Shooting and editing is like a symphony; every element, from shoot to post-processing, has to compliment each other. The trick? Neither can overpower the other and our timeless images start with a vision.

Using virtually every tool in Lightroom, we are going to master how to achieve filmic adjustments and produce dreamy color treatments in 5 simple steps. This is an excerpt from our Advanced Lightroom Processing Workshop, utilizing Camera Calibration to create your own film presets.

[REWIND: Camera Calibrations & Filmic Adjustments ]

TIP #1 | Shoot for the Photo Edit

Bridge the gap between your photo sessions and post-processing by creating your vision in-camera and making the necessary tweaks in post. The key to achieving timeless and filmic images begins during the session and ends with a consistent delivery. In our Shoot to Post workshop, we cover our signature styles for an effective post-processing workflow. If you get it right in camera, you can then use post-processing techniques to enhance your imagery.

tip #2 | Shoot RAW for more flexibility

Raw files provide a collection of unprocessed data making them the ideal foundation for Camera Calibrations in Lightroom. Unlike their JPEG counterparts, RAW files are uncompressed, meaning they do not contain an embedded camera profile, providing the most color data and recording greater exposure levels. By maximizing our dynamic range and shooting in RAW, we can increase our exposure levels in post-processing and achieve our desired light and airy look.


tip #3 | ENABLE Camera Calibration

Lightroom’s Camera Calibration contains various color profiles that mimic color treatments for film. Similar to filmic color treatments, the profiles adjust reds, blues, and greens in an image and have a global effect in an image. By enabling Camera Calibration we have greater control over color in a photo and easily can fine-tune hue, saturation, contrast, and shadows. If you are looking for a one-click fix, check out the SLR Lounge Preset System which has a range of Film presets including Fuji 400h and Kodak 800. 

Utilize color profiles to create your own film variance/presets. To achieve an effective vintage effect first we need understand the unique tonal range (hue) and strength of the tones (saturation) for our desired film look. For example, our Fuji 400H adopts a green and pastel color grading whereas our Kodak Portra 800 highlights golds, richer color, and warmth in the image.


While color profiles are the foundation for a film preset, the true magic lies in the Hue Saturation Luminance (HSL) section of Lightroom. Our presets adjust tonal range for blues, greens, teals and overall saturation for you. These subtle yet noticeable differences have helped us to build Film / Vintage presets that are perfect for portraiture and calibrated for skin tones.


We instantly can recognize film photography because images tend to have a softer focus, subdued hues, and are light and airy. Create the softer focus in Lightroom in the Effects menu. It’s important to note that Lightroom automatically increases Sharpening regardless of presets. Remove Sharpening altogether and opt for a subtle Grain to achieve a classic film processing effect.

Master how to create cohesive scenes, establish signature styles, and implement an efficient post-processing workflow in the Shoot to Post workshop. Upgrade to Premium to learn more tips & techniques for efficient Lightroom post-processing.