I love the look of film photography. This is interesting since we live in a digital world and I’ve never actually shot with a film camera! I got into photography 6 years ago and my first camera was a Nikon D3100. A digital camera made it possible to quickly learn the basics of photography with instant feedback. But when I saw the film emulators with the muted blacks and high contrasts, I fell in love with that look and needed to figure out how to imitate that digitally.
Film Presets In A Digital World
Lucky for me, VSCO was already on the task and already had 3 preset packages that included films such as Kodak Portra, Fuji Films, TMAX, and Ilford. I bought all 3 packages and began experimenting with different photos with assorted lighting conditions, and saving my favorite looks as custom presets.
There are currently 6 film packs available from VSCO. These packs provide the photographer with all the tools necessary to make a successful digital to film conversion.
However, VSCO presets can be confusing when you first install them into Lightroom. I highly recommend watching the introduction videos that open automatically after installing. I’ll probably do my own write up on the editing process using the presets in the future, so be on the lookout for that.
My Favorite VSCO Presets
So far, I’ve been partial to Film Pack 02 for travel photography and portraits on location. The pack contains emulations of Fuji Neopan 1600, Fuji Superia, Ilford Delta 3200, and Kodak Portra.
There are variations of each preset with different tone curves, tints, saturation values, and grain settings. Of course, every thing is variable within Lightroom and can be changed to suit your photographic vision.
For example, I prefer my black points clipped (++ variation) but with high contrast and muted colors. Sometimes it drives me crazy on colorful sunsets and sunrises, but I work with the image to get what I need.
If you like the film effect on your images, I highly recommend the VSCO presets. I look forward to writing guides in the future for how to use these awesome presets in your workflow.