Like a lot of photographers, I have a deep love and appreciation for film photography. And I definitely shoot a lot of film photos. But sometimes—because of the practical constraints of certain gigs—I have to opt to shoot digitally. Digital photography is faster, more convenient, and more versatile. But, as I’m sure you know from experience, digital photography doesn’t always look as magical as we want it to. Luckily, there are light and airy presets for that.
There’s just something so powerful about the look of film photography. I knew early on in my career that I wanted to figure out a way to make my digital photos look like film photos. I wanted my digital photography to look like fine art. Luckily, with light and airy presets in Lightroom—I’m able to easily achieve that vision.
You’re probably already familiar with Lightroom’s plethora of light and airy presets and profiles. But are you using the right ones for your stylistic goals? If you’re trying to transform your digital photographs into something much more artful… keep reading. I truly wish I could go back in time and gift my past self with these Lightroom presets.
Before I started using light and airy presets in Lightroom, my digital editing process was anything but efficient. I would spend hours trying to get each photo from a digital shoot just right. I’d endlessly fiddle with the exposure, white balance, color, brightness, grain, and contrast. I was simply wasting entirely too much time on editing wedding photos in Lightroom. And I knew there had to be a better way. So, I made one.
My goal was to create an editing shortcut. I knew I wanted to a.) cut my editing time in half (if not more), and b.) pinpoint exactly which settings on Lightroom I needed to use in order to achieve that airy, effortlessly vintage, film-like, fine art look. And I wanted a way to do both. So, I figured it out.
I partnered with Marta Locklear of Refined Co. and we created a very specific set of light and airy presets and profiles that can be used in Lightroom. They’re called the Refined x KT Merry Presets.
Developing and perfecting these lightroom presets took us quite a long time. Years, in fact! We wanted to ensure that we were creating dependable, foolproof tools that we could rely on forever. And I’m so proud that we did. I’m also super relieved that we did! Because I use our tool in every single editing session. They’re that good. (Not to toot my own horn, but… toot toot.)
Whatever kind of photographer you are, these light and airy Lightroom presets will effortlessly transform even your flattest digital photos into artful, film-like photos. You can use the Refined x KT Merry presets as wedding presets, fashion presets… the list goes on! Because honestly, anything is going to look amazing with our film presets and profiles. I probably don’t have to point this out, but film really is that girl—timeless, classic, and impactful. And with the Refined x KT Merry presets, your photos will be, too.
Below, I’m going to show you exactly how to make your photos look like light and airy film with Lightroom, using the Refined x KT Merry collection Lightroom presets. Your Lightroom editing process is about to get a HUGE upgrade.
Scroll to watch my in-depth Lightroom presets tutorial (where I walk you through my hybrid editing process specifically).
As you can see, in a few clicks, we’re matching my film and my digital faster than ever.
Here’s a breakdown of the video tutorial (and my hybrid workflow) above:
– Positive-edit your film selects by going through and selecting the ones you want to keep (these will be your reference photos)
– Import all film and digital selects into Lightroom
– Using the Refined x KT Merry Presets, match your digital images to your film images
And here’s a breakdown of that third step (actually using the Refined x KT Merry Presets):
– We give you five basic presets with varying levels of contrast, shadow, highlight, and blackpoint.
– With each of those, you can also increase the intensity of each preset with the “plus” button we’ve included with them.
– We set it up this way because we found that labs vary, film varies, shoots vary, and scans vary. Therefore, sometimes you need three or four different variations of a preset (or presets) to match your digital selects to your film reference.
– Using your reference image, play with different presets, and the level of their intensity until each image’s levels of contrast, shadow, highlight, and blackpoint align with your reference film image.
The Refined x KT Merry light and airy Lightroom presets and profiles bring lots of life and plenty of personality to your photos while taking the time, effort, and frustration out of your backend/editing process. Because at the end of the day, we all have much better things to do than sit in front of our computers for hours on end trying to figure out how to edit each and every single one of our photos.
There you have it–using light and airy presets like the Refined x KT Merry collection is extremely easy and intuitive! (And they do a pretty amazing job at transforming photos.)
You can probably see why I couldn’t keep these Lightroom presets and profiles to myself. Any time I can figure out how to become more efficient AND help other wedding photographers do so… it lights me up. And who wants to keep the good stuff all to themselves?
Cheers to gorgeous photos and gaining tons of free time!
If you’re ready to spend WAY less time on backend tasks and much more time behind the camera, building your business, networking, attracting clients—or, you know, doing whatever else (vacation, anyone?). Then you should really consider taking advantage of the Refined x KT Merry fine art Lightroom presets. They’re here to significantly improve your editing experience, your final products, and honestly, your life as a professional photographer. So, cheers to that, friend.
If you’re looking for even more Lightroom inspiration, be sure to check out my previous post, 5 Tips for Editing with KT Merry Presets. As always, I’m wishing you nothing but abundance in your business and your life.
've spent the past decade capturing love and chasing beauty across the globe, and I believe every story like yours is different and special, and deserves to be told exceptionally.
Drawing on years of experience in the fashion and editorial photography industry, my photographs are graceful, honest and boldly natural, while completely intentional. Whether it’s the opportunity to narrate the retelling of once-in-a-lifetime wedding days, or the ability to communicate issues of global importance, or all the stories in between, I look at photography as the method by which I get to leave the world a little better than I found it.
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