You have probably heard us speak in praise of VSCO film before, Deb mused about how less is more with the VSCO App and Kirstin sampled a VSCO filter in Film Without Fuss. I believe Holly was the one who originally lured me in to the VSCO den with images from Bonnie Tsang. VSCO film works using custom camera profiles and presets to emulate the look of film and hopefully speed up your workflow. It integrates seamlessly with Lightroom (3 & 4), Aperture and ACR (6 & 7). I have been a believer since the day it was was released for Lr4. And just when I thought they couldn’t improve upon the already perfect Film 02 they announced Film Pack 03, the instant films last month. Previous pack owners where given a brief (and golden) opportunity to purchase 03 at half the price, Happy Birthday to me. In a few minutes I was turning my DSLR into Polaroid inspired beauties with Pack 03 in LightRoom. note: You’ll be happy to know that previous VSCO pack owners, are automatically a part of their loyalty program and receive a reduced price offer on future product releases.


Creating the look of film

I spent some time on the tutorial section of the site to make sure I knew how to get the most of the new filter set. Since most of us here have a solid working knowledge of most types of popular films I wondered what their process was when developing film specific filters. Turns out they actually sought out all the film filters you find within the set, 03 is comprised of 2 sets, consumer and professional with a total of 121 presets) and shot images on that film and then (magically I suppose) extracted the variations of each of those films, carefully cataloging them into the presets like PX680, SX70 and Fuji 3000. They also offer varying degrees of these films according to developing temperature, you will also find high contrast (HC) versions as well as a negative preset for those who like the goopy side of the Fuji pack film. You’ll find in the blacks lighter than the gray when you apply this.


professional preset: Fuji FP-100c Negative +



before / after (click to enlarge)


professional presets: Polaroid 690 warm +++ / Old Lens +++


added Toolkit – Tone: Fuji FP-300ob Cool

If you prefer a more washed out aged look you’ll prefer the consumer presets.


consumer presets: Px-70++, Clarity Down+, Vignette- Heavy // Toolkit (Pack 02) Tint: Magenta Shadows & Color Saturation

You will find the 121 film presets broken into two separate sets, consumer, these are films are typically what we think of with instant film like the stuff you put in your 600 One Step and professional, films from pack camera with peel apart type film like the 100 and 240 Land cameras. And when it came time to shooting with Time-Zero (my all time fav) the results were not what they expected, orange, orange and more orange. But they decided to embrace the quirkiness and added the presets in there anyway. I liken it to the Kelvin filter on Instagram, there are truly only a very few images that look good with that filter.


presets: PX-70 Warm & Time-Zero Expired Cold

New ToolKit

The pack also comes with s new ToolKit and yes this tool kit works with previous VSCO film packs, although you can not combine and stack tools with older packs. They also added the new profile for the Fuji X-Pro1, X-E1 , X100 and X10. Existing VSCo users you will also notice they added triple minus (—) and triple plus (+++) versions in the tool kit, which give you a slightly larger varying degree of filter effect.

elephant_kingsman_ace_hotel_vsco_film yellow_chairs_vsco_film


Here are a few things I have learned along the way, most by trial and error and some by from the VSco blog.

  • Always correct exposure and white balance before applying a preset. VSCO will override your settings for all other edits.
  • Make sure your monitor has recently been calibrated, A big part of what VSCO Film does is add contrast. If your photo is primarily dark, then VSCO Film’s tone curves will probably make it seem like everything got darker. After you get used to using the filters you can adjust your in camera settings or apply exposure corrections after import into your photo editing software.
  • Often tint needs to go a little more towards green for skin tones.
  • Need someone to walk through the process watch this video.


professional preset: Polaroid 669 Cold

The most frequently asked question I hear …

I shoot in JPEG, can I use VSCO Film?

VSCO says:
“You can use VSCO Film to process JPEG images in LR4 by using the standard version of VSCO Film. Although we do highly recommend shooting in RAW. Shooting in RAW allows you to get maximum flexibility in editing as well as more dynamic range and color control. LR4 users will have great results using the “JPEG Contrast Fixer” tool in the toolkit.”

Bonus mosaic

Here are a few VSCO tagged photos from our Flickr Pool. If you are a VSCO user please include the tag #vsco we would love to see what you are creating with their filters.


1. saturday morning sprinkles, 2. soccer saturdays, 3. glisten, 4. in a chinatown kitchen shop

Happy editing,

Lindsey, aka modchik