Free Download: My Two Favorite Nik Color Efex Pro 4 Recipes

If you’ve ever seen my tutorials you may have noticed I’m kinda addicted to Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 4. I may start the photo editing in Lightroom/Camera Raw, but I pretty much finish off every photo by going into Photoshop for some quick retouching (and removing distractions), and then hit the filter as a final stop. I’ve noticed that I have two custom recipes that I use all the time so I figured I’d share ‘em with you.

1. Sunrise/Sunset Preset
The first one is something I add to a lot of my sunrise/sunset photos. Or even to photos that I want to give a warm feeling to. It pumps up the color saturation a little, as well as adding a little bit of a warming and softening effect (but not blurry), a vignette and a few other things. Here’s an example photo where I used it.



2. Detail and Vignette
The second one is something that just about every photo sees. It’s a combination of a detail enhancing filter along with a vignette. Here’s an example of a photo I used it on.



You can download the recipes right here (link).

To install the custom recipes:

    1. Go in to Color Efex Pro 4, then go the Recipes section on the left side.
    2. You’ll see an Import button at the bottom. Just click it and select these files (make sure you unzip the file first) and you’re good to go.

Enjoy ‘em!

  • Michael Preston

    Thanks, Matt.

  • Mitchell Sacks

    Shouldn’t the before / after pictures be reversed? :)

    • mattk

      Nope. I’m a fan of putting the good pic first. I figure the before/after designation should be a good hint :)

      • André Luís de Alvarenga

        Sorry but before seems better!

      • tim dalton

        You rebel Matt!

      • My Free Time

        It looks like on the “2. Detail and Vignette” photos that the after photo (top) is really the before photo, and that the before photo (bottom) is really the after photo. The bottom photo seems to have more detail, but the top one seems to have the vignette. Just curious.

        • Łukasz Berezowski

          Take a look in shadows/highlights, before photo haven’t got details there. On the botom rock effect is most visible.

        • inca

          ditto MFTime.
          i actually like the second photo better.

  • Dennis Zito

    Hey Matt! Hope you had a Great 4th and got some rest on your Mini Vacation! Really like CEP-4 myself. Like you, I use it at the end of processing. Thanks for sharing your two presets! I’ve got some photos I want to try them on. PS: We finally have the fires under control here in Colorado, but now Wyoming is on fire! Yikes!


    • mattk

      Stay safe Dennis!

  • Daisy Flowers

    Thanks for these, love the sunrise/sunset recipe!

    • debbie

      thanks! love these but how do i put in Lightroom4??

      • mattk

        You can’t. They’re only for Nik Color Efex Pro

  • Susan Koppel

    Thanks Matt! I love Color Efex 4, but have been struggling with the recipes. I tend to do one filter at a time, then mask the layer in Photoshop.

  • kenpowellphotography

    I used to do it the way that Mitchell said but it was either you or Scott that said that they should be reversed.

    I find that it is much more dramatic showing the after and then the before. I do a lot of photo restoration and have had the amount of people that have hired me increase dramatically since doing that.

    The other way they would look at it and say “that looks good and that looks better”. Now that say “that looks good and… Oh Wow, that REALLY is a change!!”


  • Carrie

    Awesome, love me some recipes!!!

    • mattk

      Me too! :)

  • Krist Adams

    Love the pics. Just wish I had Color Efex Pro to use the recipes. I humbly submit a question, because I don’t know enough to do it any other. After watching the Grid and the blind critiques and what you all have to say, what about the branches protruding from the side on the first shot? Or was it a shot that couldn’t have been gotten without it. I know what you all say about the branches coming in the shot and inspecting the edges and all. Just curious. Thanks for sharing.

    • mattk

      Hi Krist. Great question actually. Part of the answer is personal taste. Scott and I probably disagree a little on the branches thing. But I also know that Scott happens to like this photo so maybe it was just the specific photo we were looking at, at the time.

      I always feel that if done correctly, branches (or some foreground element) hanging in front of the photo adds a feeling of depth and dimension to the photo. It gives me the feeling of foreground and placement. When I see things like that I can envision standing there looking at this scene. But I have seen on the Grid where branches have been distracting. Unfortunately, it’s not a clear answer. Sometimes they help, and sometimes they hurt a photo. For starters, I think they need to be subtle. If there’s too many, then I think it’s distracting. But a hint of something in the foreground can help a photo dramatically.
      Hope this helps a little :)

      • tim dalton

        That’s a great answer Matt. Having also seen the critiques on the Grid the branch caught my eye right away. In this instance though it feels like it belongs and adds to the photo. Thanks

        • mattkloskowski

          Thanks. I feel like it brings the viewer in and lets you almost feel like you were standing along the river’s edge in a way, looking up at the bridge (which is where I was standing) :)

  • Linda Hall

    Very nice, and very much appreciate the recipes! I’ve owned Nik Color Efex Pro 3 for about 6 years and have rarely used it…just decided a few days ago to really give it a serious try. Thanks!

    • inca

      can the recipes be used with Color Efex Pro 3 instead of 4?

      • mattk

        Nope. Just CEP4

  • Mike Boening

    Thanks so much for these. I am sure I will put them to use!

  • steve254

    Thank you Matt for your efforts. Very much appreciated.

  • Allen Harry

    Thanks Matt. You are the best…

  • Stephen Paterson (@TheThirdLens)

    Thanks Matt. Love your work :)

  • Blake Rudis

    Nice! Thanks Matt!

  • Raymond Gilis

    Thanks Matt!

  • Mylan Dawson

    Thanks for sharing the recipes, Matt. Really enjoy the new blog as well. LKT is fantastic, and this blog is a wonderful place for non-LR stuff. I personally would really enjoy a RSS feed for this blog, so I do not miss any posts.

    • mattk

      Hey Mylan – Just added it on the “Follow Matt” section on the right side. Thanks.

      • Mylan Dawson

        Fantastic – thanks for doing that. Now I know I will not miss anything. All the best, and I agree with you btw, the 16-35 is every bit as sharp as the 14-24.

  • Kym

    Beautiful pictures and I wish I was closer so I could attend one of your seminars. I recently purchased Photoshop Elements 10 and am looking for a class or basic walk through turorial for it.

  • Sandi

    Matt I don’t have this software yet. Do there ever have deals or price cuts on this?

    • Ralph Lewis

      They do, just recently I bought an entire pkg and saved significantly. $100 or more. Made a deal you could not refuse.

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  • Mike from NY

    I love this blog! Didn’t realize you had it until I saw your video on Napp regarding LR profiles. Can’t wait to try out these recipes.

    • Matt Kloskowski

      Thanks :)

  • Kirte

    You are very kind to give away your secrets and results of your trial and error. Even though I can not make immediate use of the recipes because I do not have the Nik software (yet), passing along helpful tips, skill lessons and other information is what being a professional is all about. I am sure you have developed a thick skin to critiques, but I still find it disrespectful to criticize another person’s art, especially in the context of them teaching us something for free. Thank you for sharing.

  • Tamra Millikan

    Thanks Matt!! Love the recipes you shared!! Awesome pics.

  • Joe Viger

    Hi ya Matt… Great blog, great recipes and great pics. Were these images made in NH by any chance?

    • Matt Kloskowski

      Hey Joe. Yes, the images were made in NH last October.

  • Gene Bowker

    thanks a lot Matt.

  • Louis Dallara

    Great info as always. I really like your new blog. Thanks for sharing !!!

  • saqibmoghal

    thanks, its good for me. saqib

  • Nelieta

    Thank you very much for sharing the recipes with us! I really appreciate it!

  • Lois Bryan

    Thank you very much, Matt … these are gorgeous … I look forward to using them!!