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VSCO Film First Impressions

Let me be clear: I love film photography.

What I don’t love is the cost, the distance I have to drive to one of the only reputable film labs in Orlando, and the moments lost while learning and experimenting. But mostly, I don’t love the cost. So when I (finally) realized that I could recreate “film looks” via VSCO Film Presets, I got pretty excited.

Ferry – Fuji 400++ Preset

The best part about using these presets (with RAW files, of course) is the amount of latitude I gain in expressing the moment. There are so many variables you can adjust to recreate the emotion of the scene, and the possibilities are endless.

The BoardWalk – Portra 800++ Preset

Although there are many critics of VSCO presets (and presets in general), I really enjoyed using these. Perhaps if I was a grandmaster at Lightroom CC then I would feel the same. But since I am not, I gain a sense of relief and joy in what I’m now capable of producing.

Caricatures – Fuji 800z Preset

Don’t get me wrong, no amount of editing can save a bad photo. However when the image itself is already alluring, the film presets (and maybe a tweak or two) really make it shine. I used to believe that almost any editing to a photo was cheating andĀ borderline lying. Well, it’s easy to say that when you aren’t sure how to edit in post-production. But now I know. And I love it.

After all, if you can dodge & burn, use contrast filters, and manipulate film emulsionĀ in the darkroom, then why not do the same in the digital darkroom?

Kodak Portra 160

Obligatory experimental light trail picture – Kodak Portra 160 Preset

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