Lens Distortions arguably solves the problems I've been having with photography for a while now: a clinically engineered lack of character into lenses that results in a sterile image which therefore doesn't make me want to purchase a product. That's a mouthful for sure, but it's true. While many photographers these days would prefer a clinically clean look where they can then add in their own modifications to the image in post, I'm not like that. There's a generation of photographers that truthfully don't like sitting down at computers because we do everything on a tablet or a phone instead. And for those photographers on both sides of the line, Lens Distortions makes a lot of sense.
Arguably, VSCO’s mobile presets are perhaps the most popular options as opposed to the company’s film packs. Perhaps that’s why they brought them to Adobe Lightroom recently. The presets are a number of the company’s best products and have been casually slapped onto images all across the web for years now. But for a while, the company seemed to target the film presets at the desktop based crowd via Lightroom and the mobile presets at perhaps the less serious crowd via the phone. Years have gone by and now we’re starting to see the worlds sort of crash into one another.
So if you’re a VSCO preset user and you’re a big fan of the app on your phone, you may be blown away by this.
Capture One Pro isn’t as preset friendly as Lightroom simply because of the fact that when photographers go to it, they really try to create and massage their own ideals of color into the photos. Afterall, that’s part of what it was designed for. But with the Capture One Film Styles Extended, you get a whole lot of that if you’re a film shooter. We previously reviewed the Capture One Film Styles preset pack, and honestly didn’t feel like it held up against real film. Granted, the images still looked good–though if you’re a film fanatic the way I am, you’ll want something close.
However, with Capture One Film Styles Extended, you get a lot more options. And this time around, the options get closer when it comes to colors though not totally when it comes to tones. And either way, it’s tough to create a bad photo.
The folks over at Priime have been doing some really interesting stuff over the years. They’ve had tutorials and tend to focus in some way or another on the fashion industry; but their newest Lightroom presets are expanding on the company’s iOS app and bring presets to the world’s most famous photo editing software: Lightroom. Now, I know what you’re thinking: not some more film-emulsion based presets. In fact, that’s not the case.
Priime CEO Arthur Chang tells us these aren’t based on film emulsions, but instead on just getting pleasing looks. “The presets are a set towards creating a set of modern day presets, stuff that is actually seen commercially and not strictly film based,” he says in an email to the Phoblographer. To that end, they’re named after some cool locations and hubs for photographers to go shoot.
In this world that we are in now with Adobe virtually refusing to fix the simplest of performance concerns with Lightroom after what has been years of complaints now, more and more third-party processing packages and software is getting looked at by photographers.
One such program is Alien Skin Exposure X2, which as long been a favorite plugin for many photographers looking to add some spice to their images that Lightroom couldn’t. We have had a chance to play with Exposure X2 adding it into our workflow and even giving it a shot as our primary image processor for the last month or so. Today we wanted to share our thoughts on it. Continue reading…
For a fairly long time now, I’ve ditched Lightroom for Capture One and I couldn’t be happier. But something I’ve missed is having film profiles for my images–if not because they didn’t necessarily look like film, because I just genuinely liked the look of the photos. Then I discovered the Capture One Styles, that makes the Capture One Film styles which emulate the look of lots of very popular film emulsions.
Considering just how good Capture One is, I was very delighted to test these out. But for this film shooter, I found some disappointment.
It’s sad to believe that there are very few slide films left in the world. Their beauty, when worked correctly, is absolutely stunning–but the processes to develop some of them, combined with just how careful you need to be with them, lead to their decline. Recently, Really Nice Images took it upon themselves to create an app that’s all about emulating the look of these slide films in their app RNI Colibri. For a while now, RNI has been really popular with photographers and uses science and a ton of research to get their looks just right.
Though the results still aren’t quite what film can do at its very best, the majority of the digital community that knows little to nothing about how film truly works is bound to be happy with some of the results.
In general, there are two major sides of the vintage film filter wars when it comes to mobile devices: Mastin and RNI. RNI chooses to focus on trying to emulate every single look of films out there while Mastin takes a different approach with an emphasis on only a few key film emulsions. We’re not the biggest fans of Mastin’s desktop presets, but admittedly their presets in the Filmborn app for iOS aren’t too bad. Do they look like film? They’re close, but RNI still does a better job at trying to emulate it. However, if you’re looking to get a film-like look and then edit to your own heart’s content, then Mastin may be a good option for you.
Before I dive into the review, just a heads up that a while back I published the same image on our Instagram account where I showed off an edit from RNI and Mastin both. And overwhelmingly, many of you liked what RNI gave us.
In an age where sensor resolution is getting higher and higher, those MB, GB, and TB on your computers at home are simply not getting you where they used to. The saying ‘Storage is Cheap’ is true, but only to a point, and a frugal photographer should always be looking for ways to cut back on the amount of storage space they need to store their images – both at home and on the web. The solution for this, at least when it comes to JPEG files, is JPEGMini – or at least that is what they claim it to be.
JPEGMini has been around for some time now, but as you would expect, many photographers are skeptical of any compression system that could possibly have a negative impact on quality or appearance of their images in print or digital. I was skeptical, so when they offered to let me test drive their Pro version while we met with them at Photo Plus, I took them up on it. Today it is time to share my thoughts on this software for you. Continue reading…
It’s no secret that there is a plethora of photo editing software out there. While most photographers are enamored by Lightroom and Capture One Pro, you should know that other options such as CameraBag Photo exist–and they’re honestly not too shabby. In many ways, it resembles Lightroom but also includes its own customized interface that is easier to work with. Though Lightroom has always been king of the hill in many ways, I never thought I’d find an even simpler way of working with images.
The idea behind the Fotr app isn’t really a new one; but it’s one of the latest options out there that takes the conveniences of digital photography and tries to apply film-analog ideas to it. No, we’re not talking about vintage looking filters, we’re talking about taking your images and not being able to see them until after a development process has taken place. That’s part of the excitement of film–and as I type this article up I’ve got at least seven rolls on my desk that I need to take to Lomography for developing.
Fotr has loads of potential, but I need to be completely honest here: this app is hands down the biggest waste of money that I’ve spent this year.
Last year, MacPhun teamed up with Trey Ratcliff to create an HDR program for the Mac called Aurora HDR. Back then, it was a pretty good program; and with today’s announcement of Aurora HDR 2017 you get even more editing power overall. Aurora HDR 2017 features lots of new improvements like a polarizing filter, tone mapping, and a sleeker interface. Many experienced photographers will feel right at home here; and many HDR photographers that are careful with their in-camera shootings will be very pleased with what’s possible here.
For a number of years now, Really Nice Images has been working on creating loads of very film-like presets through use of science. These photo filters/emulsions/presets culminate in their latest offering: RNI Films 4.0 All Films. The emulsions are designed for use with different cameras and have things including camera profiles in addition to some of the more recently popular emulsions such as Fujifilm Natura 1600. That means that you can apply these emulsions to your digital photos in Lightroom or even Photoshop.
Of course, RNI doesn’t consider these to be replacements for actual film. But to be honest, it comes very close.
All Images by Anthony Thurston. Used with Permission.
While many photographers still scoff at the idea of using presets for their work, the greater majority of the photography community has seemed to embrace the concept, either purchasing or creating their own. It’s not hard to see why either, as a first step to the editing process, it is so much quicker and easier to get an image to a starting point which you can use to base your more advanced edits on.
David Drake’s Vicra Presets are a pair (more coming soon) of preset packs, Vicra DRK and Vicra WVS, and they are designed for specific use case scenarios. DRK for example was designed for night flash photography, while WVS was designed for sunny sandy beaches. That said, you will not be seeing any night flash photography or sandy beach photography in this review today. Why? Because that is the glory of presets, you can apply them to anything for a unique look.
For many years the best places for photographers and models to be able to find each other and collaborate online was Model Mayhem. Craigslist also worked, but we generally don’t speak of it anymore! That’s the new void that FStop.FM is trying to fill right now but by updating it with an interface that lots of us are familiar with: Tinder.
Usually when a model or a photographer has an agent or agency, that’s a really big sign that they’ve made it. But for the rest of us in the meantime, it’s an uphill battle. Photographers and models both generally need to prove themselves to one another. Some of us look at that as a pain while others amongst us regard and understand the process; but give it some time and that may change.
Review and images by Daniel Schaefer.
Editor’s note: we’ve also provided more samples to better illustrate our points.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a slew of companies claiming a be all end all digital solution to mimicking film emulsion through a simple yet effective preset process. While many of these companies essentially slap your images across the face with a practically instafantastic palette riding saturation, fade and clarity like bucking broncos, others take the time to take a subtle approach, leaving the tuning up to you.
In testing the Mastin labs family of presets, I found this company to definitely be in the second camp. The Fuji and Portra packs both have a very minimally noticeable effect on each image. While the tones changing visibly for sure, I’ve found more often than not, in my pursuit of a finalized image I ended up correcting away from the preset functions. The treatment of shadows especially unpleasant, the highlights shifting minimally, really the only difference being odd and typically undesirable shifts in color. the Ilford Black and white pack while equally iffy at times has a saving grace in the addition of a solid emulsion of Delta 3200, and a very useful red filter emulator for fans of high contrast skies.
Granted, Mastin also states that these presets are a starting point and designed to be manipulated.
When I was pitched on Creatic, I was told about how it offers a social sharing experience not only with your images, but also with your editing settings. That latter part really struck me. Imagine a photo editor on your phone where you can make custom presets, share them and also share your images within an internal community–and then sit there wondering why it took someone until 2016 to actually do this.
A while ago, I reported on and reviewed an app called Perfectly Clear–it offered photographers great options for editing their images and making then look, well, perfectly clear. It’s biggest problem though was and still is the lack of a social community. Where Perfectly Clear failed, Creatic succeeds and does so much more.
Hey folks, keep in mind that our Kickstarter now supports both iOS and Android. Help us out!
For a long time now, I was an Alpha tester for the latest app from Really Nice Images. Back then, it was codenamed ChemEngine, and today the company is releasing the app to iOS. So what is RNI Flashback? In some ways, I want to call it the Tinder of photography apps–but with less of the swipe left or right mentality and more of the “what’s next” mentality. In this case though, you’re choosing photo filters and each is random. And just like Tinder, it isn’t all awful–but it’s more about adding selections of those that could potentially be “the one” to your stable of choices.
Overall, it’s fun and allows you to have lots of interactivity and versatility with each photo filter. But as with all things from RNI, these aren’t ordinary filters–they’re based off of the company’s careful research into various film emulsions.
Nik Software is now free, but there are lots of other options that can help you create better black and white images for a little bit of money. Take MacPhun’s Tonality for example: consider it the closest thing to blending Adobe Lightroom, RNI Films, and Instagram. Designed for mostly enthusiasts, Tonality had some of the same people working on it that used to produce Nik Software’s products. However, it also slates itself in a spot where it makes sense for the serious photographer since it can also function as a plugin for Lightroom and Photoshop.
If you’re using Adobe Lightroom, then you’ll want to right click an image, and choose to edit it in Tonality CK if you purchased the MacPhun Creative Kit. Otherwise just Tonality works fine. Lightroom will copy the file, create a TIFF (if you choose that, and I strongly suggest that you do) and then open up Tonality for you.
If you’ve been a reader of this site for a while, you know how much I’m in love with RNI Films for the iPhone. The app recently added dust and grain simulations that RNI created from actual scans and that I use all the time. But for a couple of months I’ve been testing and playing with an Alpha build of the company’s upcoming Flashback. Flashback isn’t necessarily designed for the higher end user that will take an image, apply a film profile and then edit from there the same way you would with RNI Films. Instead, it’s designed more to randomize the effects and looks of the images.
When it comes to HDR imagery, it’s tough to beat Trey Ratcliff–and that’s why Macphun collaborated with him to create Aurora HDR. The software works as both a standalone program or as a plugin for a myriad of software; and is designed to give users better HDR images with relative ease. Aurora HDR is by Macphun, the same folks who created Noiseless Pro–with many of them being former Nik Software employees. To refresh, Noiseless Pro won an Editor’s Choice award.
I was given a demo of Aurora HDR before it was announced; and I had a bit of familiarity with the software. Since its launch, there have been updates that allow Lightroom users to export images with the current edits that they’ve done to their photos. That’s incredibly important if you didn’t get it right in camera to begin with.
On average, it has some major advantages over what Adobe Lightroom offers with their Photo Merge HDR process. But on the other hand, it also has its quirks.