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How to edit your digital photos to look like film | Lightroom Presets

how to edit digital photos to look like film by caroline tran

Here’s a little sneak peek from the mini workshop I did during my unexpected trip to Singapore last month… and since it was organized via text and social media while I was already there, I had to work with what equipment I had.  And guess what, unlike most of the photos you see from me, this photo is DIGITAL.  I often get asked how I edit my digital photos to blend with my film work and here I will share a few tips I have, but before I do, you should know a bit about me as a photographer/business owner to understand my motivation.  My goal is to minimize my post production time (I hate being on the computer), so know that these tips are how I get the look I want, while doing the least amount of work after a shoot.  By minimizing my computer time, I’m able to spend more time shooting and with my family.

Tips for how I edit my digital work to blend in with my film work:

1.  I don’t shoot digital and film at the same time -  it just creates more images to go through and more time to try and match the film and digital exactly (which is unnecessary, in my opinion).  I decide whether film or digital will be the right medium for the situation, and then I usually either shoot entirely film, or entirely digital… or break the shoot into smaller sections.  So in short, if I’m shooting film, I put the digital camera down, and vice versa.

2.  Having a good Lightroom Preset to emulate film saves me a lot of time!  This photo was edited specifically with the Lightroom Preset to look like Fuji film.  These presets get the photos looking good with very minor tweaks (if any), and since I don’t typically shoot it side by side with my film work, I don’t have to nitpick with my editing on matters that don’t necessarily make the photo look better.

3.  Know your craft!  I aim to get it right in camera – exposure, light, composition… No preset or action will make a poor photo amazing.  The more accurate you get your exposure in camera, the less time (if any) you’ll spend in post.  I challenge you to tape the back of your camera and see if you’re able to get the image you want without chimping.  If you shoot in splotchy light, you will get a splotchy photo, so unless that was your intention, you’ll be very frustrated while editing.

Hope these will help!  Feel free to ask any additional questions in the comments if you have further questions!

Shoot sponsored by The Wedding Scoop  |  Dress by Caramel and Co  |  Flowers by Shop Wonderland  |  HMU by Andrea Razali  |  Calligraphy & Sign by Pearlyn and Paper   |  Model Agency Indigo Artisan

* These presets have been a game changer for me.  I used to outsource my post production but after getting these, I can quickly do them on my own now.  I’ll probably still outsource during peak season, but I like having the control now to tweak them myself.  I love these so much that I would promote it for free, but Mastin Labs wants to give me a few bucks if you purchase through the link above, so thanks!


Mommy & Baby Portrait Sessions

This mother’s day, gift mom the gift of memories with her little ones!  I will be offering mini sessions for baby and mom here at my studio.  Contact me for more info about these sweet Mommy & Me sessions!  Gift certificates available!

Come as you are…

mommy and me by caroline tran

mommy and me by caroline tran

Or bring some fun props/accessories…

mommy and me by caroline tran

mommy and me by caroline tranmommy and me by caroline tran

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