COMPARISON // Film Emulation Is A Good Thing

There's something that strikes me every time I view a photograph I take without having applied any sort of preset, and that is just how bland the colour and tonal range is in those photos in comparison to my usual processing.

You get used to seeing through a VSCO coloured lens and forget how different it makes your photographs feel. So I thought I'd show a few photos before and after applying my favourite colour preset based on Fujicolor 800Z film.

It does something absolutely magical to the colours and tonal range in my opinion. It brings skin tones to life, smooths out highlights and shadows while still adding punch to the contrast. It can make a "snapshot" feel like a wonderful moment in time.

There was always something about film and I feel like digital cameras, while very accurate at reproducing what they're seeing, have no life in their default JPEG conversions (or the default settings in raw photo development).

That's why I love using these kinds of film emulation presets.

The Next Revolution in Photography Is Coming by Stephen Mayes

Stephen Wilkes

In the future, there will be no such thing as a "straight photograph"

It’s time to stop talking about photography. It’s not that photography is dead as many have claimed, but it’s gone.

Just as there’s a time to stop talking about girls and boys and to talk instead about women and men so it is with photography; something has changed so radically that we need to talk about it differently, think of it differently and use it differently. Failure to recognize the huge changes underway is to risk isolating ourselves in an historical backwater of communication, using an interesting but quaint visual language removed from the cultural mainstream.

The moment of photography’s “puberty” was around the time when the technology moved from analog to digital although it wasn’t until the arrival of the Internet-enabled smartphone that we really noticed a different behavior. That’s when adolescence truly set in. It was surprising but it all seemed somewhat natural and although we experienced a few tantrums along the way with arguments about promiscuity, manipulation and some inexplicable new behaviors, the photographic community largely accommodated the changes with some adjustments in workflow.


TUTORIAL // Color Film Scanning by Michael Fraser

Michael Fraser is a Toronto-based fine art and street photographer, working primarily on B&W and color film. He has put together a great trio of Color Negative Scanning articles. I really think they are a great introduction for anyone looking to better understand scanning their negatives. For those who already have a good grasp of the basics, your in luck because by the end or his 3rd installment ... you'll be happily surprised. Enjoy

Part 1 - The Rationale

Let's face it: scanning colour film - particularly colour negative film - isn't life's most enjoyable task.  Getting the colour just 'right' can be tricky, and the inability to preview the shots prior to scanning (one of the major benefits of reversal film, FWIW) is a drawback.

Nevertheless, good results are possible.  I've been a strong advocate of a workflow based upon scanning to linear TIFF files (preferably using Vuescan), and doing the orange mask removal and inversions using the ColorPerfect plugin.  For those who haven't seen it and would like to, my workflow is available here.

Since that video was produced, however, there have been some substantial changes to my film scanning workflow, the most profound being that I no longer actually use a scanner.  Based on my tests from late last year, I decided to sell both of my film scanners and move completely over to a DSLR scanning system, based around a Nikon D800 and a Tokina 100 f/2.8 macro lens.  I've written about my workflow with this system previously, and I'm very happy with the final scans I've been getting out of this system.

Despite this, there are two things that always bothered me about the Vuescan/ColorPerfect workflow: first, the complete inability to batch the process on multiple images, and second, the lack image-to-image reproducibility in ColorPerfect.

Both of these are essentially criticisms of the ColorPerfect plugin itself (though not, it should be noted, of the quality of the final product that ColorPerfect can produce).  The plugin isn't compatible with Photoshop actions (except to call up the plugin), and the controls are not at all intuitive, which makes it very difficult to get consistent results between frames.  That is, two shots, taken in the same light, may end up with very different final scans, depending on the way in which you, the user, manipulate the controls in ColorPerfect.  And as I said, knowing which control does what is not exactly straightforward.

With this in mind, I decided to try to improve upon the process, and to develop an entirely Photoshop-based process for colour negative scans.  The three conditions for a successful process were:

  1. Output as good as - or better than - what ColorPerfect can produce (it goes without saying that image quality should be the primary concern),
  2. The ability to batch at least part of the process (it'll never be 'set and forget', but if an entire roll could be ingested into Photoshop and at least inverted, with an easy way to finish the colour balancing, I'd be ok with that), and
  3. Frame-to-frame reproducibility.

Against my better judgement, I'm going to "live" blog this process.  I'll try to update this every few days with my progress, and to detail the thought process behind the things I'm doing.  In the end, I'm hoping that I can develop a simple Photoshop action (which will be shared with whoever wants it, of course), which could help film photographers gain a little bit more control over their colour negative film scans.

So here we go.

Source (

1975, Kodak, Steven Sasson & the Digital Camera.

by James Estrin

Imagine a world where photography is a slow process that is impossible to master without years of study or apprenticeship. A world without iPhones or Instagram, where one company reigned supreme. Such a world existed in 1973, when Steven Sasson, a young engineer, went to work for Eastman Kodak.

Two years later he invented digital photography and made the first digital camera.

Mr. Sasson, all of 24 years old, invented the process that allows us to make photos with our phones, send images around the world in seconds and share them with millions of people. The same process completely disrupted the industry that was dominated by his Rochester employer and set off a decade of complaints by professional photographers fretting over the ruination of their profession.