How to Easily Simulate a Film Look in Lightroom

How to Easily Simulate a Film Look in Lightroom

Lightroom Film Presets

Want that grainy, real-feeling film look? Luckily you don't need to pull out your old camera and black your windows out. Making a "shooting on film" feel in Lightroom is super easy if you know which settings to change. In this tutorial you'll learn a quick and easy method that you can later use to simulate any film type you want.

As the characteristics of each film type are different from one to another there are not an exact formula to use a certain setting for all film types, but instead you will have to change the values a bit depending on the film type you want to simulate. There are many different websites where you can do a quick research on how the film type you want to simulate looks such as the Film Database.

But before we begin and if you want to follow this tutorial exactly as described, please download the following image from Pexels.


First, to emulate a certain film look you must know how it actually looks. For this tutorial, we will do our best to simulate the Fujifilm Pro 400H film taking some reference images from the Fujifilm Pro 400H images available at Film Database.

Taking an overall look at the reference images in the Pro 400H gallery, we can see that the contrast has been increased, the highlight values are a bit low and that the blacks are lightened. Also i noticed that the vibrance is just a bit low, it has some rough grain and the Hue is a bit changed (just like the Saturation and Luminance).

Step 1

Open you picture in Lightroom.

Step 2

In the Basic tab, increase the Contrast to around +90, decrease the Highlights to -65, the Shadows to -4, the Whites to -40 and increase the Blacks to around +80.

Step 3

Under Presence, decrease the Vibrance to -12 and the Saturation to -2.

Step 4

In the Tone Curve tab, click and drag the Shadows anchor point to 0,0 / 2,0%.

Step 5

Now, click and drag the Lights anchor point to 100,0 / 98,0%.

Step 6

Instead of using the individual Curves channels adjustments, we will be changing some HSL values. Go to the HSL tab and apply the following settings. Note: you may need to change a bit these values according to the film type you want to simulate.

Step 7

Go to the Effects tab and set the Grain values as follows: Amount 30, Size 40 and Roughness 55.

Step 8

Lastly in the Camera Calibration tab increase the Saturation of the Green to +9, decrease the Blue Hue to -11 and increase the Saturation to +10.

A Final Tip

If you plan to use these settings on various pictures, a good idea is to save them as a Preset. Simply click on the plus sign (+) at the top right corner of the Presets Panel, name it and save it. The next time you want to use it, simply open your image and click on the Preset you saved to apply this Film Preset to the current picture.



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