How To Make Your Photos Look Like Film Using Film Presets for Lightroom

How To Make Your Photos Look Like Film Using Film Presets for Lightroom - Mastin Labs

Film presets for Lightroom are a great way to get that classic film look on digital images. 

While shooting real film can be a lot of fun and an excellent way to grow as a photographer, it simply isn’t practical for most photographers to use it all the time. The film look is amazing, but shooting real film is pricey and unforgiving, and the results can be unpredictable—especially when you’re still learning.

That’s why you might want to consider using quality film emulation presets to get the film look with your digital photography. 

The Film Look is Making a Comeback

In our opinion, the film photography look never really had to make a comeback—it’s always been in style! But there’s been a clear resurgence in the love for all things film photography lately, and we’re here for it.

However, shooting film can be challenging, time consuming, and expensive—hence why digital photography is now the more popular choice.

For most photographers, digital photography is more forgiving, accessible, and practical. This is especially true if you’re a professional photographer. When you’re shooting professional wedding photography, commercial photography, family photography, boudoir photography, or lifestyle photography, the benefits of shooting digital are clear. 

That’s why we started Mastin Labs in the first place: To make the film look more accessible to every photographer by offering the best film presets for Lightroom out there!

Why is film photography so popular?

If you’re here, you probably already understand why the film photography look is so popular. It’s a bit difficult to explain, but when you know, you know.

A young couple glances at each other while sitting in an old car in a photo edited with Mastin Labs black and white film presets for Lightroom.

Film photography just has a unique and authentic look that really can’t be beat. Plus, with many different types of film out there, you can achieve an array of looks—from retro vintage to light and airy to black and white.

Some of these films have become iconic over time. Film buffs can probably tell which film was used just by looking at the picture.

Real Film Vs. Lightroom Film Presets

Let’s dive into some of the differences between real film and digital images edited with film presets for Lightroom, a popular photo editing software

Do any photographers still use film?

Yes, photographers still use film! In fact, many photographers who have shot mostly digital are now picking up film cameras, whether they’re getting back into it or trying it out for the first time.

Many photographers use a mix of digital and film photography, since digital photography is so convenient and reliable but film photography can be fun to experiment with.

Many photographers also use film presets for Lightroom or film styles for Capture One to get the film look on digital images, either to supplement real film photos or just because they love how it looks.

Is it worth getting into film photography?

In our opinion, shooting film photography is a great practice for any photographer. It will teach you things about photography that you might not learn shooting only digital. 

However, shooting film photography can be challenging and expensive. Each photo you take is technically costing you money, and the cost of the film and getting the photos developed can really add up over time.

So yes, try getting into film photography and see if you like it! But it might not be practical to rely on it as your only source of photography. 

If you’re wondering how to get into film photography, check out our free learn to shoot film video series

How do photographers get their film look on digital images?

The good news is that if you love the look of film as much as we do, but you don’t want to shoot real film all the time, you can use film emulation presets.

A couple walks together holding hands on a beach in front of a beautiful jungle and mountains in a photo edited with Lightroom film presets emulating fujicolor pushed film.


Many photographers use Lightroom film presets or Capture One film presets (also known as Capture One Styles) to get that classic yet cool look on digital images.

When comparing digital vs. film photography, the differences are often quite clear. However, when using high-quality film presets that emulate the looks of specific films, it can be tough to spot whether or not the photo is digital! Sneaky, or smart—we’ll let you decide. 😉

What are the pros and cons of using real film vs. film presets for Lightroom?

Here are just a few of the benefits of shooting film and the benefits of using film presets.

Benefits of shooting real film

  • Learning more about your craft.
  • Shooting film photography often sparks creative ideas and inspiration.
  • Getting that real film look is something special.
  • You don’t have to worry about low quality Lightroom presets (many of the free Lightroom presets you see out there won’t properly emulate real films). 

Benefits of using Lightroom film presets 

  • There may be an initial investment, but in the long run, Lightroom film presets are more affordable than shooting real film.
  • Lightroom film presets and Capture One film styles can be used on your digital images, and shooting on a digital camera is much more forgiving and often more practical, especially if you’re being paid to take photos.
  • After applying Lightroom film presets, you can tweak your image until it’s exactly how you want.
  • When using good film emulation presets, it’s difficult to tell the difference between digital and real film.

Using Film Presets for Lightroom

How can I make my photos look like film?

If you’re interested in making your digital photos look like film, you have a couple of options:

  1. Create a film look yourself by changing your Lightroom settings to emulate a film look.
  2. Use film look Lightroom presets, like Mastin’s classic light and airy preset pack, and then tweak as needed.
A couple cuddles while sitting on a blanket during a beach picnic in front of a picturesque view of mountains in a digital photo edited with a film look with fuji original film presets for Lightroom.

The first option can be quite time consuming and frustrating, especially if you’re not used to creating your own presets. 

The second option is more accessible and, if you’re using high quality presets, they should be quite easy to use and give you that film look in just a few clicks. 

It depends on your personal preference, but many photographers prefer to buy presets rather than making their own.

Does Lightroom have film presets?

Lightroom comes with some presets included, but for a real film look, you’ll want to purchase some high-quality film emulation presets for Lightroom.

How do I make my photos look like film photos in Lightroom?

Here are some tips to help make your photos look like real film in Lightroom:

  • Shoot in RAW (shooting in RAW has many benefits).
  • Use high-quality Lightroom film presets.
  • Choose Lightroomfilm presets that match the setting and the look you’re going for.
  • Tweak the image as needed. For Mastin Labs presets, we use a 3-Step Workflow to perfect the film look on your photography.

Which film presets for Lightroom should I buy?

When it comes to choosing which Lightroom film presets to purchase, there are a few things to consider:

Choosing high-quality film presets will make a difference

Most of the free Lightroom presets you see out there are free for a reason—they either don’t properly emulate real film, or they are difficult to work with. 

A mother kisses her daughter on the cheek while a family eats dinner together during family photos edited to look like film with film emulation presets by Mastin Labs.

That’s why Mastin Labs doesn’t offer free Lightroom presets—we spend a lot of time and energy and expertise perfecting the quality and performance of our film emulation Lightroom presets, and they are worth it. Thousands of photographers have told us so!

The type of photography you shoot and the film look you’re going for

When you’re looking at Lightroom presets that emulate real films, you’ll want to choose based on the settings you typically shoot in and the film look you’re going for.

To help you choose, here are descriptions of the Mastin Labs film preset packs, which include some of the most popular film looks. You can also take our film presets quiz to see which is best for you!

Night & Day Lightroom Presets

Our Night & Day Lightroom film presets pack is super versatile and perfect for low-light lifestyle photography, urban photography, studio photography, off-camera flash photography, and fashion photography. Edgy, gritty, stunning—the films in this preset pack are cult classics!

Film presets for Lightroom included in this pack:

An esso gas station lit up at night with a cool, cinematic film look edited with Mastin Labs night & day lightroom film presets.
A person lying on a couch during a boudoir photoshoot with a film look thanks to black and white film presets for Lightroom by Mastin Labs.
A woman in a yellow dress holding birds of paradise flowers in a digital photo with a film look.

Lifestyle Everyday Lightroom Presets

Like the name suggests, the film presets included in this pack are perfect for capturing candid, everyday moments. With two popular film color presets and one black and white film preset, this pack is great for candid portraits that offer a great bold and balanced film look without being overly stylized. 

Film presets for Lightroom included in this pack:

Two women laugh together while look at a phone in a coffee shop in a photo edited with Mastin Labs lifestyle everyday film lightroom presets.
A black and white portrait of a man, taken on a digital camera and edited with acros 100 film emulation presets for lightroom.

Fuji Original Lightroom Presets

A fan favorite for light and airy photographers! The Fuji Original Lightroom preset pack is perfect for outdoor wedding photography, family photography, and engagement photography. 

Film presets for Lightroom included in this pack:

A beautifully decorated table at an outdoor wedding, edited with light and airy lightroom film presets.
Two children dressed up for a wedding riding a bike together in an image edited with Mastin Labs fuji original film presets.

Fuji Pushed Lightroom Presets

The Fuji Pushed film presets pack a punch with a vibrant and airy look. Ideal for lifestyle photography, wedding photography, and engagements with vivid, dream-like colors.

Film presets for Lightroom included in this pack:

  • Fuji 160NS+1
  • Fuji 160NS+2
  • Fuji 400H +1
  • Fuji 400H +2
  • Fuji 800Z +1
  • Fuji 800Z +2
A woman with beautiful blue eyes looks at the camera while interesting shadows fall across her face in a photo edited with fuji pushed film presets.
A bride in a yellow dress with a large, stunning bouquet stands with her groom in front of beautiful scenery in an image edited with fuji pushed mastin labs film presets for lightroom.

Adventure Everyday Lightroom Presets

Adventure Everyday is one of our most popular packs with two bold, colorful film presets and one black and white film preset. With a bright and vivid look, these presets are perfect for travel photography and capturing authentic, candid moments.

Film presets for Lightroom included in this pack:

Two surfers prepare to get into the ocean in a photo edited with Mastin Labs ektar 100 film presets for Lightroom.
A young woman in a flannel shirt carries a skateboard in a digital photo edited with tri-x film presets by Mastin Labs.
A mother with long, brown hair holds her smiling, young daughter during a golden hour photoshoot edited with Mastin Labs gold 200 film emulation presets.

Artisan B&W Lightroom Presets

If you’re looking for a great collection of black and white film presets, the Artisan B&W pack is for you! These black and white presets look beautiful with a variety of photography genres and settings.

Film presets for Lightroom included in this pack:

Two people run hand-in-hand through a misty field in a photo edited with ilford original film presets.
A newlywed couple kisses while driving away in a convertible in a photo edited with black and white film presets from Mastin Labs' ilford original pack.

Portra Original Lightroom Presets

For a more subtle, warm and neutral film look, the Portra Original pack has you covered. These film presets are versatile, well-balanced, and perfect for natural light portraits.

Film presets for Lightroom included in this pack:

A beautiful bride and groom sit at their wedding table during wedding photos edited with portra original film presets for Lightroom.
A woman looks at the camera while standing on the beach in a photo edited with Lightroom film presets.

Portra Pushed Lightroom Presets

The Portra Pushed Lightroom presets are neutral and moody with warm tones and high contrast—perfect for editing boudoir photography, indoor lifestyle, and adventure elopements. This is the ultimate dark and moody preset pack.

Film presets for Lightroom included in this pack:

  • Portra 160 + 1
  • Portra 160 + 2
  • Portra 400 + 1
  • Portra 400 + 2
  • Portra 800 + 1
  • Portra 800 + 2
A bride wearing a black dress holding a beautiful bouquet kisses her groom in the desert in a digital image that looks like film thanks to portra pushed film presets for Lightroom.
A woman leans against a bed during a boudoir photoshoot edited to look like film.

Still not sure? Check out the Mastin Labs Facebook Community to see images edited by real people, and you can even see if someone will edit yours for you to see if you like it. 

How about film emulation LUTs for video?

If you’re looking to create a more cinematic, film look in your videography, we offer  a solution for that, too! You can check out Mastin Labs film emulation LUTs, available in Fuji Original, Portra Original, Adventure Everyday, Lifestyle Everyday, and Portra Pushed. 

Enjoy Your Lightroom Film Presets!

And if you use Mastin Labs Lightroom presets, don’t forget to join our community and to tag @mastinlabs in your images on Instagram so we can show you some love and maybe even share them!

Some other helpful photography resources you might like: