VSCO Film 03 is Like a Desktop Instagram for Pro Photographers


Film emulation software company VSCO has added another offering to its lineup of Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw plugins. VSCO Film offers the same high-end film emulation power as Film 01 and 02, except it’s designed for mimicking the look of instant films rather than standard color and black-and-white film stocks.

Like its sibling plugins, Film 03 presets are based on individual camera profiles. If you’ve always wanted to recreate the look of Polaroid, Fuji, and The Impossible Project films in a way that’s more advanced than applying generic edits to each photo, this software is one you’ll want to look into.

The presets are designed specifically for Canon, Nikon, and Fuji cameras (you pick which brand you use to apply effects specifically designed for your camera). They also work best with RAW files, as it gives the most flexibility for changing the look of the photos.

Film 03 also goes beyond the basic emulations offered by 01 and 02 by introducing a new custom toolkit that allows photographers to more easily customize the resulting look of the presets. You can now reduce clarity, reduce sharpness, use an old lens effect, add various toning looks, and introduce vignetting.

Here are some sample photographs with instant film looks emulated by Film 03:

EleanorPetry_FP100cNegative copy

EleanorPetry_FujiFP100Ccool+ copy

NiravPatel_PX680++ copy

GrantHeinlein_PaulOctavious_669+++ copy

NicoleFranzen_Poloroid690++ copy

MarcusSmith_PX100UVWarmplusplusplus copy

Available for Adobe Lightroom 4 and Adobe Camera Raw 7, Film 03 costs $120 over in the VSCO Store.

  • sporkguy


  • Bill Wilson

    Warm up the photo, use the tone curve to “flatten” the highlights and shadows, increase the black levels, maybe add some split toning, and VOILA! I just saved you $120.

  • Syuaip

    not worth $120… =(

  • Nathaniel Young

    I really like the results of the 01 and 02 packs but I have been far from impressed with what I’ve seen from 03. We don’t need a desktop instagram.

  • dorn

    Maybe I am old and curmudgeonly but I am still trying to figure out why one would want to make an image look like an old faded or mishandled print from the old days.

    I can get it when it comes to some things and I understand trying to emulate the look of a certain film or processing technique, but a lot of these effects are what I used to call “mistakes” when I was in the darkroom.

  • Jeffrey Lee

    Am I not getting something? Are these really just presets that take advantage of the same slider settings, et al that are already available in LR? Do these products have no substantive code of their own that act as an extension to the existing code?

  • Drew

    I bought the first set and never use them. Each film emulation has a “camera profile” that they have created to get the colors to look like the certain film. Instead of “Adobe Standard” or “Camera Neutral,” they have created ones like “Fuji 160C v2C” and “Kodak Portra 400 v2C.”

  • Allen

    They use custom RAW profiles, so you have to run an installer.

  • ennuipoet

    For JUST a 120 bucks I can make the photos I take with my high end DSLR and top quality lenses as sh*tty as something taken with a cheap ass phone? Where do I sign up?

  • Josh Goodwin

    Think of how the photo will be used. For instance you can use this look when doing photos that will be used to market products/events/junk to hipsters.

  • UncleSam

    $120?! WTF I remember when presets were a dime a dozen. Those were the good ol’ days I suppose. :(

  • KH

    Photoshop action scripts, Lightroom presets, ect, ect… For this price, I’d rather buy the $ 20+ IP film and a $5 goodwill camera.

  • Igor Ken

    lol. so true. Hipster sh*t… this isn’t even that good. you can download similar presets/actions from free sources on dA

  • Igor Ken

    100%agreed. Instagram and Hipstamatic were both introduced around the same time with the iPhone 3GS (If I am not mistaking..) you can apply crappy filters to crappy quality images of a 3.2mpx camera made in 2008 and get a half decent or at least more interesting picture… well that doesn’t work the same way with a 3K$ to 5K$ worth of camera+lens equipment. It’s not an upgrading for your work, but rather a downgrading

  • Igor Ken

    You want to edit your pictures with some plug-in? Nik Software for the win!
    Silver efex/color efex are the best.

  • bogorad

    Doesn’t DxO sell similar software? DxO FilmPack:

  • Benksy

    I think these are rather cool… I’m sure photo purists would be upset by the idea of “downgrading” your photos by using these, but if your photo is good, then emulating the effect of an older camera on your image shouldn’t make it any less inspiring or beautiful.

  • marc osborne

    These aren’t the best examples of this set of plug-ins…You can also use it subtly. Instead of calling it the desktop instagram… you could call it the desktop version of VSCO Cam which is a pretty popular IOS iphone. Actually I’m going to say these are terrible representations of the software…check the website for better examples if you have any interest.

    I really like VSCO..but I don’t really feel like spending another chunk of money after buying the 02 set when it came out 6 months ago…and the 50% off just isn’t interesting me. I’ve already given them close to $200 this year alone.

  • marc osborne

    sorry IOS app, I meant. And by terrible I mean the quality seems to be diminished by blog resizing.

  • Swade

    You know that Instagram was sold to Facebook for billions of dollars right? VSCO makes its money by targeting this large demographic that wants this. Not only that, if you learn to use it correctly, it could work for what you want for your photos. Look at Jeremy Cowart’s photos that he recently edited with VSCO 03 film set. I personally like what he does, and I wish I was as successful as he is.

  • Swade
  • Theodore P Rysz III

    I think that you guys are all missing the point. Yes maybe some don’t look as good as others, but after purchasing the set earlier today, it is great. I think that the idea is to free those who take photos from processing to focus on the taking of the images.

  • Theodore P Rysz III

    @dorn:disqus Sometimes “mistakes” are the best images.

  • Eziz

    You can’t a blame a fella for trying to make a buck in the crisis era :D

  • Antonio M. Rosario

    The $120 price tag keeps me from buying it right away. Maybe if they were $80. And I agree that Jeremy Cowart’s work is a great example of these things used to their best. I doubt anyone would say his pix look like they came from a crappy cell phone. Given the right images, I think these presets would totally work.

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  • dorn

    I suppose there is the conundrum. Most of these filters make the images look like photos that have had something go wrong with them. I agree with your assertion. I used to do things to experiment with process, films, papers and so on. Sometimes mistakes would be great. But mostly… and most all the time the images looked like what the filters look like above— the images would be unusable in my opinion.

  • Oren Beck

    There’s an aspect of “outsourcing” the person-hours for codifying these settings into a plug.And to my take- We’re still split on amusingly petty quibbles over trivial “how we do it” bits. Not a pun in this case to say that -as how we manipulate the “bits” is why folks pay for these tools. Amusingly to me – dissing the software plugs is little evolved past the old disdain for RC papers. Look up the phrase “not on your tintype. Seriously though- It’s a case of how many hours you want to spend seeking these effects or just to shell out shekels for the result.

  • Ariel Caudis

    If u want film look like photos, why u just dont shoot film?!?! Digital users want their pictures look like film, film users want their photos look like digital.
    Btw last photo its far away to look like a real b&w film photo

  • Jim

    Do these presets do anything that can’t be done with the standard controls in Lightroom, or do they simply save us from making the effort to learn Lightroom ourselves?

  • Igor Ken

    yeah, you can also just do what you want to your photos using appropriate equipment and not some instagramish tool for bigger toys

  • Igor Ken

    bah, I dunno… if you don’t regret buying it, than probably it’s ok :) (or at least it is for you)

  • JC Vogt

    I think it’s the uncertainty of not being able to know what you’ll get until you process it that makes the whole film experience fun. When it comes to the end of the day, it’s not what the film looks like, it’s what you captured that matters.

  • ryanwrightphoto

    As an owner of the first two film packs, I’m very excited to pick up this one soon. All of my portrait clients have raved about these presets when I’ve used them.

  • Theodore P Rysz III

    Again that is a fair statement. I just think it is all preference based.

  • Theodore P Rysz III

    Fair enough.