Monday Presets – Cinematic Midnight Effect

Today I’ve got the first visitor-suggested preset download. Last week I got a ton of ideas and suggestions for presets and one of them came from Julie Mcleod. She suggested the “Midnight” effect from Nik Software’s Color Efex. It turns a daytime photo into something that looks more like it was taken at night. Not totally at night but it’s a cool cinematic styled effect nonetheless. As I usually like to do, there’s a few different levels of the effect that range from light to dark so you have a choice when applying the effect. Many thanks to Julie for the idea. She’ll get a free month subscription to Kelby Training’s online training site. Happy presetting! :)

Click here to see a before/after sample of the preset.
Click here to download Matt’s Midnight Preset


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  1. Thank you very much for these presets! You sure make it easy for a newbie to get great results!!

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  2. Matt,

    Thanks for all the great presets and Lightroom tips. I’m a new convert to Lightroom, and your site has been a great resource. Also, this particular preset? Yeah, it rocks! Wow, it just does something special to certain images, especially some long exposure midnight moon/ocean pictures I took a while back.

    Fantastic! Thanks again,

    Bob M.

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  3. Dear Matt,

    thanks for your clear and kindly tips and advices. Thanks to the RSS-feed, I follow all of your articles.

    Today I had a lovely girl here and tried as starting point one of your presets. Then, I adjusted it to fill my needs.
    Now it’s exactly the effect I was looking for:

    Thank you very much, and keep up the good work! :)
    Greetings from The Netherlands, Hans van Eijsden

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  4. Hi Matt:
    I took your workshop in Page, Arizona in October and loved it. I especially liked all your great teaching about Lightroom and now I am a believer and I use it all the time! The only question I have is whether or not it is possible for you to run the video on your website about Print Settings and Color Management in the Print Module. I know it isn’t hard to grasp, but I am having a bit of a mental block about it. I am taking a photography class in Los Angeles and showed a photo I took of a boy in Panama, who ended up having green blotches on his face. Well, the class liked it and when I went to print it again, I couldn’t find it, as I was messing with the Print Management stuff in Lightroom. So, many thanks in advance and hope to see you sometime this year again. Frank

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  5. Thanks Gina! That’s something I am not likely to forget again. :)

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  6. Matt you right on the sky photos.. used them on some of my hot air balloon photos.. lots of sky there.

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  7. So, as promised, I checked out the presets. My conclusion is: works best with really blue or little blown out skys and a well lit subject. If the subject is not lit good, the contrast really goes down bad. Sometimes I even got halos.
    As with many presets, use carefully and only specifically.

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  8. Mary, you have to convert to 8-bit.

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  9. Matt,

    Great preset! I have a question that I am sure you get asked all the time. I know you made a video on how to solve my problem, but I can’t seem to locate it. Sometimes, when I open an image in lightroom and edit it in photoshop, the filters are not all available. I’m sure it’s a simple fix, but it’s driving me nuts! How do I fix this?

    Thanks so much for all the help you provide!


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  10. Matt,
    Awesome! Thank you.


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  11. Dude … THESE ARE WICKED! I will upload some of my … I mean your … work to your flickr group.

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  12. Everyone – Thanks for the kind words. Glad you like ’em.

    Denear – you’re absolutely right. They tend to work on lighter photos. Also, they’re meant for photos with lots of sky in them.

    Irene – Thanks for the criticism 😉

    Matt K

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  13. Thanks Matt for all the great things you are doing for us.
    One comment, I find these presets work so much better when the original picture(s) don’t have harsh or strong shadows. My 2 cents……

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  14. Matt,

    You are really showing us the power of Lightroom. I bougt it just a month ago and love it. Fantastic software.

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  15. Matt, I was excited that you worked my suggestion and that was before I even noticed I’m getting a free one-month subscription to Kelby Training. Now, I’m absolutely ecstatic! Thank you (and Scott) even more!!!!

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  16. Matt I really like the effect that can do. Sweet..

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  17. Oh my gosh, I’m so thrilled to have you create a preset based on my suggestion! And it looks great – the effect is very much like the Nik filter I referenced. I can guarantee I’ll be using this preset frequently. Thank you so much, Matt!

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  18. Different folks like different things. I would not call this a midnight effect, rather a heavy/darkened polarizer. I was expecting something better. Many of your tips are great, this one just misses the mark for me.

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  19. Hi Matt,

    Many thanks for this cool preset. The before / after image looks very promising! I’ll give it a try tonight.

    Have a great day.

    Kind regards, Gerry Pacher

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  20. Hi Matt

    Great presets…. I really enjoy your writing!

    Looking forward to follow this series :-)

    Best regards Charlotte

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  21. Looks great. I’ll definately check this one out, when I get home from work.
    I’ve done something familiar with one of my shots, where I changed a sunset picture into a moonrise picture with whitebalance and some color tweaking. But this one looks a little bit different 😀

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