The Making of Our SM Presets
05/01 Lifestyle

The Making of Our SM Presets

Some of our favorite before and afters and a Q+A with the makers

Earlier this week, we released our first-ever collection of Studio McGee presets! In collaboration with interior and lifestyle photographer Jessica Kettle, this project has been a long time in the making, and we couldn't be more excited that they are out in the world! Made to bring out the best in your designs in as little as one click, each preset reflects a different interior feeling.

Today, we wanted to dive deeper into the process of creating them with a Q+A from our founder, Shea McGee, and photographer Jessica Kettle. Plus, we needed an excuse to show off some of our favorite #studiomcgeepreset photos from our customers! Keep scrolling to learn more about the process and see some impressive before and afters.

Don’t forget to tag #studiomcgeepresets in your posts!

Founder Shea McGee:

What do you think is the most challenging aspect of shooting interiors, and how do these presets work to meet that?

When Syd and I first started Studio McGee I was both the designer and photographer. Editing was always the most time consuming part of the process, and I would have done anything to get my photos to look cohesive quickly. Our photos of our work were one of the biggest drivers of growing our social media, and I wanted to create a tool that made it easier for designers today to streamline that process. 

Screen Shot 2020-05-01 at 10.04.01 AM.png
Photo by @ lightanddwell

Photo by @lightanddwell

How do you use the presets now that you’re not photographing your designs?

Even now that I have the opportunity to work with lots of amazing photographers, I still need to edit my own photos. No matter how much you grow, you want to have a simple way to showcase your brand. Even if it’s a quick snap in my kitchen for an Instagram story, I want it to look cohesive. When we were testing these presets, I used them on all of my photos, and I still do! I truly do believe in them. 

What was most important to you when working on these presets?

I love interior photos that feel like capturing natural light, but I also want to pay attention to the contrast in wood tones and not wash everything out. I wanted to create something that enhanced the natural beauty of the room but didn’t feel like you were putting a filter on it. 

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Photo by  @brittanymakes

What was the inspiration behind the range of presets in the bundle?

It was important to me that we created different presets for each mood in the home. When I started outlining the presets, I looked at the different types of interiors we design and categorized them by moods. Then, we met each one with a preset solution that enhanced the feeling. For example, “Airy,” was inspired by some of our more cool-toned, coastal designs, while “Modern,” was inspired by the higher contrast, more rustic mountain homes we design. We imagined what photographing these different types of spaces would entail, and created from there. 

Photo by  @ann_marie_co

What is your personal favorite Studio McGee preset?

I love them all, but right now I am using “Organic,” and “Classic” a lot in my own home. I love how clean and bright they are while still bringing out the different wood tones.

Interior photographer Jessica Kettle:

What do you think the key is to capturing interiors in beautiful, raw ways?

Intentional use of light!  You can shoot the same room at various times of the day and the images will feel totally different in mood and style. Light is an ever present, dynamic subject in every shoot so I love to use that to my advantage. I especially love using harsh, direct light as an intentional part of a composition, even though it's a bit uncommon.  I think it adds so much life and a sense of personality to interiors. 

What was the intention and inspiration behind the Studio McGee + Jessica Kettle presets?

Around the time I released my first set of presets, I shot the Modern Lake House project with the Studio McGee team. I was so inspired by Shea’s investment in the shooting process and her exacting attention to detail. Of course, that carries over into the final, edited photos and I wanted to make sure that everything turned out perfectly.  I have been thinking about these presets ever since that shoot a year and a half ago - so seeing these come together so beautifully has been so rewarding! 

Photo by @ steve.looper

Photo by @steve.looper

Do you have any tips for getting the best use out of these presets and how to make them work in different settings or lighting situations?

We really wanted to create presets that, as a collection, would meet the needs of almost any situation and result in a polished final image. While of course everyone will land on a couple of favorite presets that become part of their standard editing process, I’d encourage people to keep playing with each preset to see how they work in various settings! For example,  even if you typically like the higher contrast of our presets “modern” or “light,” there will be times that “soft” will be the perfect solution for harsh light and shadows. They are built to be cohesive, so there is no need to feel married to just one favorite for the sake of consistency!

Photo by @ erinmessnerdesign

What is your personal favorite Studio McGee + Jess Kettle preset?

It’s so hard to choose just one! But “classic” is so clean and versatile, and I love the bright whites and the extra boost of contrast I get from “light!” I tend to start with those two most often.

More on Studio McGee Presets

How are Studio McGee + Jess Kettle Presets different than other presets?

Most presets on the market cater to photos of people and tend to look trendy, over-edited, and change the colors too drastically to use on interiors. Our presets are clean, accurate, and classic - they enhance the image naturally while also capturing the tones of the wood and the hue of the paint colors correctly. When you are looking at interior photos, you want to see a professional image of the space and the design, you don’t want to see a filter.  Which I really think we have achieved with these presets!