Using Levels to Create the Film Look in Your Photos

The film look continues to enjoy a resurgence in popularity. And while many enjoy the style, they may balk at the cost of shooting actual film. This helpful tutorial will show you how to emulate it using just one powerful tool.

Coming to you from Ted Forbes of The Art of Photography, this great video talks about using levels to emulate the film look. And while he's using Capture One, you can apply the same principles in Photoshop. You can also do this in Lightroom using the Curves tool. So much of a given film's signature look comes from how it renders colors, and modern digital sensors are quite clinical in that aspect (which isn't a bad thing), so if you want to create a more vintage look, changing the way the shadows and highlights handle color is a great start. I think Forbes is also on to something important when he discusses dynamic range. Modern digital sensors far outpace film in dynamic range, and as such, if you want to imitate the look of the latter, it helps to remove some of that extra dynamic range; otherwise, I think you'll often find you end up with an image that has interesting colors but still looks very modern. Check out the video above for more! 

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Studio 403's picture

Good post, helpful, thanks

Billy Walker's picture

Excellent tutorial!!

Studio 403's picture

Looking at photo shop today, looking for the level adjustment location and how to get the same effect. Thank you