Core | Color Lightroom Presets


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These are not gimmicks, these were not rushed to make money. These are the looks I designed for myself after being totally happy with all the other film simulations out there. After constant requests by readers and followers, I’ve taken a great deal of time to package these looks up into something that can be incredibly powerful and useful in every situation for any style of photography.

This is a product I am very excited about and it has dramatically changed the way I edit. It has made me faster and I’ve also learned a great deal about tone control, color harmony, and grain while making these, and I think you can learn a great deal from these presets as well by opening them up and seeing how they work.


31 Total Color Presets

The Core color preset package took over two years to create with each color meticulously designed, tuned, and tweaked on various camera systems to produce a unique analog film look.

The goal was to build enough presets and tools to provide versatility so that the looks are useful in any situation. For traditional landscape, street, and portraits, to faded Instagram look with complementary split tones.

Color harmony played a very important roll in the designs and the colors are tuned and shifted to create a more pleasant balance between tones.

Some looks are inspired by popular film looks like Kodak Gold, Kodak Ektar, or Fujifilm 400H, and several of the looks are designed for night shooting in mixed lighting conditions.

Each look has been tuned with alternate variations using different contrast and color so they are useful for all styles of photography and in all lighting conditions.


As a whole, this pack is designed for high contrast and punchy colors, but you can always turn the contrast down for a softer film look.


7 Core Looks

Each look has a base look with variations, an aged look, and some have alternate looks for better compatibility with different camera systems.


Core Looks I – IV

Designed primarily to produce nice skin tones no matter the camera brand and two variations were produced to help with this. C1 and C2.

If you’re shooting on Sony, Canon, Nikon, Sigma, Panasonic, or Fujifilm, between the C1 and C2 looks with the different versions of each look, you should be able to find looks that work for your camera without any problem.

Variations – Each look has at least two variations, some up to three. These keep the same core look, but they have been altered for different lighting and environmental condition.


Core Looks V-VII

Designed without protecting skin tones so the reds and yellows can shift a bit more. This is useful in environments without people or in strong lighting conditions.

These are primarily what I use for street photography, especially at night. For those that follow my Instagram, Core VII is mostly what I use for my night street photos.



Each color set has a Core look and an Aged Look built-in as options.


5 Different Grain Styles

Light, Medium Crisp, Medium Soft, Heavy Crisp, and Heavy Soft.

Crisp was designed to protect the edge sharpness and details in the photos. This is great for photographers that want to preserve sharpness at all cost, while still adding a slightly dithered feel to the image. The Crisp grain setting is also very useful at high ISO values where the image has already lost detail from digital noise. Noise reduction only removes so much of this digital noise so a Crisp grain pattern on top will help mask any artifacts without reducing the details further.


Soft is designed to soften the edge sharpness. For photographers that want a more natural analog grain pattern. The Soft grain setting is much closer to the real thing.


4 Split Tone Sets

Split-tone effects add complementary colors to further style or age the images.


Use the Split-Tone effects with the Aged looks while shooting with an on-camera flash for an 80s retro look. A slightly slow shutter of about 1/15 helps this when using a flash.



The Core Look

The base Core looks have a higher contrast with deeper blacks and colors.


The Aged Looks

The Aged looks are slightly faded and some of the colors are shifted to simulate a mild old or expired film look, but without losing contrast and saturation.



The Challenges

The challenge was to create presets that looked great on any of the different camera brands.

Sony, Panasonic, and Fujifilm both take a more natural realistic approach to their RAW colors while Canon and Nikon are more styled. While the presets work great on any camera, some have been given alternate looks to work with the different systems which are labeled C1 or C2.

The curves, both the luma curve and the RGB curves, needed to be tuned to produce more depth and tonality to the colors for a more analog, less digital look.

The color curves were heavily manipulated to add some stronger colors in the different tonal ranges. Some looks like the Core II have cooler colors in the shadows with more warm colors in the highlights which is a popular look in cinema.

To add the final touches, even the grain presets have been meticulously designed to give as much of an analog look as possible. There are several different ways of tuning the grain by adjusting the roughness, the size, and the amount and different formulas produce dramatically different results.


Different Lenses

The looks come set with pretty high contrast and saturation by default because they have been designed around older retro lenses or less expensive lenses that tend to not have a lot of contrast or saturation. If you’re using very high-end lenses that produce a lot of contrast & saturation, you may find that you need to reduce the contrast or saturation sometimes.


Naming Convention

The letters and numbers are used to organize the looks.

Core I – Core VII have different base formulas with some alternate tunings for different environments and lightings.

Aged – Aged looks have lifted blacks and often have a little extra red added into the shadows.

C1, C2 – Colors are tuned to find a happy medium between the different camera brands. This allows photographers that shoot on different cameras to still find looks that work for them. It’s possible these will be expanded in the future, but so far they are working very well on the different brands of cameras. Only some of the Core colors needed these.

+R – Extra Red was added to the image.

Warmer – The image is colored slightly warmer. This only happens once on the Core III set. Core III set is inspired by Kodak Ektar and this was an alternate take at mimicking the film stock with creative liberties taken.

Streets – This look only works on the Core VI.1 preset for now. It adds clarity for a punchier look. This is somewhat experimental, but a lot of street photographers use a lot of clarity in their images so it’s left in as a reminder of an alternate look that can be achieved by pumping up the clarity.




Current version: v1.00

Those who purchase presets will be automatically added to an email newsletter where they will receive updates when changes occur. These looks will continuously change with updates and tweaks as cameras and technology change.


How To Install

Unzip file. Right-click in the preset panel in Lightroom. Click Import.