The past few weeks I’ve been talking a lot about photography, but it’s a fun topic and one that we can always stand to learn more about. We’ve covered why you need Lightroom and how to get that blurry background in your photos. And last week, I shared a quick video on how to make some simple edits in Lightroom.
Today, I want to talk more about editing because it’s one aspect of photography that people don’t talk about that much, and frankly, it’s understandable. If you have a really unique style of editing applied to your images, like Happily Grey for example, you get noticed for it. Do you really think she’s gonna share her secret sauce, editing techniques or what filters she uses? Doubtful! And honestly, I don’t blame her one bit.
Finding your own unique look is tough, so when you find it, you don’t want to share it. If you do, it’s no longer unique!
So, how do you create your own image style? If you’re not a Lightroom or photography whiz (I’m definitely not!), you should definitely look into filters—VSCO filters to be precise!
VSCO Film for Lightroom is designed to emulate old films and they do a great job. There’s hundreds of different films that come neatly bundled in film packs with different themes—you can see them all here.
So, why am I telling you about these? Because, they’re awesome. I know, I know, you might think that filters seem like cheater tools, but they’re not. You still have to have great photography to end up with incredible photos, but filters make the whole editing process quick, concise and uniform. That leaves you with consistently branded imagery, that when used on a regular basis, can become your calling card of sorts.
Let’s talk about a few more aspects of VSCO…
VSCO on iPhone vs. VSCO in Lightroom
You’ve probably heard of the VSCO app for your phone, heck, maybe you even use it on a daily basis—I know I do! But did you know you can get VSCO Film for Lightroom as well? The VSCO I’m talking about above is VSCO for Lightroom.
Maybe you’re thinking, ugh, those filters aren’t even that cool, but guess what? All the VSCO filters, or film packs, for Lightroom are totally different than what’s available to you on your phone. There’s so many more options and controls that allow you to fully manipulate your images.
Just make sure that whatever film/filter you decide to use in Lightroom is similar in to the one you use on your phone so that your images always look cohesive and well-branded.
How to Edit with Filters
Once you apply a filter, you can’t just assume you’re done. You’ll most likely still need to make changes to the exposure, contrast and color balance. So when you click on one and it looks crazy, just remember this, you still have to edit! The filter only applies a style.
To apply a filter, just select one from this left-hand panel under the ‘Develop’ tab.
Many of the VSCO filters automatically apply grain or fade to emulate those old films, but with just a click (scroll down in that left-hand panel to find those options), you can easily reduce that, add more or remove it completely from a few other basic setting that come with VSCO.
How to Create a Preset
Let’s say you’ve created your own filter of sorts based off of a VSCO one. Maybe you removed the fade on it, and bumped up the contrast and saturation. You find yourself doing this exact same workflow on every single image. It’s annoying, exhausting and a waste of time. You can of course apply it to one image and then sync the settings to the rest of your images, but that’s still a bit of a pain.
The easiest thing to do? Create your own preset based off of that. So, start with a new image. Make all the necessary changes you want under the ‘Develop’ tab. I typically leave Exposure at zero and don’t touch the color balance because each image will be different!
Then go to the very top menu bar and click on ‘Develop’ (different than the ‘Develop’ tab within Lightroom) and scroll down and click ‘New Preset’. This box will pop up. I named it ‘My Blog Photos’, left everything else untouched, and hit ‘Create’. Congrats, you’ve created your very own preset!
You can access your new preset from the left-hand panel at the bottom of the list under ‘User Presets’. You can see it in the image above.
Which Pack to Purchase & What to Expect
If you’ve popped over to VSCO’s site and checked out the different packs, you might see a few photos and think, that’s exactly what I want my photos to look like. Be warned, applying that same filter won’t instantly make your photos look just like those. The filter will process different light and color differently depending on your image. It’s a good idea of the style though—think dark and moody vs. bright and poppy and look for filters and film packs based on what you’re looking for.
Have you tried VSCO film for Lightroom before? Have you created a branded image so that all your photos have a similar style? And lastly, if you have any questions, please leave them below!3