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Ah, the great task of matching digital files to film scans. Compared to and/or complimenting film, it is so so nice to have the security, quickness, and flexibility of digital. But, oh! to match it to the beauty of film—that’s a whole other story.

We’ve written in other recent articles about the best cameras and lenses to match digital to film, and now we’re here to chat about our favorite editing tool for making our digital to match our favorite film stocks!

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In this article, we’ll talking about…

  • A brief history of film emulation to show how we arrived at our favorite tool

  • The Modern Era of Film Emulation and how it will help you be a better or at least a more efficient photographer

  • Our favorite presets for matching digital to film (or should we say, profiles!)

A Brief History of Film Matching

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Several years back, Kirk Mastin first released his “Mastin Labs” presets, and it rocked the world of digital editing for those of us who wanted edits closer to our favorite film stocks.

Yet, there was much to be desired still from those presets. Most of us with a keen eye towards film found ourselves doing constant tweaks, trying to get images to look less “crispy” and to more truly reflect not only the colors of film, but also the “look”.

Edited with C1ick Match. Photoraphed using the 150mm f/2.3 Schneider Cinelux Xenon from  The Boutique Lens

Edited with C1ick Match. Photoraphed using the 150mm f/2.3 Schneider Cinelux Xenon from The Boutique Lens

Since Mastin Labs preset were released, a number of film emulation iterations have risen that have all attempted to bridge the gap over which Mastin first ventured. Many of these are excellent and can create beautiful results, from Jose Villa’s Presets, to Noble, to the Grovers Presets and many others.

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And yet, one film emulation tool has begun to take the market by storm among many well-known, long-time film shooters. And to boot, it’s technically NOT a preset. It’s a profile.

The Modern Era of Film Emulation

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Film emulation, along with excellent gear that rivals and beats many film cameras in terms of dynamic range, has entered a new era leaving many long-time film shooters even unsure which photo is film and which is digital.

Particularly tricky to the well-trained eye is C1ick Match, a collection of film emulated profiles that have managed to beautifully replicate both Kodak and Fujifilm stocks including Portra 400 and Fuji 400H.

What is a Profile and How Does is Compare to a Preset?

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Most wedding photographers are familiar with presets, but profile will throw quite a few off. To keep it simple, a profile is exactly like a preset, accept once it’s applied from the Profile Tab in LR, all your sliders remain zeroed out.

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The benefit to this is that, even after the profile is applied, you still have a wide range of control over your sliders, where a preset would cause the slider to move and thus prevent as drastic of slider flexibility.

Our Favorite Film Emulation Tool for Lightroom: C1ick Match

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Without a doubt, C1ick Match has amazed us more than any other preset/profile. They’re easy to install, use, and really do look incredibly like film!

Why We Transitioned from Mastin Labs to C1ick Match

We actually made a transition from Mastin Labs to C1ick Match due to C1ick appearing to have a more film like gradation in color, especially in the highlights. The shadows and colors in general just seem to match film better. Also, the overall look just feels more like film, instead of that “crispy” digital look.

More Info On C1ick Match

C1ick Match began in the summer of 2009 by Dustin Stockel as a scientific approach to achieving a look that was similar in rendering to how Noritsu and Frontier scanners create a well-balanced scan.

Since their release, Dustin has provided impressive updates that continue improving the work-flow speed of many hybrid photographers. Our work-flow has drastically improved.

On top of all that, there’s a thriving community of photographers that can provide plenty of more feedback and examples in the C1ick Match Community Facebook Group!

BONUS PROMO CODE: So, what are you waiting for? Head over to C1ick Match’s Website now and get up to 20% off using our unique code: JEFFANDMICHELE

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