Desaturated colors have a beauty that’s often under-utilized by photographers. Some photographers use film because of the muted colors it gives, others use color profiles like Classic Chrome on Fujifilm cameras for a similar effect.
The Faded Glory presets bring these ideas into Lightroom so you can apply faded colors and muted tones to your photos. Use these presets when you want to create photos with subtle, desaturated colors and soft tones (click the link to buy them from our store).
Introducing the Faded Glory presets
There’s a total of 43 presets included in the package, plus some extra functional presets that do things like reset the sliders or remove Graduated Filters.
- There are 30 Faded Glory presets. Each one gives you a different faded look.
- There are six Clarity presets for applying Clarity globally (you can also use the Clarity slider in the Basic panel).
- There are seven Grain presets for adding grain to your photos.
I’ve designed the Faded Glory presets to be quick and easy to use. The rest of the lesson shows you how to get the best out of them.
How to develop photos in Lightroom with the Faded Glory presets
1. Select the photo you want to work on and go to the Develop module. You’ll find it easiest to work with the right and left panels visible (see below). Make sure the Presets panel on the left is open, and that you can see the Faded Glory Presets folder. In this example, you can see the photo as it came out of the camera, without any retouching.
2. Hover the mouse over the list of presets. As you do so, Lightroom shows a preview of what your photo looks like with the preset applied in the Navigator panel.
3. If you like a preset, click on it to apply it to your photo. Feel free to click on as many presets as you need to find the one you like best.
The screenshot below shows the result of applying the Faded Glory 29 preset.
In practice, and depending upon the photo you are developing, you’ll probably find that between five and ten of the presets work well, and that the rest probably won’t. This is normal and nothing to be concerned about.
Tweaking the settings
Now you’ve selected a preset, then what? I’ve designed the Faded Glory Presets to give good results with a single click, but realistically there may still be some work to do to get the best out of your photo.
For example, you might find that you like the color treatment of a particular preset, but the image is too dark. In that case, just increase Exposure or move the Shadows slider to right.
Or you might find that you like a preset but the vignetting is too heavy. Try moving the Post-Crop Vignetting sliders until you are happy with the effect.
You can also experiment with Contrast, to see how your photos look when more or less of it is applied.
What the Faded Glory presets do to your photos
The Faded Glory presets are split into three groups. Understanding this, and which settings the preset in each group effect, helps you use them more creatively.
The first group (Faded Glory 1 – Faded Glory 10) tend to create light, bright images. They work best on photos that have a naturally high contrast (like photos taken in bright sunlight). Clarity is set to zero for all of these presets, and there is no vignetting.
The second group (Faded Glory 11 – Faded Glory 20) tend to create darker images. Vignetting is applied and again, Clarity is set to zero.
The zero Clarity setting means the first twenty Faded Glory presets are ideal for portraits and photos shot with prime lenses at wide apertures.
The third group (Faded Glory 21 – Faded Glory 30) create a grittier effect. They apply Clarity to the photo and are ideal for photos where most of the subject is in sharp focus.
The Faded Glory Preset workflow
This is the workflow that I recommend for the Faded Glory Presets.
1. Apply one of the 30 Faded Glory Presets to your photo.
2. Decide whether to apply Clarity globally or locally, or not at all (remember that Clarity has already been applied globally if you use any of the Faded Glory 21 –Faded Glory 30 presets).
3. If applying Clarity globally, use the Clarity control presets or the Clarity slider in the Basic panel.
4. If applying Clarity locally, use the Adjustment Brush.
5. Make other local adjustments using the Adjustment Brush, Graduated Filter or Radial Filter.
6. If required, add Grain using the Grain presets.
Faded Glory preset example
Here’s an example of the workflow in action. I started by applying the Faded Glory 3 preset to the photo in the screenshot below.
I decided to apply Clarity to the sharp parts of the photo, leaving the blurred parts unchanged. The Adjustment Brush is the best tool for masking irregular shapes. The screenshot below shows the mask I created with the Adjustment Brush.
I moved the Clarity slider right to increase texture and detail in the area masked by the Adjustment Brush. I also moved the Shadows slider right to compensate for the way increasing Clarity made the masked area darker.
Here’s a closer look at the Adjustment Brush sliders that I moved.
Then I used the Post-Crop Vignette tool to darken the edges of the photo using a vignette.
These are the sliders I adjusted.
You can see the subtle difference that the local adjustments have made below.
Applying Clarity globally
If the entire photo is sharp, you can apply Clarity globally using the Clarity Control presets. Alternatively, you can use the Clarity slider in the Basic panel. Either way is fine. This is what the presets look like.
Below is a photo to which I applied the Faded Glory 19 preset. As the entire subject is in focus you can apply Clarity globally.
This is the result after setting Clarity to +40 with the Clarity control presets. Don’t forget you may also need to move the Shadows slider in the Basic panel right to brighten the image afterwards.
Digital cameras produce saturated colors at high ISO settings. With film, this isn’t case. As the ISO goes up, color saturation decreases. The result is photos with desaturated colors and lots of grain. Some photographers in the past deliberately used high grain film to take advantage of this (Sarah Moon and Robert Farber are two big names who did so).
I’ve included seven grain presets with the Faded Glory presets to help you emulate this style of photography.
Note: The grain presets are not designed to emulate specific films. If you’re looking for an accurate film emulation then I recommend VSCO presets.
Zoom into 1:1 to judge the effect of the Grain preset. The screenshot below shows the result of applying the Add Grain 7 preset, the strongest in the set (the before version is on the left, the after version on the right). You can see the large clumps of grain, and the way they soften the image and removes detail. The idea is to show you how a portrait inspired by Robert Farber’s muted nude studies might look.
This is the result.
How to buy the Faded Glory presets
I use the Faded Glory presets to develop my own photos in Lightroom and I know you will find them useful as well. You can buy the presets from our store using the link below.
If you have any questions about the presets, or any aspect of developing photos in Lightroom, please let us know in the comments.