Film is like a bucket that can only hold a certain amount of color, while digital shots are like a bigger bucket that can hold much more color, especially in very bright and dark areas. This leads to more colorful highlights that are a dead giveaway and can instantly ruin your film emulation.
That's where my new Lightroom preset comes in, aiming to restore that classic film charm.
Introducing the "Saturation soft roll-of masks" Lightroom preset, designed to be one powerful yet subtle tool that helps you recreate the timeless allure of classic film photography within the digital realm. Inspired by the soft saturation roll-off that film photography has at the edges of the dynamic range.
In simpler terms, it tones down the saturation in the darkest and lightest parts of your images while leaving the mid-tones untouched. This is achieved with 3 masks that aim to stimulate that gradual roll-off on your digital files.
Above you can see how this would look on a luma vs sat curve. The effect will be subtle but by incorporating this technique, into your workflow you will level up your film emulations. The preset effectively softens the saturation at the extremities of the exposure spectrum. This intentional reduction in saturation results in a more subtle and organic tonal balance, minimizing any color casts while enhancing the overall natural appearance of your images.
The preset works best with natural light and shots with no color channels oversaturated at the time of capture. I would avoid using it on images where RGB LEDs were used as the main color source because they output a lot more color in only one of 3 channels and often will overexpose at least one of them.
You will get 3 presets. One of them affects both the shadows and the highlights at the same time. While the other two will give you more control breaking the 3 masks into ones targeting the DARKS and HIGHLIGHTS of the image.
To learn how to add any presets to Lightroom you can follow these steps:
One Lightroom / Camera raw preset