Hey guys!! SURPRISE!! I have 2 more free Lightroom Presets for you! I created these specifically for Adobe while I was in New York with them recently for a trip where I got to meet their whole team and the rest of the Adobe Insiders (which I originally posted about here if you haven’t seen it!) and I’m so excited to share them.
But first, I want to share a little bit about what happened on that trip. First of all, it is an absolute dream to be working with Adobe. My mom introduced me to Photoshop when I was about 9 years old. She was a graphics designer for my dad’s video game company, and she would doodle and color for fun in Photoshop sometimes and I would sit and watch for hours. I thought it was absolute magic that you could color like that on a computer. As soon as I was old enough for my first laptop, mom shared Photoshop with me so I could start experimenting—I was hooked. Fast forward to my entire bizarre career as a content creator in Second Life, where I used Photoshop to create texture maps for all my 3D clothing designs and ads, fast forward further to when I threw myself into photography and fell in love with Lightroom, and then even FURTHER to when I was asked to join the Adobe Insiders team (thank you @velvetspectrum for recommending me!!) and I found myself at Adobe’s NYC headquarters sharing my photography with a room full of incredibly talented and inspiring humans, all a bit beside ourselves (and starstruck).
A lot happened on that trip, but what meant the most to me was our very first meeting as a group. Each member of the Insiders team was asked to present their work to the room. The “room” was all the Insiders (about 12 of us), and Adobe’s marketing, creative and development teams. They displayed examples of our work on a big screen at the head of a large conference table and we were each supposed to give a little background about ourselves, what we do, and why. Everyone nailed it--then it was my turn. The photos I was presenting were taken during times of intense healing. There was the shot I took in Beth’s kitchen in Chattanooga. It was one of the first times I opened up to her about abuse and learned that she went through it too. It was the first time I felt not alone in the most shameful thing I'd ever admitted to another human being. There was the shot from a gathering in my backyard, one of the first I hosted after Kappel passed away where dear friends showed up for me and I felt like everything was really going to be ok for the first time. There was a shot from my road trip out west where I was overwhelmed by hope and healing in the most powerful way I'd experienced yet. I was on the edge of a cliff in Zion National Park and I felt clean and free. So I’m standing at the front of this conference room trying to present the technical sides of my photography…desperately wanting to seem professional, concise and empowered, all the while staring at these images that represented monumental steps on my journey. Professional? HA!! I broke down. I rushed through my presentation trying not to sob, and AY. I face-palmed all the way back to my seat.
Here's the best part. Rani Mani, Adobe's Head of Social Influencer Enablement, who was sitting front and center during my sob fest, pulled me aside and thanked me. She said I gave the room permission to be vulnerable. I was shocked. I was so emotional that I couldn’t even remember getting out one clear sentence. But after Rani spoke those words, I thought hard about what had just happened. Why was I so embarrassed? I was so UTTERLY preoccupied with wanting to come off as a “professional” who “had it together”, I’d completely forgotten why I do this in the first place—what makes it all worth sharing at all. I was asked to present my work and where it comes from. It comes from a broken mess filled with healing and hope. It comes from tripping and getting up again and again, most of the time being HELPED UP by other humans on the same path. It comes from being absolutely clumsy while learning to have courage, to possess joy, to love. The beautiful parts aren’t beautiful without that mess. And I just don’t know how any of that could come together “professionally”. I needed to be reminded. Thank you Rani for being such a ray of sunshine with the biggest heart and the purest vision of what vulnerability is. You encouraged me more deeply than you know!
So after that, confidence renewed, me and James Beck wandered New York (I got to show him all my favorite spots) and we took a bunch of photos that I would use to create these 2 presets for you guys, and for Adobe to share with their Lightroom community! I hope you enjoy them, loves! <3
P.S. There’s a PDF explaining exactly how to use them in the zip file!
And preview them here (click to see all of the examples)!