Bellingham & Vancouver Wedding & Lifestyle Photographer Mikaela Ruth »

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FAQ: Post-Processing Before & After

A question came through the comments on Karen & Levi’s recent wedding post on how I process my images…

Two years ago I shared my editing workflow in this post, but over time my style has evolved and so has my workflow, if only slightly. Since then, I began using VSCO Film Presets on my images in Lightroom and I absolutely love the feel they give my photos. Now, I’m not a film photographer and I’m not trying to appear that way, but there is a quality to the presets that I think enhances my brand.

What I’ve done is created my own preset using a VSCO preset as the base. My goals when it comes to editing is efficiency – no one wants to be stuck behind the computer editing all day! Or worse, night! – and consistent, natural looking images. Honestly, the VSCO preset collections contain so many great presets that I could go crazy with my options…and forfeit consistency. I’ve found and tweaked one that fits my style and I stick to it. Which also saves me time! The same preset is on file with my editing company of choice, The Album Design, where I outsource the bulk of my wedding editing, ensuring that perfect consistency.


Here’s a photo from Karen and Levi’s wedding day. The image on the left is straight out of camera and looks a bit underexposed, but I’d rather that than a blown out wedding dress! Brought into Lightroom (as pictured below) and with my preset applied, you get the image on the right. It also received a little temperature boost, and exposure and shadow adjustments. All of that in a matter of seconds.



One more, from Josh and Lindsay’s maternity shoot.  The preset is applied, and a few small adjustments are made such as white balance and exposure.


Any further photography related questions out there? Don’t hesitate to drop a note in the comments below or send me an email. Happy to help if I can!

*Edited to add: I’ve been asked which exact VSCO preset I use. I can’t remember for certain, but I know it was in the first film pack,
and one of the first presets of the set*

  • Beryl - May 16, 2014 - 10:40 am

    Hello, been a long time fan and would like to ask a few quick questions…what lens do you use the most as your blur is amazing in your pictures…I love how your subjects just pop out of your pictures!! Any post blur? Off camera flash or on camera flash (fill flash?)

    Thank you for your time.ReplyCancel

    • Mikaela - June 6, 2014 - 8:15 am

      Hi Beryl! I just posted another FAQ in response to your questions :) Thanks so much!ReplyCancel

  • Katie - May 21, 2014 - 6:15 am

    I love this post! Thank, Mikaela! I would love to hear more about how you found your style. I’m currently just beginning and I find myself admiring lots of beautiful work from other photographers, but I can’t quite get mine how I want it. Any tips for going through this process? Also, I always love posts about workflow and organization. Thanks for giving back and helping other photographers! Also, I’m so excited for you and all your moving adventures and having a baby. I can’t wait to follow along :)ReplyCancel

    • Mikaela - June 6, 2014 - 8:16 am

      FAQ post in response coming soon! Thanks so much, Katie! :)ReplyCancel

  • Mary - July 28, 2014 - 6:27 pm

    Do you mind sharing which VSCO set you start with? They all look so great! :)ReplyCancel

  • Emily - April 26, 2015 - 12:02 pm

    I am also interested in what Pack of VSCO you use. I am looking into purchasing VSCO but not sure which set!ReplyCancel

    • Mikaela - April 27, 2015 - 9:02 pm

      Hi Emily! I have the first and second VSCO sets but always stick with the first :)ReplyCancel

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