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Epic Soccer Stadium: From Bland To Grand In 10 Seconds With The SLR Lounge Preset System

By Anthony Thurston on April 15th 2015

Last Saturday was opening night for the third season of the National Women’s Soccer League, and their flagship team, the Portland Thorns. While down on the sideline, I took this flat, bland and boring image with my Sony A7 II and the Zeiss 24-70mm F/4 ZA OSS.


As you can see, the sky is dull and almost grayed out, and the colors of the field and player jerseys are not very vibrant. I wanted a shot that captured the energy and scope of the stadium. The above shot obviously does none of those things and is honestly a pretty forgettable image as is.

[REWIND: Post Processing: Adobe Lightroom Presets Or Photoshop Actions?]

Luckily, I have the SLR Lounge Preset System because with just one click and a few adjustments, I was able to take this bland, and boring image and turn it into something that catches your attention.


As you can see from the processed final image, it is overall much more impactful. The sky is dynamic and has depth, the field, players and crowd pop with a nice touch of color. Overall, it is a nice image capturing the most unique women’s soccer atmosphere in the world. This is how I processed it.

Processing the Stadium Shot


To take my image from bland to grand, I simply used one preset, 31b: Color+Blue&Green Kick. That one preset, which is just one click, formed the primary basis for the vibrant and colorful image you saw above.

Following the base preset, I thought that the sky could use a little extra boost. So I grabbed the gradient tool and used the #12 Sky & Cloud preset (another great SLR Lounge Preset System preset) and dragged it over the sky.


I thought I had a pretty good image, but one thing was bothering me. Some of the sideline advertising banners were on the bottom left portion of my shot, and it was distracting me from the rest of the image.

I simply used a quick crop to crop out the ad banner, and I was finished. The whole process literally took me a total of 20 seconds. The actual processing, using the base and gradient presets, took about 10 seconds. Quick, easy, and hard to argue with the results.


Final Result

  •  Before  After

*Roll Over Image to See the Before and After. *

As you can see, thanks to the SLR Lounge Preset System, I was able to take a rather dull, boring, and generally uninteresting RAW image, and turn it into a vibrant image full of impact and life.

You can learn more about the SLR Lounge Preset System by checking out the SLR Lounge Store, here. I can honestly day that I use it for the vast majority of my images thanks to it being so quick and easy. So be sure to check it out today!

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Peter Nord

    Raw images are plain out of the camera – all the special sauce is withheld – and require post processing. The photographer is supposed to be skilled in applying various levels of post processing thus creating/developing a successful image from the raw file. Is using canned presets for vivid results, developed by some third party, any different from setting the camera to produce a jpg file with a camera setting of vivid (just a canned preset designed by the camera company engineers)? I’m not making a value judgement of one path or the other. Just thinking about various canned post techniques versus being a trained/skilled retoucher brings to mind a number of questions. I’ll leave it to you to dream up your questions and answers. I think I’m not skilled enough for raw and will stick with camera company picture settings.

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    • Matt Owen

      I don’t want to sound like a shill, but with this system it actually is different, because the presets are stackable, meaning you can create multiple combinations on the same image, and you retain full adjustment control after the fact. If the saturation is too much for your taste after the preset, dial it back. If it’s too much in your camera company produced .jpg, well, tough. Don’t think you aren’t skilled enough for raw; you can become fairly proficient in any of the processing applications in just a few hours.

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    • adam sanford

      Peter, the distinction here is that Anthony made a *choice* to apply that preset. He didn’t have to use that preset depending on what each shot needed.

      In contrast, choosing a specific JPG picture style or white balance permanently burns fidelity and latitude for correctability in post.

      I recommend you shoot RAW + JPG unless you shoot action and are buffer-constrained. If you nail it in-camera, mazel tov — use it. If you don’t, drop the RAW into a simple tool like Adobe Camera Raw (even LR is too congested for me) and tweak your levels, pull in your highlights, change your WB, adjust your sharpness appropriate for your ISO, and presto. Worth every second of the 2-3 minutes I spend per shot.

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  2. Graham Curran

    I have the presets and this is a nice tutorial on how to make use of some of them. Thanks.

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  3. Thavy1930 Thavy1930

    uptil I saw the draft which had said $5701 , I have faith that my neighbour was like realey bringing in money part-time on their apple laptop. . there sisters roommate had bean doing this less than twenty months and at present repayed the loans on their place and bourt a great Renault 5 . try here……………


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  4. adam sanford

    Good walkthrough!

    Reining in viciously bright backgrounds like this is a common RAW move for me. Where I struggle is in how far to push saturation and vibrance *after* you’ve tamed the sky. There is something arcade-like or ‘produced’ when you jack up the field and the sky in such a fashion. It’s a bit unnatural to my eye (but others might love it).

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