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Converting Film Negatives with Lightroom Mobile

We have a million reasons why we love shooting film. One of the most common reasons I hear are, “It slows me down,” or “It’s fun to wait to see what I’ll get back from the lab.” All is very true, however, I don’t always have the time sit down and meticulously scan every negative and sometimes I just want to see if the the shot is worth scanning. Other times, I’m stopping by the lab during my lunch break to pick up my negatives. Other times, I would like to throw something up to our Instagram stories and a quick converted frame is plenty fast enough to give followers an update one some of the things I’ve been photographing.

I have fine-tuned my process in converting film negatives placed on a light table for a quick snap to see what I’m dealing with. I find the Lightroom Mobile app more flexible to color and exposure correction than other negative converting apps. Additionally, Lightroom Mobile is connected to creative cloud and my images are synced to my Lightroom Classic catalog

I want to add a disclaimer to this: This process is not in any way suggesting to replace any form of scanning. There is significantly more details in a scanner and/or DSLR camera. This process can be done with a DSLR with a macro lens and adjusted similarly within Photoshop.

In this video I invert the curve line which coverts the negative into a positive! However, you do have to make some color and exposure correction steps.

Color Module Adjustments

  • Temp: -80
  • Tint: -40
  • Vibrance: -50
  • Saturation: -15

Light Module Adjustments

  • Exposure: +1.50
  • Contrast: +10
  • Blacks: -70

Once these settings are in place, you can create a custom user preset which will allow you to quickly invert your negatives to a positive at the touch of a single button. From there, you can make some refined adjustments to color correct your image.

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Bill Manning View All

Host and Executive Producer for Studio C-41

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