This comes in three parts, according to Tumblr Ask requests: PS editing, LR editing, and LR editing using VSCO Film presets. I own Photoshop CS5.1 and Lightroom 3.6, and I’m going to use this photo as the SOOC or unedited shot during the entire process:
EXIF: 35mm f/1.4L, Av mode, f/1.4 aperture, Auto white balance.
Keep in mind that each photo is edited differently, especially in PS, where I don’t use presets.
I rarely use Photoshop for my post-processing anymore, but one Anon asked how to get my fake film effect using PS so here we are. First thing I go for is Brightness:
Just a little notch. This one is around +45. Then, Contrast, around +40:
I often go back and forth with Contrast, changing it as I go on according to how much the photo needs. Next is Levels. I first adjust the Black-White points (that is the lever at the bottom), with Output Levels let’s say 29 on black and 255 on white. Then, right under the graph-like diagram, there are three points: Shadows (the black point), Midtones (the gray point), and Highlights (the white point). I put Shadows to around +23 and Midtones to +1.24. I rarely touch the Highlights. This would come out like this:
I know, all that work with little changes. Because when I say “minimal editing,” I really mean minimal! :) Okay, Color Balance is next. Make sure that the tone is set in Midtones as default, then just a little slide towards the Red (that’s the first lever), around +12:
I really want to bring out the red in her hair without overdoing it, so I’ll also adjust with Selective Color. Under the Reds, I’d slide the Yellow to around +24 and the Black to the +21. (This means that it edits the yellow and black components in all the red colors in the photo.) This would produce something like this:
I don’t know if it’s my pixel-peeping attitude, but the Reds are warmer and livelier now than before.
Sometimes I also desaturate a bit, especially in sunny shots with the sky so blue, but not in this one. The colors are fine. Finally, I’d add some grain because in film grain we trust! PS Film Grain is not the most elegant grain there is, but I take what I can get. Just go to Filter > Artistic > then select Film Grain. I only add some minimal grain, so I’d slide the Grain level to just 1, with Highlight Area and Intensity to 0. Don’t want to make it look like sandpaper now. This would create very subtle hints of grain, which are more evident in shadowy or dark areas of the photo:
And that’s basically how I do it in Photoshop.
A different software, but expect only slightly different results. I still edit in LR the way I do in PS. First up, Brightness at +60:
Then, Contrast at +36:
One thing I like about LR is the “Blacks” tool. It’s quite sensitive, so just a few notches would do. This one is at +6:
As the name suggests, it heightens all the blacks in the photo, which I like. :) I don’t normally touch the Saturation unless needed, but I still want the colors to pop, so I slide the Vibrance to around +59:
The blue in her scarf is a bit overdone, so I’d go to HSL (just one of the menus on the sidebar), and under Saturation, I decrease the Blue to around -48:
That’s about right. Then, the final touch, Grain. Under Effects, there’s a Grain lever. For the Amount, I put in +18, Size at +25, and Roughness at +50:
III. LIGHTROOM USING VSCO FILM PRESETS
Firstly, I hope that I have pushed at least one fake-film lover here to buy VSCO, haha. It’s really an incredible pack of presets that sometimes I wonder if $79 even amounts to it. This editing process is the one I’ve been using lately, and I’m still getting the hang of it. It gets easier once you’ve found the perfect preset in the pack that you would and should apply to most, if not all, of your photos to provide some consistency.
My favorite Film Preset is the Fuji 800Z+ for colored shots, and the Kodak T-MAX 3200+ for black-and-whites. I use these two all the time.
So I apply the Fuji 800Z+ preset:
YES, it would look horrible initially. That’s why the presets come with a Film Toolkit (found at the bottom of the Presets list). First I even out the highlights using the “Color - Darker Skies ++” option:
Not much changes. Next, on the sidebar, I up the Blacks to +10:
There’s too much grain, so using the Toolkit, I decrease it by selecting “Grain +.”
And she’s done. :) My original editing to this photo using VSCO came out like this:
And I honestly can’t remember what I did with it to make it look like that. But the point of this tutorial post was to go over what I mostly do when editing, so I guess the end result of this photo isn’t that important, haha.
Okay then, I hope I helped or at least entertained someone a bit.