Your photography is a creative endeavor any way you look at it. It’s an expression of vision, of insight, of perception, of self. That’s about as personal as you can possibly get, so it sort of begs the question to be asked, ‘Why would we ever use mass market presets to make our images a little less individual?’
The argument against presets is good sport, if you like shooting fish in a barrel, and there will no doubt be a group who think themselves purists who will speak of their ills until death. The fact of the matter is though, they are here, they exist, are widely used and loved, and there’s no getting away from that. One only needs to look as far as VSCO to see how far the preset net is cast, and how many people are under it. But aside from VSCO, and our own Lightroom Preset System, most of the systems I see tend to be marginally different from one another, and offer little in the way of uniqueness. Lens Distortions is quite a different take.
Lens Distortions is a Photoshop plug-in that offers the look and effects of artistic lens blurs, defocused areas, and light leaks, at the click of a button. The creative effect and ability this provides is undeniable, often giving your images the look as if you’ve artistically configured an object or glass shard in front of the lens for more visual interest.
The company’s Legacy Collection pack has 30 Photoshop actions and 30 light leak files in the form of PNGs. As a simple matter of drag and drop onto an image and then positing how you’d like, it couldn’t be easier, and allows for quick manipulation and distressing of your image.
While I haven’t tried them yet for myself, from what I’ve seen, they appear extremely tempting. It’s one of the few of its type that seems to be full of promise and actually nicely done. Of course, this comes with an inherent problem, and that’s the temptation to use it will be likely so great, that there will no doubt be a torrent of people who will apply this to every one of their photos, leaving behind them a wake of identical images. But, if you are considerate, you can apply this to your stuff to great effect, with a little subtlety.