VSCO Film for Nature and Landscape // Review
I recently purchased Visual Supply Company’s (VSCO) Film Pack 02. I made the decision after studying the work of other photographer’s who had used it to process their images. After purchasing the product and putting it to use in Lightroom, it has quickly become one of several re-energizing motivators in my photography. As a (primarily) hobby photographer, my “picture-taking” has tended to go in spurts over the past 6-7 years. The purchase of a 50mm prime lens about a year ago, had me completely re-enthused about making images. Seeing the difference in clarity and experiencing the DOF I was able to get with an aperture wider than 3.5 was exciting! It got me motivated to go out and make images. Enter VSCO Film. Like very few products, VSCO has me enthused and excited to go out and explore nature with new eyes. Even without a camera in hand, I see and imagine scenes as they would look through the
technical shortcomings beauty of an aging process (film).
Going back now to my decision to purchase VSCO film. After searching the internet for VSCO film in action (samples), almost all of what I found was a collection of beautifully processed weddings, engagements, and editorial, or product shots. VSCO works great for these photos. For example, take a look at Logan Cole or Jonas Peterson’s work if you need proof. Keep in mind as you are reading this that I am not naive enough to believe that if you apply a VSCO Film preset to a photo that it all of a sudden becomes a masterpiece, work of art, or even a “wow that’s a cool pic!”. Technique, talent, light, communication with a client or model, are likely all more important that how you process that final image. However, with a good combination of each of the aforementioned qualities, having a consistent, beautiful way to process those images will have a difference in how your work is viewed and received. To simplify what I’ve been trying to say, VSCO Film is simply a tool, to be used with all of the other tools a photographer must use in order to be successful and make “pretty” pictures.
Now getting back to what I was originally saying; after searching the internet and finding many wonderful photographs of people and products, I found very few photographs of nature and landscapes that were processed using VSCO Film. This could possibly be because of two things. Photographers who are using VSCO Film to process there nature images, are not sharing those images online (and maybe not mentioning they were processed in this manor). Or, photographers aren’t using VSCO Film to process nature and landscape images. Whatever the case may be, I have decided to give you just a few of my thoughts on VSCO Film for nature, and to continue to share (on my blog) photos that I use VSCO Film to process.
Living in the Northwest this time of year, I am blessed with a lot of fog, water, and moody days. Having just moved from Minnesota, it is my first time experiencing this area as each phase of the season moves by. This new landscape and experience, along with my re-energized desire to take pictures has gotten me outside and back again with much fuller memory cards. The photos I’ve taken here in these wet conditions seem to beg for that look of “film” (whether it’s an accurate portrayal, I am not going to debate). The slightly faded shadows and highlights, the muted colors, the grain; it all adds to the accuracy of how I view and see the conditions around me.
As far as my actual workflow goes, it is very simple.
- I shoot in RAW. The RAW vs. JPG debate is dead.
- I Import the photos into Lightroom.
- I then choose a VSCO preset, depending on my mood, the photo, and the strength of my coffee.
- After this I generally adjust: the exposure, contrast, clarity, and grain.
- Once I’m satisfied with the batch of photos, I hit export.
- Done. It’s really that simple for me.
Do I recommend you use VSCO Film? That depends on what you want your photos to look like. I can’t and
won’t (sometimes I’ll try) tell you what your photos should be.
Is it just a passing fad? Perhaps. But that is a whole new blog post for a different time. In the meantime you’ll likely find me slapping some “Fuji Superia 800” on my photos.
Ask me specific questions in the comments section below. I would love to hear how you use VSCO Film, or why you think VSCO Film is stupid.
Also, here are several more posts of nature photos processed with VSCO Film: Dripping, November Fog, Pend Oreille Valley Railroad