural as possible once again in the sweet spot. It can also be changed to evoke different feeling but does not often work well with any of my presets or most natural photographs.

Clarity is the last key to puzzle for me in the Basic development box. It allows all of your pixels to be picked up and hardened to give your image a crisp and sharp feel, making individual pixels contrasted while not contrasting the entirety of the image. Too much clarity can make a picture seem cartoony or overly highlighted, too little and a picture can seem dreamy or hazy – and not in a good way. I tend to push it a little down or up (-12 or +12) in photos to bring out the best of those little details we often miss.

This is where you have the space for your own take on photography. To make things more interesting for you, the colors were...

This is definitely one of my favorite lightroom panels! Two years ago I wasn’t even aware of its existence, not until I stumbled upon it by accident and started to explore it. If you still don’t know about this setting, you can find it below the title “Split tones”.

When you’re just starting out I recommend to not go overboard with the settings of this panel. Over the course of many months it was my biggest mistake. For starters I’d suggest not to change the settings I’ve already. First and foremost I you should learn the ins and outs of split tones. The tones and their saturation is fit for any circumstances.  

If you feel sure about this and want to explore more of split tones, set the saturation to (+50) and with the Color Picker search for a suitable color for your photo that matches your taste or desired mood. When you’ve found your respective color, don’t set the saturation above (+20). The best settings are (+10,+15 for highlights | +5, +10 for shadows).

On the topic of colors and their strength I told you about this previously. Highlights and shadows deepen.

The last thing I want to mention is the Detail panel. The most essential settings for me here are Sharpening (Amount) and Masking (with the exception of Noise Reduction). It's important for me to talk about this panel because these are not automatically set in the preset pack. I recommend using these settings based on the respective photo. However, the way it goes for me usually is Sharpening Amount (+45) and Masking (+55). On rare occasions I use Noise Reduction as well, if necessary.

01 SH

This preset is foundation of everything I've created in the past two years.
It was created by travelling around Latvia and shooting Latvia nature. That's why it works for every photo and is pretty useful when it comes to creating a consistent looking gallery.
I've used it for my personal needs and for client work as well.
It has a soft and modern look inspired by the top notch Instagram nature photographers. However all the settings were adapted for photos of Latvia nature.


This one was inspired by a place I've spent many years at - the sea. The preset has red and rosy tones that cover the sand part of the photo and makes it much warmer. As I take my photos only in the mornings or evenings this preset goes well with sunrises and sunsets.
When making this beautiful compilation of colors I was looking for the exactly right tones and tints for Latvia nature, it took many years to perfect this preset.
If editing with this preset, I suggest using Tones panel only until you find your personal style of colors so all of your photos would look consistent.

02, 04 (NO FILTER)

When creating these presets and customizing them for Latvia nature – forests, seas, alleys, etc., I carefully picked and used so called “filters” on all four sides of the photo to make it look a little softer. Especially for Latvia nature. Not always they are necessary, so I made a version without them that comes in handy just as often.

Untitled design (5).png


Inspired by little summer project “Surf”.




Unrealised summer 2018 preset. (Space for imagination)


In the end, photography is meant to represent your vision, not mine.

Especially in regard to artistic vision, it's imperative for anyone's growth they practice their own styles, try new things, play around and fail to eventually find the subtle beauty that's so prominent in the idea of storytelling.

You have a story to tell, and how you tell it is not as important as living it in the first place.

If you make any photos with my presets and are interested in sharing them with me, please do so by tagging me in the pictures or send them to me in direct messages via Instagram or email: or use hashtag #SHpresets

Every once in a while I'll  make sure to feature some of my favorite user photos made with my presets!

Feel free to share as I love to see what and how you create.

I wish you happy shooting!

Warm thank you!


Sandis HelvigsComment