How to Edit RAW Files for a Film Look Using SLR Lounge Preset System

Lightroom September 25th 2013 9:00 AM 6 Comments


Earlier this week I showed you the outcome of my film vs. digital experiment comparing skin tones in straight out of camera RAW, strait out of camera jpg, edited RAW and scanned film negative files. Though I really loved the look of the film images and the fact that the post process step was completely eliminated from my work flow, I’m just not willing to give up the instant gratification and other advantages digital photography offers me.

Since I had film images from this shoot to use as a reference I decided to create a preset which would give me similar skin tones that were produced with the film. I used the SLR Lounge Lightroom Presets. I’m still using version 4 because I haven’t made the plunge into Adobe’s Creative Cloud yet…

Here’s a step by step look at how I did it.


First I imported the RAW file into Lightroom.


Then I applied the Extra Soft Color preset to soften up the skin a bit.


Then I bumped up the contrast a little.


And added a slight vignette.


Under the Warm Curves menu in the Preset System I chose the Amber Neutral Punch to give the image a warmer tone.


I felt like it needed even more warmth so I used the Orange/Orange option under the Color Toning menu.


Then I made some slight adjustments in the Hue, Saturation and Luminance panels to brighten up and smooth out the skin tones.


I also adjusted the white balance slightly and bumped up the highlights, clipped the blacks and brought the clarity down significantly to further brighten and smooth out the skin.


When I was happy with the results I saved it as a preset. To save a preset, chose ‘New Preset’ in the Develop menu and name the preset for future use. I usually uncheck the white balance and exposure boxes because those need to be adjusted depending on the lighting conditions of each shoot.


Here’s the final image. While it’s pretty close, I still feel the film version has a distinct luminescent look that’s hard to replicate. I never would have believed it myself had I not given film a try and done this comparison. Thoughts?



Tanya is a documentary style portrait photographer in Washington State. A former graphic designer and mother of three little ones, creating a visual story of the everyday moments shared by families keeps her going as an artist. Visit her website at for more information.


  1. Michael

    The final raw conversion looks vastly better than the Portra that has been scanned. Again this exercise was really pointless.

    • Michael

      I need to add that at some point the scanned film needed correction for WB and density. Poor comparison.

  2. chris pizzitola

    I was hoping to see a side by side comparison of the raw vs film in the end

  3. JG

    Thanks for the preset info. Gonna try this out.

  4. Jay

    I like this article. I been wanting to find out how to get this look. Thank you

  5. Anthony

    How does this preset of portra compare to VSCO’s version and Totally Rad’s Replichrome presets?
    Also can’t wait to upgrade to SLR5 :-)

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