June 20, 2012

Photoshop plug-in for a film look – Nik Color Efex Pro 4

For a part of the individual workshop we did yesterday, Anelisa wore this cute outfit with a bit of a retro look to it. I loved her spontaneous pose here as well. In editing the image, I thought that an “old school” film look to it might suit the final photograph very well.

In previous examples shown here with a vintage look to the photograph, I had used the Totally Rad action sets. This time I wanted a specific film look to it, so I went with Nik Color Efex Pro 4 (B&H). This Photoshop plug-in has a 55 different filters. And of course, I like things which are easy to use.

To my eye, the Agfa Optima 400 film added just the right amount of saturation and contrast and film grain to enhance the original image. (The unedited image is shown below.)

The lighting was with a Canon 580 EX II in a Lastolite EZYBOX Softbox Kit (24″x24″) (B&H). For remote triggers for the flash, we used two PocketWizard FlexTT5 transceivers (B&H).  To overcome the RF-interference problem with the Canon 580EX II, I had the speedlites modified to fix the RF noise.

camera settings: 1/1000 @ f3.2 @ 100 ISO … TTL flash
Canon 5D mark II; Canon 70-200mm f2.8L IS II (B&H)


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{ 10 comments. } Add a Comment

1 naftoli June 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm

whats ur method of seeing ur result on the lcd screen in bright light like this, do u use a loop?


2 Neil vN June 20, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Naftoli … until now I haven’t been using a loupe. I’ve relied on the histogram and blinking highlights display … but it is still tough in the shade.

Mike, who was the workshop was for, used a Hoodman Hoodloupe (B&H), and it worked so well, that I am going to buy one. I just need to see if it fits the Nikon D4 properly.

Neil vN


3 Trev June 20, 2012 at 8:54 pm

I use Nik Efex Pro 4 Tonal Contrast a lot for bride’s dresses to bring back the details.

Especially when you need to use flash to overcome backlight as I do quite a bit here in sunny Australia.

They are fantastic presets for fine tuning images, not necessarily in doing an effect like Neil did above, but also just to bring out the best in an image.

Of course, you only need to use that when you cannot see details as good, and even when you think the whites have gone too far, it puts slight shadows in the folds/curves of the dress to help highlight the details.

In edits I did normal [including removing the blues from the dress] then did my preset Tone for Whites and a slight crop/rotation.

This wedding was at 1.30 pm, very bright and cloud cover coming in and out, made it hell, shooting against the backlight and expecting to get the sky [when it showed] in at a huge dam in our area.

I had 2 Quantums on stands, closest I could get without being in the way was around 15 meters back, so put on the quantum Tele dishes [man they work great, harsh, but at least I can get light, from memory around 1/2 power] on both to give extra power, without resorting to full power on flash so I did not have to keep waiting for recycle, which it did to help light them up.

ISO 100 200th f/10. Lowest aperture I could go without blowing too many highlights, even then I had to recover sky in almost every damn shot.

You can download the presets from this link.


(Here is the OOC file, directly from the RAW conversion with no edits, no sharpening, no contrast, no blacks, just exposure slightly adusted.)


4 Omar S June 21, 2012 at 5:59 am

Alienskin Exposure is also pretty good with film-style rendition. I use both of these


5 Gary Smith June 21, 2012 at 8:27 am

Hi Neil,

I use Color efex 4 and Silver Efex 2 for my wedding work. Although, I have got my favourite treatments in both that give me my “style”, I definitely need to spend some time to create more recipes to really enhance my images.

They also plug into Lightroom so my workflow is pretty quicker as I don’t need to open Photoshop unless I really need to.



6 Tony S June 21, 2012 at 5:20 pm

1/1000??? Not afraid of the TT5 frying your 580ex II at that speed?


7 Neil vN June 21, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Not particularly. I wasn’t shooting fast. Besides, I had both my Canon 580EX II speedlites modified to solve their problem for them. Money out of my pocket to fix Canon’s problem hardware.

Neil vN


8 Gary June 21, 2012 at 6:52 pm

NEil, what did you have done to your speed lights to fix the problem?


9 Neil vN June 21, 2012 at 11:23 pm

There was a link on the PocketWizards site with details of a company that will do the necessary mod. But I see now the link is inactive. A Google search might throw up a few answers.

Neil vN


10 Anto Boalis August 17, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Nik Color gives so stunning results, I usually work with alienskin.com/exposure and some actions from film-effect-photoshop.com ,I’m now thinking on purchasing the new vsco… well, absolutelly film look victim!


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