Editing Travel Images Using VSCO Film and Lightroom 5

In just a few weeks I’ll be heading of on an epic road trip around the east coast of America visiting loads of epic cities and national parks including Chicago, Nashville and the Niagara Falls.  These destinations are full off distinct character and each location offers a unique outlook on American life, from the towering skyscrapers of New York and awesome beaches of Chicago, to the historical monuments of Washington DC, there’s going to be so many fantastic photo opportunities, and as someone with a love for photography, I want to make sure I get the most out of my images.  In an earlier blog post I talked about my top tips for photography on a Trek America Trip this covered the hardware side, but today I want to look at post production image editing, particularly with VSCO Film and Lightroom 5 to ensure the final results are fantastic.

Lochore Meadows Boats

As a designer by trade, I’ve always had a passion for editing, and love experimenting to get my photos looking just how I want them.  I’m a firm believer of getting ‘Out of auto’, shooting manual to get the best exposure and then performing colour correction and enhancements in Lightroom.  A trend I’ve seen recently on many blogs and websites, including that of men’s fashion blogger Steve Booker (excellent blog and great photography – worth a read!) is images which look like film, they sometimes can look faded and the colours are often cool in tone with warm skin tones.  This isn’t ‘Instagram’, you have to see it for yourself, they really are brilliant.

Sunset at Loch Leven

I recently stumbled across VSCO Film from Visual Supply Company which is a package of presets and camera profiles to emulate a number of different films from the good old days of analogue.  They are sold in packs numbered 01, 02, 03, 04 and 05.  What sets these apart from standard presets which can be downloaded online, is the amount of detail and depth they have went to.  Every filter has been finely tuned and their is versions for every major camera brand and a camera profile to match, meaning that they really get as close to the original film look as possible.

The Bishop Hill

Each pack features different types of film.  I’ve purchased pack 05 which is the latest release and includes films like the beautiful Afga Vista and Kodak Gold – this pack features the best films from the golden era of analogue photography.  The second pack I’ve bought is 01 which is the original and emulates current professional films including the awesome black and white film Kodak T-Max 3200.  I’m no professional but I can say these really do alot for your photography.  The images are simply stunning – almost out of the box.

Sunset at Loch Leven in Black and White

The one thing you do have to watch is to ensure the exposure and white balance are good BEFORE applying the filter, as otherwise the images just wont work to their full potential.  Its important to only use the exposure and white balance sliders in Lightroom as VSCO will change everything else. I sometimes apply Upright correction where necessary, but that’s it.

The images out of VSCO do have a grainy look, especially in the higher ISO films, but that keeps the images true to life and I kind of like it.  The grain can be removed if you really don’t like it using the usual sliders.

Below are some example images which I’ve taken recently and edited with VSCO film.  See how awesome they look!  They may be expensive at $119 each, but they are so worth it in my opinion and will finish of my Trek America pictures perfectly!  Let me know in the comments your thoughts on image editing!

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