Tweak It

In Digital, How-to
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I have some strict rules for myself when it comes to shooting film. While I will put my film scans in Lightroom so that I can clean up dust, I don’t do any tweaking or major editing. However, when it comes to digital, I love to play and tweak an image in many different ways.

One very simple and quick way you can do this in Lightroom is by using presets. I have a few favorites that I go to first and then tweak those a little bit to fit my mood.

One preset set I love and gives a film feel easily is VSCO’s film set.
I added the Kodak Porta 160 preset to the image first.


Then I went black and white with their Ilford HPS preset.


Another great pack I use often is Replichrome’s Film packs from Totally Rad. We at Viewfinders did a few reviews of this pack here and here. What is great about this pack is that you can choose the film and the scanner. You can really get a different look using the same film on a different scanner.

Again, I went with color first and added their Fuji Pro 160- Frontier preset.


And, just to show you the difference of the same film but different scanner here is the Fuji Pro 160-Noritsu- preset.


I also did a black and white using Replichrome’s Fuji Neopan Acros 100 preset.


Lastly, you can get some great presets for free. Kim Klassen has a lovely set for free on her site. Here is her Friday preset.


Sometimes I notice I am doing the same edit over and over. Β For example, I love a high contrast, low exposure, and a touch of grain to my nature photos so I made a preset that has all my go to edits.


A simple preset is a fast way to fiddle with images. Are you a fan of presets or do you like to do all your own editing? Do you have a favorite preset pack? Do you like to make your own? I’d love to hear how you use Lightroom or about any favorite preset packs you love.


~Staci Lee


  1. It’s crazy how the same image can look so different. Thanks for the inspiration. I always seem to be drawn to b&w. I wonder what that means about me?

  2. These are all lovely. I like how your own preset looks the most natural, while still enhancing the original. I’ve always liked your editing style.

    I use Mastin and VSCO a lot, but with my current camera (Nikon d750) I often come back to just using Nikon camera profiles and my own tweaks. I get the sense that most presets are aimed at producing realistic or creamy skin tones, which doesn’t always work as well for nature and food — greens are often too blue for my liking (too much yellow subtracted) and reds too toned down (too much orange subtracted). It makes sense that yellows, reds would be tweaked for better skin tones though. Even the landscape/nature photos from my previous cameras often seemed to need me to start with a preset, which I would then tweak a lot (including colors), but the starting point of my d750 is generally pretty good, and I keep coming back to it with just the “standard” or “landscape” profile and a bit of white balance and exposure tweaking. When I do use presets these days, I get rid of the fade and grain and often zero out the preset’s exposure settings and the main curve (not color curve) tweaks and add them back in to my own taste.

  3. It is interesting how we seem to go back to a couple of presets. I try to branch out, but I like what I like.

  4. what a great walk-through of presets, Staci!
    I’m especially drawn to the last one, which uses your personal favorite πŸ™‚

  5. Brilliant! I am a fan of just a few vsco and replichrome (their black and whites are so good), but have chosen my favourites and put them in a folder now (one for my Sony and one for my Nikon). Otherwise I can find the whole thing a bit overwhelming! It’s definitely one of the reasons I shoot film! x

  6. Love it! I find myself playing around a lot with personal images, but feel like I need to maintain more consistency with my client work. Occasionally I’ll do an extra edit of some client work just for myself πŸ™‚

  7. I LOVE everything about this post – I use presets SO much in my digital images and I can never decide which one I like best!

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