There is a successful photographer I follow and people love the effect they add to their photos. I've been editing photos for a long time and I know the trick they're using. However, I can't reproduce it using Lightroom, but I can with Photoshop.
The effect is essentially crushing blacks and some whites and then reducing the outputs of blacks into dark greys and whites into light greys.
I can do this in Photoshop, however I can't in Lightroom. Here is my Lightroom attempt,
And then the same photo edited in Photoshop with the levels crushed,
Easy in Photoshop, sure, but how can I automate this process? I can usually use a preset in Lightroom to affect hundreds of photos, but I can't do this to each photo individually in Photoshop. Tips? What are some external programs others use?