Working With Presets, Entry 1 (VSCO 00)

This is the first of five posts exploring the use of presets to enhance the storytelling power of images. In the same way that film photographers rely on proven methods of analog editing / enhancement to tell a story (manual doge and burn, push and pull developing), presets (commercial or home-made) can be useful components of a digital workflow.  That said, presets are a poor proxy for determining your own lighting vision or creative direction, as they should not replace the imagination. Anyway, enough throat clearing. Let’s get to the images!

I start with VSCO 00 because of its excellent (and free) Kodak Gold 100 emulation. I grew up seeing photos made via Kodak Gold 100, so for nostalgic reasons, I will begin with its emulation: 

Above: Fish Cart, San Fernando. Below: Jeep Puddle, San Fernando.



Above: Decanter and Coffee, Ortigas. Below: Ink In Hand, Ortigas.


Above: Friends Engaged. 


The last shot above is of my son, Raf. I have a number of images from my own childhood in Kodak Gold 100, and I can see the similarities in color vividness. Most of the actual film shots I take of my kids today are on Ektar, Colorplus, Acros, or Ilford.

Next, here are some images using the amazing Tri-X emulation, also free with VSCO 00:


Above: Sand Falling, Pampanga. Below: Chestnuts and Coffee, Antipolo.


Below: Full Bloom, Rizal.



Above: Purposeful Pointer, Cebu. Below: Firewood Splitting, Cebu.


I like both of the emulations featured here because of the options available after you apply the preset. The emulations do not affect exposure values, so you are free to tweak the result until it matches your taste. The presets work fine with JPEGs, but they produce more accurate results from raw files.

Well, that’s it for today! Next time, I’ll feature emulations for Kodak Ektar 100 (one of my favorite current films to shoot with) and Kodak BWCN400 (also a favorite film). Since those films are current, I’ll post samples from recently taken film images to help you evaluate if VSCO got the emulation formula right.

I’d like to make it clear that I’m not associated with or financially remunerated  by VSCO or any of the authors of the presets that will appear here. I am of course a customer (for paid presets), and a  non-commercial user (for the free presets). Have a great week! 

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