VSCO Film 04 Review – Before and After Portraits

VSCO released their latest film emulation presets earlier this week for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 & 5 as well as Adobe Camera Raw. I had a chance to meet up with my good friend Katie to try them out and see how they work in a portrait setting. The film 04 pack is designed to emulate old film positive slide emulsions like Fuji Velvia. This is a big change for VSCO, who up until this point have stuck to the classic negative films, most of which were low contrast and geared towards portraiture. The slide films presented here are known for their vivid colors and high contrast aesthetics, which made them legendary amongst landscape photographers and photojournalists. Used creatively though, VSCO Film 04’s high contrast and bright colors make for some wonderful portraits as well. Below are before & after shots. All presets were applied with default settings, the only adjustments I applied were white balance and exposure. Scroll your mouse over to see the straight out of the camera file.

Agfa Scala 200

Fuji Fortia SP –

Fuji Fortia SP +++

Fuji Provia 100F Balance Warm

Fuji Provia 400X +++

Fuji Provia 400X Balance Warm

Fuji Velvia 50 –

Fuji Velvia 100F Balance Warm

Kodak E100G Balance Warm (GX)

Kodak E100VS Balance Warm

Fuji Provia 400X

Fuji Provia 400X HC +

Fuji Velvia 50 Balance Cool

Fuji Velvia 50 Balance Cool

Fuji Velvia 50 Balance Cool

As you can see, the colors are insane in these film stocks, and they really come through in her dress and the colored walls that make up the background in a lot of these shots. The Velvia was especially surprising with the indoor night shots, which is usually a nightmare for color correction. All I had to do was a simple white balance adjustment and I have great tones and colors in an otherwise difficult shooting environment. I see a lot of potential here for wedding a portrait photographers to use these presets as a starting point in their workflow. The Kodak E100VS Warm is especially promising for outdoor weddings, and the Provia 400X +++ looks like a great portrait tool. Also with the Film 04 packs are updated camera profiles (including the Canon 6D) and develop module tools. There definitely aren’t many “one click and done” presets in the 04 pack, but with some tweaking there are some powerful color profiles here and it’s a nice change from the squished tone curve of most film presets to date. All things considered, if you’re not a fan of the low contrast film style that has dominated the first 3 film packs from VSCO, I think 04 may be the best choice for a photographer looking to get closer to the classic film styles. VSCO is offering the new set at 25% off  (50% if you own another product from them) for the next two weeks so go check it out!

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