How I Use VSCO Film 04

How I use VSCO Film 04 and how presets from VSCO (Visual Supply Company) can be a useful in your photo editing toolkit, but is convenience worth the price? 

As I explained in my previous VSCO blog, My Review of VSCO Film 01, these Lightroom presets can be very useful to help your photo editing workflow but definitely come at a cost. I don't feel it would be necessary to rehash that blog since this is going to be a review, but rather how I use these presets and how they have helped my photo editing. If you are looking for a review of the presets, I would suggest giving my previous review a read because not much has changed. 

This particular pack of Lightroom presets is definitely my favorite because its geared more toward landscape photographers, featuring emulations of many classic films that landscape photographers have used in years past (and some still do). Before I get into how I use Film 04, here is a list of the film emulations and their strengths. 

  • Fuji Velvia 100- / -- / + / ++ / +++ / Balance Cool / Balance Warm / HC / Landscape
  • Fuji Velvia 100F- / -- / + / ++ / +++ / Balance Cool / Balance Warm / HC / Portrait
  • Kodak E100G- / -- / + / ++ / +++ / Balance Cool / Balance Warm (GX) / HC / Portrait / Vibrant
  • Kodak E100VS- / -- / + / ++ / +++ / Balance Cool / Balance Warm / Balance Warm + / Portrait
  • Kodak E200- / -- / + / ++ / ++ Alt / +++ / Balance Cool / Balance Warm / HC / Portrait / Vibrant
  • Agfa Scala 200- / -- / + / -/+ / + / ++ / Contrast + / ++ / +++
  • Fuji Astia 100F- / -- / + / ++ / Balance Cool / Balance Warm / HC / Portrait
  • Fuji Fortia SP- / -- / + / ++ / +++ / Balance Cool / Balance Warm / Landscape / Portrait
  • Fuji Provia 100F- / -- / + / ++ / +++ / ++++ / Balance Cool / Balance Warm / HC / Portrait
  • Fuji Provia 400X- / -- / + / ++ / +++ / Balance Cool / Balance Warm / HC / HC + / HC ++ / Portrait / Vibrant
  • Fuji Velvia 50- / -- / + / ++ / +++ / Balance Cool / Balance Warm / HC / Landscape / Landscape +

Landscape photographers for years have used, and still use, Fuji Velvia 50 slide film because of its rich colors and very, very little film grain. Before I made the switch to digital photography, I had a Canon Rebel Ti film camera and got the chance to use a few Fuji films, but never Velvia 50. I got the chance to use Provia 100F, and Agfa Scala 200 black and white slide film. Both produced excellent results, and you can still pick up rolls of most of these films to this day if you have a hankering to shoot film. 

A few of my favorites are Fuji Velvia 50-, Velvia 100, and Provia 400x ++. I find myself using these presets more often because their neutral color tone, great contrast, and brilliant colors. Let's take a look at some before and afters. 

Velvia-compare.jpg

As you can see in the above images, the presets by themselves make a significant difference in how the photo is presented. Neither of those two photos are "done", but that is a decent start I would say. Both unprocessed images are straight from the camera, and the only editing was clicking on the appropriate preset in Lightroom. You can see the amount of contrast that comes into play when using these presets, so if you are thinking about using them be mindful of that when capturing the photos. 

Now what happens when I take a previously edited photo and apply one of the presets to it. Here is a before and after of that, the photo on the left is edited the way that I liked and I applied a Fuji Provia 100 preset to the photo and the result is on the right. 

Pretty extreme wouldn't you say? Again you can see the amount of contrast the film emulation adds to the original photo, and the vibrance of the colors is off the charts. I would say it's too much for my tastes, but that isn't to say it is "wrong". Just simply not my style. 

When using the emulations, you have to be careful on how you use them and how much of an effect you are looking to get. In my opinion, if you go too far then the photo begins to look like an oversaturated cartoonish HDR photo, which isn't I use these presets. My last photo is one of my favorite photos, taken in 2013 on a trip to Grand Teton National Park with Rick Louie. We stopped at Lake Marie for a great sunrise and I was pleased with my efforts there, the presets definitely helped bring out the contrast when I was editing after the trip. I don't think this is too extreme, but the contrast was really lacking in my original edit of this photo. 

Click on the photo to purchase a print

Click on the photo to purchase a print

Do you use any of the VSCO Film packs? I'd love to see your work if you do, please leave a link in the comments or post some images. If you are on the fence about purchasing these packs, I would be happy to answer any questions you might have to help you decide.