Lightroom Film Preset Done Right

Lightroom Film Preset Done Right

There are lots of presets out there for sale emulating the look of film. Enough so that when I heard that Mastin Labs released one I didn't pay too much attention. Fortunately, because of the nudge of a friend, I decided to look into it a little further and I am glad I did. This is the first time I have seen a Lightroom preset designed by a film shooter for film shooters to help them match their digital images from a wedding with those shot on their film. Fortunately for those only shooting digital, you can benefit as well.

Rather than put together a collection of 30 presets, 29 of which you'll never use, Mastin Labs has the Portra 400 Hybrid Pack preset. Yep, one preset, emulating one of the most popular films. Included with the preset is some other goodies (cropping tools to match the aspect ratio of film, 19 blogging templates for Lightroom, and training videos.) But what really makes the Mastin Labs Portra 400 preset different than all the rest is the creator and renowned photographer Kirk Mastin created it with hybrid (film/digital) shooters in mind. While all of us can benefit from it, those who shoot film for part of the wedding but digital the rest now have a preset they can use to match the look and feel as close as possible to maintain a consistency throughout the photos.

Fstopper Mastin Labs Portra 400 Comparison Digital to film

In the instructional videos included with the presets, Mastin shows how to use an anchor image (film shot photo) at the wedding to then match up the colors and tone using the preset. This is also very helpful for film shooters who include a second shooter that might be shooting digital shots at the same time or even for film shooters that would like to get more shots of a scene without overshooting the expensive film. Now this of course doesn't mean you can't use the preset if you don't shoot hybrid (film and digital.) Here are a few of my own photos from a recent engagement session where I shot strictly digital and even without the use of an anchor image the preset makes it easy to get the beautiful Portra 400 look.

Fstoppers Mastin Labs Portra  400 Trevor Dayley 2 Vertical

If you think the Mastin Labs Portra 400 would be a good fit for you now is the time to make the leap. From now till the end of Cyber Monday (December 2nd) it is on sale for 40% off it's regular price. That means rather than pay the normal $119, you can pick it up for $69 - saving yourself $50.

Visit the Mastin Labs Portra 400 Hybrid Pack website for more information, samples and videos of the presets in use. Want to learn even more. Kirk Mastin was recently interviewed for a Musea podcast where he talked about it as well.

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I agree it looks good. But come on, 120$ for a lightroom preset?

Patrick Hall's picture

Vs $120 in film and processing?

VS $0 to make your own preset?

Anyone with basic knowledge in Lightroom or Photoshop, could easily whip a present like this together. So yeah, $120 is a ridiculous number. Anyone stupid enough to buy something like this, shouldn't be a photographer. People should take the time to learn things for themselves.

I agree, but should a person that cannot make film also not be a photographer? Just a question...

Except that they are camera profiles and not just color correction. I doubt it would be easy to get them even close to what VSCO does. But good try.

Also if you think that MF film has such a huge advantage to digital 35mm then you as sorely mistaken as those who you think are stupid enough to buy these presets. Shooting things such as weddings all in film is just as stupid as spending this one time $120. Where is the advantage in spending $2000 on film and processing for one wedding with very little advantage in DR and detail? It's stupid business to spend money shooting film when it is almost matched in digital.

"Almost" matched. For some people, "almost" just isn't enough.

Sean Shimmel's picture


And, additionally, what of VSCO and its multiplicity of options WITHIN a single pack?

in all seriousness, VSCO doesnt come close to these. VSCO's to busy trying to get to vintagy and faded, and not really acurate to portra in my opinion. The closets i've found was Replichromes portra 160 preset, but even still, i think mastins was far better.

Sean Shimmel's picture

From what I've seen, VSCO has plenty of variation WITHIN each pack... of which vintage and faded are certainly not the bulk.

I have nothing at stake with either vendor, but this just seems shockingly expensive for being so limited

Yeah there's alot of variation, but as far as color neg goes, your mostly looking at VSCO 1. In there, alot of the films, but particularly the portra seemed to miss the mark in my opinion, especially in comparisons to actual film scans. I did find my self using the pro400h preset quite a bit, and I do really love the VSCO slide film pack as well. But color neg just wasnt cutting it for me anyways.

Your right though, it did seem expensive for one preset. At the same time though, I've been following Mastin for a while, and i know he put a lot of work, and tons of time into these. Plus, he's already done two sales were he offered them for 60.00, so i'm sure people will have plenty of opportunities to pick them up at a price cheaper than the full 120.

Sean Shimmel's picture

Well written/balanced reply. Thank you.

But I'm still not convinced that it is somehow better and if so, how.

Would be quite intriguing to have a blind taste test of sorts and process the same exact raw file with both (and other) presets... and then let the bride or the subject in the image be the judge.

Want to get to film as close as possible? Install Raw Photo Processor, which is not only the best RAW converter but has the best film profiles. MacOS only but it's so good I run MacOS in VmWare on Windows and process all my photos there.

In the end nobody should not care.