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Mastin Labs Ilford B&W Lightroom Presets Review

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Related course: The Preset Collection

The Mastin Labs Lightroom presets are an excellent way to liven up you editing workflow. Mastin Labs is a company that specializes in creating Lightroom presets and ACR presets. Their products are designed to help photographers achieve the look and feel of film photography with digital photos. In this article, we’ll take a look at Mastin Labs’ Ilford B&W Lightroom & ACR presets and discuss how they can help you improve your black-and-white photography skills. So if you’re interested in learning more about Mastin Labs’ Ilford B&W presets, keep reading!

3200, Highlight Hard
3200, Highlight Hard

Kirk has been absolutely meticulous in creating these gorgeous presets, which I use to process my photos in as little as three clicks.
(check the image captions to see the settings I chose)
Lets have a look at some of the photos I’ve processed with these presets…
This photo was taken at dusk, and I particularly like the way the water looks almost metallic.

Pan F, Highlight Soft, Yellow Filter
Pan F, Highlight Soft, Yellow Filter

Shot at a fish market in Busan, Korea, the sheer number of colours makes it a very busy photo to look at. However, when you convert it to black and white, it creates a very interesting dynamic range of tones.

HP5, Highlights Hard, Shadows Soft, Yellow Filter
HP5, Highlights Hard, Shadows Soft, Yellow Filter

Textures always look more interesting in black and white, which is why the hair in this photo compliments the tone of this photo so well.

Pan F, All Soft, Red Filter, Vignette
Pan F, All Soft, Red Filter, Vignette

Believe it or not, the plant that’s occupying the majority of the frame is actually yellow, but the overcast weather meant that it was very soft, which looks great in Black and White with a red filter.

Rapeseed, 3200, All Hard, Red Filter
Delta 3200, All Hard, Red Filter

Taken in Shanghai, this photo was shot from the hip, but I could never work out how I should process it.
It didn’t really work in colour, but using the Delta 3200 preset, the added grain added a very cool texture to the photo.

3200, All Soft, Yellow Filter
3200, All Soft, Yellow Filter

When I’m traveling, I do my best to get off a bus in an area I don’t know, and just start taking photos.
I came across this indoor market in Ningbo, China and I really like the contrast between the two halves of the frame, and the overall texture which is highlighted by the Pan F preset.

Pan F, Highlight Hard, Shadow Soft, Red Filter, Slight Vignette
Pan F, Highlight Hard, Shadow Soft, Red Filter, Slight Vignette

Found in an arcade in Tokyo, Japan…

Pan F, Shadow Hard, Green Filter
Pan F, Shadow Hard, Green Filter

Ms. Lauryn Hill at a concert in a Roman Amphitheatre in Pula, Croatia.
With so much colour going on at once, it can be a little overwhelming. I decided to take a step back and take a contextual photo of the photographer’s pit.

Pan F, Highlight Hard, Yellow Filter (141 of 1)-2
Pan F, Highlight Hard, Yellow Filter

As the sun was very low in the sky (winter), it outlines the ladies on the right, and this looks awesome in black and white.

Pan F, Shadow Hard, Red Filter
Pan F, Shadow Hard, Red Filter

Shot with my new Olympus EM5 mk ii, I processed this without a colour filter. If I were to change the filter colour, this man’s orange jumper would have changed shades dramatically.

Pan F, All Hard
Pan F, All Hard

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A Style That Suits You

When I’ve shot on black and white film in the past, I’ve tended to use HP5, as it’s the most readily available film.
But as it turns out, I far prefer the look of Pan F as I like my B+W photos to be quite contrasty.
The great thing about presets though is that you’re not tied to a particular film.
You can choose between all three film types, depending on what suits your photo the best.
Here’s the films you have at your disposal in this pack:

  • Pan F – high detail, low grain, rich contrast
  • HP5 – higher dynamic range, softer contrast, faster film
  • Delta 3200 – very fast film, lots of grain

You can buy them here, and save 15% (applied at the checkout).
Have a look at the comparison I’ve made below:

Pan F HP5 Delta 3200 Comparison
Pan F / HP5 / Delta 3200 – Comparison

Save Time, Save Money

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…
The less time I can spend in front of a computer, the better.
Each of the photos you’ve seen in this post were processed in 5 clicks or less (minus exposure and vignette adjustments).
It’s like having the power of a RAW file over a piece of film – you have total control to make it look however you want.
And lastly, lets not forget how much money you’ll save. In England, a roll of B+W film and development can easily run you £15-20 ($24-38) for 36 photos.
It doesn’t take long for the economics of these presets to make sense.
You can buy them here, and save 15% (applied at the checkout).
You should also check out our ultimate Mastin Labs review.

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