New means

2012, Photography


I am currently trying VSCO film presets in Lightroom for my post processing. I won’t go, yet, into deep about these presets, but I want to delve a bit more into Lightroom.  I like Lightroom for both organizing my photographs and post processing these. It works really well with some good plug-ins like Silver Efex Pro and Exposure 3. I like it how you can search presets on the internet or create your own, but what I miss is combining these presets. I have a color preset that those more than only white balance and so. If you use another preset most of the previous made adjustments will be gone again. I now overcome this by applying my own color preset on an image, tell Lightroom to edit it in a plug-in like Silver Efex Pro. After this command a tiff file will be generated that is treated with the previous preset. When the external plug-in is launched, which opens this tiff file, I cancel it. I return to this tiff file in Lightroom and then apply another preset. In case of these VSCO film presets I currently like the Fuji 800Z preset with some additional cool high lightning.

Vertical silhouettes

I believe photography is a way of communicating. You don’t need to be a professional to do so. Current technology provides means for the masses to interact with each other and to share their photographs among a broad range of people world wide. While this have let to an enormous increase of images, and some would say an increase in mediocrity, I still believe this democratizing movement can only be a positive thing. Nowadays we can share our photography for free online, we can create our own photobooks and share these without the need of a publisher. We have become the publisher. And best of all, only we determine how far we go. Especially those photographers, the amateurs and the hobbyists, not restricted by commercial requirements can act freely.

One size fits all?

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

20 thoughts on “New means

  1. A significant departure from most of your prior color work. Bravo. It’s hard to describe their affective elements. The square format adds a bit of very useful formality. And the first two seem still like sketches, but with a brighter, sharper vibe. #3, though, I’ve been looking at and looking at trying to figure what it is about it that is so interesting. From the button on the near mannequin’s jeans to the bottom of the frame the wrinkles and creases in their jeans and his khaki’s are so similar there’s considerable ambiguity in what you are actually looking at, and yet above there the mannequins are only half figures with the position of his arm and his posture emphasizing their “object” status. But that’s just content; the color process adds something for sure, perhaps one might feel a sense of uber reality. Anyhow, like I said, hard to find the words, but it definitely “works”.

    1. Regarding #3 it is the repetition of the jeans that kind of makes it work for me. And the surprise element that the right jeans belongs to a man and not the mannequins. Besides that, there are many lines to follow in the images that I liked a lot.

    1. I personally can’t comment on Aperture 3 since I work on a Windows notebook. In part the aim of VSCO Film is to simulate the film look of some color negative and B&W film. It does seem to do a pretty good job at that, unlike some other film simulating Lightroom presets that have been available for some time.

      One of the distinctive differences with other presets is that VSCO also uses the camera calibration features of Lightroom to alter some of the coloring, instead of using the white balance and tinting. The nice thing about this is that you are still free to alter the white balance.

    1. Yes, you can. There are some B&W presets available with additional contrast (enforced by curves), but they also provide a toolkit which will affect individual sliders so you can add even more contrast. Even nicer, is that their presets leave the brightness and contrast sliders unharmed. Therefore you can still alter these after or before applying one of their presets.

  2. Mooie platen Wouter, vooral de film presets geven de beelden een mooie analoge look. Voor mij geeft het weer inspiratie om binnenkort weer eens met de GRD op stap te gaan. De laatste tijd toch wat momenten gemist, omdat de spiegelreflex niet passend was. Daarnaast merk ik op straat steeds meer dat een spiegelreflex een afschrik effect heeft op mensen. Fotografeert dan ook niet lekker. Daarnaast leent de output van de GRD perfect voor post processing.

    1. Je commentaar zat in mijn spam box, Pim. Hij is dus gevonden! Het blijft een fijne camera, die GRD. Vooral als je de camera eenvoudig benaderd met diafragma op f/3.5 of f/4 en snap focus aan. Dan is die heel snel. En voor het eerst begin ik tevreden te raken met de kleuren en dat na twee jaar dus.

    1. Yes, Sean Flanigan from Seattle is pretty famed for his distinctive processing look and many wedding photographers tried to copy it. Nowadays they can all buy their share of Sean Flanigan’s look too. I agree that it is overused in US wedding photography (still not very common here in Europe). I like to find my inspiration and ideas from different genres and like to see how it fits my stroll photography. I admit that I kind of like it for my stuff.

  3. I wish I knew how to use Lighroom and Aperture. I have both, but I always fall back on Photoshop. I’m sure that the digital management system of Lightroom & Aperture would make my life easier in some respects. I love the idea of the programs, but I just need a good teacher or tutorial to really understand the whole concept of it. I don’t get it from reading books as much. I actually went to school back in the 1990s for Photoshop, so I do have some grasp of it, though at a newbie level. It’s such a HUGE program in its potential. Still, I feel like I am missing out on the DAM (Digital Access Management) capabilities of these two programs. If I only understood them better.

    1. I basically use Lightroom is a Finder (Mac) or Explorer (Win) as you will. I can arrange where I locate my images, but the nice thing is that the application keeps track of it. More importantly are the tools and the user friendliness of the application compared to Photoshop. I can do everything with Photoshop, but just try to explain something to a newbie. With Lightroom though I can make people enthusiastic in just a few minutes. It is intuitive and we, the photographers, are the only planned and foreseen users. And I like that.

  4. Elaine, the lie is that you need to know every nook and cranny of photoshop. Nopes, the things you will use most of the time don’t even add up to 5% of photoshop. I am a graphic designer, photographer and web designer and I can assure you what is most used is the tool bar and layers along with resizing options and sometimes filters…. extremely basic stuff, available since the early photoshops

    1. If have seen several presentations of Photoshop in the past. And every time someone demonstrated a feature everyone cheered and yelled, until them was told it was there since some of earliest versions. Photoshop is used by professionals and amateurs for the same reasons editors use Final Cut Pro or Avid Media Composer. It is a tool for the professionals and it makes you feel a pro. And yes, it is good, in fact it is the best. There is however so much we don’t need (and still have to pay for). Lightroom (and Aperture by Apple) says it is there for photographers and doesn’t try to make a distinction about your intentions.

  5. Love number 2, vertical silhouettes, very much!! The moment I saw this I found it hard to not keep going back to it. Really nice picture!!

  6. Wonderful photos, great job! Regarding your workflow to process the photos with multiple presets: Have you already tried to just create a virtual copy of the current version and to apply the next preset on that? I mean, for me it seems to achieve the more or less same result like the workaround to create a tiff file each time, but it’s WAY more comfortable… Just my five cents… 😉

    1. I tried it Marcus, but you basically make a copy with the previous adjustments. When you apply a new preset it will ignore the previous adjustments. I guess this would be a feature request to be able to stack adjustments and presets like some sort of layers.

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