Brixton Film Preset Edits for a Stylish Film Look | Portraits

In this blog I cover:

  • How I find subjects and models to shoot with while traveling 
  • What said shoots look like with Brixton Preset edits
  • Compare / Contrast VSCO and Brixton
  • A step-by-step visual example using a Brixton preset 
  • Using different styles of Brixton presets on shoots with models and couples
  • A comparison of multiple Brixton presets amongst one photograph
  • A curation of my portraits with different Brixton presets
  • The conclusion = cons + pros + why

Buy the Brixton presets here

Portraits while traveling

I love portraits.

I will edit all day without stopping when I land a good shoot.

All the portraits shown here are edited with Brixton Film presets and I will review my personal opinion on them. 

I've been asked a lot how I end up finding models and subjects to shoot with while traveling because I don't know anyone. The power of social media in which I'll explain soon.

While traveling, I do my best to link up with other artists, travelers, and models to shoot so that's where the majority of my photos are from here. The other "models" are my friends who I always make model for me! It's a great way to practice and everyone wins, right?

This year, I was an au pair in Italy for 3 1/2 months so I got on couchsurfing and made a thread in the local Milan area saying I'm a photographer looking for subjects to meet up with and shoot! Within a few days, I had at least 20 replies for people willing to model. Some people were hilarious, others quite creepy, and many were genuine. Because of schedules, I only landed a few shoots with subjects but one of the shoots was pure magic. Here are a few shots from Milan with NYC native Quiana:

For this shoot, the Brixton presets worked beautifully. The blue tones throughout the shoot contrasted nicely with Quiana's warm skin tone.  Blue hour especially worked wonderfully for these Brixton presets. 

In regards to finding people to shoot with while traveling, most of the time I don't actually use Couchsurfing. I use Instagram. I find relevant hastags, such as #NYCmodel or #NYCphotographer and find models and photographers that I like through that system. Then I direct message them about me and when I'm available and that I would love to shoot with them if they are interested. It takes time but I get a few responses and schedule shoots this way. I also meet awesome people. 

Other times, I have a connection through a friend, a FB group, or other photography events such as attending Adorama's weekly learning events while in NYC. Another great app to use for photography events whether you're a local or a traveler is Meetup. There's always a photography event in this app whether it's a group that walks around to shoot the city together or to meet up in a cafe and talk art. These are great ways to meet fellow photographers, models, and learn something for free

Here are some photos from NYC that I recently took.

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The Brixton Presets don't shy away from color which worked well for Savannah's blue hair!

I also love how the photo of Annelise posing in the NYC streets with pops of blue and orange and a perfect dynamic range derives from the preset "streets." Well done Brixton.

Compare / Contrast VSCO and Brixton

Before Brixton, I only edited with VSCO Film 00 and 06. I still use them a lot and I had previously edited all the photos on this blog with VSCO presets until re-editing with Brixton presets. Some I still like better in VSCO and some I like better in Brixton. Here are a few comparison shots.

VSCO Sensia 100 XP over from VSCO Film 06 versus Brixton Deep Notes from Brixton Essentials

I honestly love both edits so much that I can't choose. However, with VSCO presets, I did a lot less editing step by step. Saving time makes a huge difference and I like simplicity even though vibrant colors and light show in my work. I want the color and light to do the work and the editing to be minimal. I like to spend more time retouching faces than anything.

A step-by-step visual example using a Brixton preset

Next I'll show the RAW file, the VSCO edit, and then the steps I took to get from a Brixton preset to where I wanted it. I used Sleeklens editing to retouch Sonja's skin and bring out her beautiful eyes. 

The steps I took with the Brixton preset were I played with the curve to add contrast, I burned around the more overexposed edges of the photo, I made a slight change to her skin tone to be more green/orange and less pink, and made the yellow in the flowers more orange as a simple preference. 


Different styles of Brixton presets

One of my favorite things about the Brixton Film Presets is that they possess a nostalgic, vintage personality whether the preset is light and airy or dark and moody. I usually go for rich shadows, saturated colors, and high contrast in my work, even if I'm still channeling a vintage vibe, but sometimes it's nice to lighten up for a fun shoot with pastel colors and Brixton Presets offers all kinds of presets. The next three NYC photos are from the Photojournalism bundle with the Lemongrass preset which I find airy, light, and flirty. 

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While I really love these edits, I tend to favor warmer colors and darker shadows. So for this same shoot with Erica, I edited all the next Central Park photos with one of my favorite presets from Brixton Essentials : Warm Memories. It really gives me a vintage vibe full of color and nostalgia which I love.

Hey love birds! I also love shooting with couples so here are some examples of what Brixton Presets look like with my previous work.

I really loved how well the presets worked with light and color here. My favorite above is the Modern "Boost + Punch" and how it captured back lighting and the rich color so perfectly. I barely had to re-edit that preset at all.

I also did a shoot with my sister and brother-in-law in their brand new house. We wanted to keep it real casual, capturing a lifestyle shoot, and I'm pleased with the Brixton preset edits.

A comparison of multiple Brixton presets

The following photos will be a comparison of different presets of the same photo from the Brixton bundle Modern. I chose this photo because of the color palette. There are two different skin tones as well as red, green, and blue colors. Who doesn't enjoy a moon photo either?

Curation of portraits with different Brixton presets

Before I write my conclusion on the pros and cons from my experience, I'll leave you with a quick look at the presets I think worked best for my portraits! I believe it's nice to see a flow of edited photos so I hope this truly helps. From Texas to Bosnia, I try to shoot portraits wherever I can as you can see below. I truly love creating emotion and drama while staying true to my subject's wishes and personality. (hint hint: wanna shoot with me? I've got you covered. schedule me asap even if you're like in France or something).

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My top 3 problems I have with Brixton presets on portraits:

1. Most of these presets were not quick edits for me. The colors were a bit too extreme or the clarity way too high. I had to change the shadow colors in the curve to tone the photo down. 

2. I worry about the consistency with a preset throughout multiple shoots, probably because the presets are a bit too over-edited, which is my #1 issue. For example: Warm Memories seems to work beautifully on very specific portraits but I simply couldn't make it work on the majority of my portraits. Therefore, I wouldn't use it for most shoots as I would want not only consistency in an individual shoot but also in my overall work. I will say, though, Warm Memories is a top favorite of mine in my travel photos now and I absolutely adore it in that sector.

3. I am surprised but I don't have a favorite go to Brixton preset for portraits yet. I easily found my top 2 go to presets for my travel photos: Essentials "Warm Memories" and Modern "Blast" but for the portraits I had to edit too many of the photos heavily to get what I wanted. I do know I really love Teakwood when I tone down the reds in the shadows. However, I did have a bundle that I used the most which leads me to the next section of this blog.

My top 3 favorite things about Brixton presets on portraits:

1. The Essentials bundle is great overall. I used it the most for my travel AND portrait photography! I love it. I was surprised that I didn't use the Portraits bundle that much but I honestly was not nearly as impressed with that bundle as I have been with Essentials, Modern, Photojournalism, and Vintage bundles. 

2. Colors Colors Colors. Didn't I just say the presets were too overstylized? Yes, I think they are, but then again, the presets I do end up using the most have amazingly rich colors. Warm Memories has a lovely blue highlight against a red shadow, Teakwood has a pop of creamy earth colors and red shadows, Modern Film doesn't shy away from strong pinks and reds, and Playful has a high definition to make every color in the shadows appear. I tend to find the presets that allow my colors to soar and then tone them down to however I like them.

3. Mood. I definitely talked about this in my travel review on the presets as well. The presets exude mood. Nostalgia and warmth are super important to me in my photos. I tend to edit with a warmer tone and I love shooting to capture emotion so I really appreciate how the presets enhance what I'm aiming for. Whether I'm shooting underexposed in blue hour or into the sun during golden hour, the presets can truly bring out the light and emotion in an edit. 

Buy the Brixton presets here