I cant edit posts but btw...what preset do you like the most? I read mention that the portrait preset is good but which one do you guys prefer out of the box portrait wise.
I have my own preset - it's the Standard one with a few tweaks, with lens softness set at 1.25, contrast at 30, microcontrast at +10, vibrancy at 10, and protect saturated colors turned off. Protect saturated colors is an awesome tool, but I like to adjust it manually.
I usually open an image, set white balance (if needed) and then set the black & white points using the curves too while I watch the highlight/shadow warnings. I do this by dragging the white point straight to the left at the top of the screen and black point straight to the right until there's a touch of clipping. I'll usually tweak the shadows and highlights sliders as well and sometimes I'll use the curves to tweak the photo as well. I often adjust the contrast & vibrancy sliders for each photo as well. I'll correct dust as needed (my 5DII is a nightmare most days), correct horizon and crop as needed, and move to the next photo.
If I expose to the right, which I usually do, and it's a bright image, I'll use the highlight priority - medium or strong settings right after white balance. I'll bump up the shadows slider and that usually gives me great results.
That covers about 90% of my photos, but I'll correct perspective, turn off vignette correction, or use portrait presets and such as needed.