Balancing Digital Precision with Classic Photography Look and Feel

Everyday online, I marvel at impressive images that are amazingly sharp, colorful, and display broad dynamic range. Indeed, today's photographers have access to the greatest tools ever.

But sometimes I need something a little different, slightly less perfect. That's when I turn to analog or film emulation filters. For certain shots, this look helps me better tell the story.

Out for a Stroll "Out for a Stroll" - Venice Beach, CA. Pentax Program Plus with Kodak 200 film. Photo by Derrick Story.

Take a look at this shot from Venice Beach, CA. This is an iconic California location with interesting characters, palm trees, and sandy walkways. People have been hanging out here and enjoying the sights and weather for decades. And for me, that history is part of the story, even for images captured today.

There are many different ways to paint this scene and tell the story. And to be honest, I would probably like most of them. I often shoot both digital and analog at the same time, then decide later which direction I want to go. For this series, the analog feel won hands down.

You don't have to shoot film to play in this sandbox. Every major processing application has film emulation presets available, either as part of the app, or via plugins. And what I've found is that I tend to lean on just a few of those presets for most of my shots because they have a look that I find appealing - just like I typically work with just a few film stocks.

Digital photography has brought amazing flexibility to our image making. And if we think to, we can choose from an array of looks to help us better tell the story.

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