She refers to herself as a “tiny, brown Colombian” who loves nature and giggles all the time. Some of you know her as an amazingly talented artist from the photography community, one of the Rangefinder Magazine’s 30 Rising Stars. Others have had the chance to meet her in person at various workshops or Photo Field Trips. Or perhaps, you’ve recently stumbled upon her brilliant and gone viral blog post with 8 Tips to Rock Your Couple Session. Obviously, we’re speaking about Katch Silva, and there’s one more remarkable thing you need to know about her! She creates the most beautiful presets, inspired by natural colors and vibes, to help you get that stunning film look for your photography.
Hey Katch, where did the idea of creating your own presets come from?
I’ve always struggled to find presets out there that were the perfect fit for my style. I would love certain aspects of a certain preset but really dislike other aspects. So I ended up tweaking them a ton and what I was left with was a mess of tweaks and changes. I decided instead to start from scratch, study the tones that I loved, and work to bring those in to my own editing. The presets happened accidentally at first, and when people started asking about my editing, I decided to perfect them and make them available to everyone.
Tell us a bit more about the Katch presets. What inspires you to create each new set? Who is it meant for?
The initial idea came from a desire to speed up my workflow without having to tweak other presets I used in the past. Then the real creative inspiration hit when I realized I had a few distinct ways of editing my own personal/creative work. I looked through my personal work for the year and realized that there were certain categories that my editing fell into, and those eventually became each preset!
I want my presets to be a starting point for you to perfect your own editing, not a one-click magical solution for all your work (there is no such thing honestly). I don’t want everyone out there to have the “Katch Silva Look”, and I hope you don’t want that either! My intention is to help speed up your process, and give you a great starting point to draw out your best tones.
Can you show us a few Before/After examples?
Which presets pack is your favorite?
Katch 1 is definitely my favorite preset. It is what I use to edit all of my couple and wedding work. I find that it works really well for the way I expose and the way I shoot. Of course, for different light I do add a couple of tweaks here and there, but it is my most universal preset (for my style of work!)
What did you use before creating your own presets?
I tried a lot of things for years! My background is in more commercial photography, so my first year I edited everything in Photoshop only with my own simple curves, but it was never consistent! Through the years I’ve tried many others out there, and while they’ve had plenty of great attributes, I was never really completely happy with any of them. Of course my style is ever-evolving, and I’m already cooking up new presets to add to Katch Presets for next year!
Any useful piece of advice for all those who love and follow your work?
Whether you choose to use presets or not, and no matter what presets you use, please remember this: We all shoot very differently, expose very differently, and prefer different types of light and tones. So don’t expect a one-click edit for everything. I highly encourage you to become familiar with Lightroom and how to actually manipulate your editing to get what you want. If you like a preset, learn what it does, study every aspect of it (tone curve, HSL, split toning, details, etc) and figure out what it is you like about it. This will help you greatly in the long run, to solve issues that pop up with tricky light, difficult skin tones, conflicting hues, etc. And we’re all ever-evolving humans, so don’t forget to experiment until you find what you love!
There is a saying, when you truly want something, you will find 99 ways to do it. If you are afraid of doing something or when your heart is not in it, you will find 99 excuses not to do it. It’s all in your hands, dare to experiment, try out new things, learn new skills, go on adventures! And always remember to be kind to yourself.