Get the retro look for your photos with these 10 free presets from Picfair

First published:
November 23, 2023
Updated:
February 14, 2024

Get the retro look for your photos with these 10 free presets from Picfair

First published:
November 23, 2023
Updated:
February 14, 2024

Cover image by Philip Mowbray

Use these Adobe presets for Lightroom, Photoshop and Lightroom for Mobile to imbue your photos with old-school film charm in an instant

NEW:

Discover (and download) all Picfair presets on our dedicated Presets page on Focus.

In an age of crystal-clear, high-resolution digital photos there’s a certain charm to the imperfections, heavy grain and optical flaws you would often see in old film photography.

This set of 10 Retro Presets, brought to you by Picfair, can be used to give your photos the look of faded old films and prints. You can use them in Lightroom, Lightroom for Mobile, or in Photoshop’s Camera Raw.

Download your 10 Retro Presets:

Download your retro presets here.

Presets come in a Zip (.zip) file, which can be imported as one into Lightroom or Photoshop so you don’t need to import each preset individually.

To load them in Lightroom (desktop), head to the Presets Panel, click the flyout menu and choose ‘Import Presets’. For how to import presets in Lightroom for Mobile, see instructions here.

Overview (with example images) of Picfair's 10 Retro Presets:

1 35mm Compact

In-built lenses, automatic exposure and pocketable sizes meant that the 35mm compact was the standard point-and-shoot camera of the masses for many years. The cheapness of lenses and simple controls meant photos often showed optical flaws, softness and exposure issues. Over time, the colours in prints and film would skew, causing shadows to tint red or blue. The look is best suited to snapshots and travel photos.

2 35mm outdoor

The preset cools the colours slightly and skews blue skies towards cyan, giving outdoor photos a washed out retro feel with a cooler colour tone. It also adds a slight amount of grain, but less so than the 35mm compact preset because an outdoor film would by nature have a lower ISO and a finer grain structure.

Editor's tip: Use the Slider Tool to control the amount of preset effect

Use the Slider Tool (as seen in Lightroom below) found at the top right panel in the Develop Module to control the amount of preset effect you're applying to your image. This way, you can tailor the look to your image as much (or as little) as you want.

3 Disposable Cameras

The disposable camera is little more than a box with a cheap lens at one end and a spool of film at the other. These single-use, point-and-shoot cameras became popular for tourism and events like weddings. Focus-less lenses meant images were often soft, and the camera body could be susceptible to light leaking that might fog the film, causing a washed-out look. Try the preset out on snapshots and street photography.

4 Flash Film Camera

On-camera flashes tend to blast subjects with flat, cool, frontal light. The preset reflects the look by cooling the highlights slightly, and lifting the red and orange tones. An on-camera flash falls off quickly, leaving the backdrop darker, so the preset also adds a darkening vignette to the corners of the frame. 

5 Super 8

Super 8 film was used for amateur movie-making and home videos. Like a low megapixel camera, the small film size of 8mm wide (including film sprockets on one side) meant the film suffers from a large grain structure compared to larger standard sizes like 16mm and 35mm, and any dust or marks on the film would be more visible. The preset applies heavy gain, if it’s too strong for your liking head to the Effects Panel to tone down the grain amount.

6 Instant Photo

In the days before digital, the magical immediacy of instant prints like Polaroids made them invaluable when the photographer just couldn’t wait for film to be developed. Great for snapshots, portraits, and documentary photography, the preset adds a characteristic white border around the edges of the print, boosts contrast and skews the colours towards cyan and yellow.

Editor's note:

This preset includes both a horizontal and vertical version for landscape and portrait images.

7 110mm film cartridge

The distinctive 110mm cartridge has two cylindrical containers at each end, one for unexposed film, the other for exposed film. The small film size (half that of 35mm) meant 110mm cameras were smaller and the cartridge design - without any need to rewinding the film - meant they were easier to load. The preset adds a strong grain pattern characteristic of 110mm film, and flattens out the shadows.

8 Out-of-date film roll

After time the chemicals in film can cause it to decay. Use an out-of-date film stock and colours may be less vibrant and grain more pronounced. Light eventually seeps in, and the film can become foggy and lose contrast. It’s a look we can recreate by flattening out the whites and blacks, reducing the colour saturation and increasing grain.

9 Light Leak

Depending on the image you want to use this preset on, the colours may initially look too strong or weak so you might need to tweak the Amount slider within the preset to control the overall strength. You can also delve into the Masking Panel to alter the position of the light leak linear masks so that they bleed in from different areas of the frame.

Editor's note:

This preset includes both a horizontal and vertical version for landscape and portrait images.

10 Gritty low-fi

Low-fidelity photography embraces imperfections, softness, optical flaws and chemical failings. The preset adds a heavy vignette reminiscent of a pinhole camera, as well as strong grain and lens distortion. Try it out on images with a central composition like this, or pair it with a black and white effect.

Download your 10 Retro Presets:

Download your retro presets here.Presets come in a Zip (.zip) file, which can be imported as one into Lightroom or Photoshop so you don’t need to import each preset individually.

Bonus tip: Combine presets to get a unique look for your images

Consider combining the different preset looks to get an even more refined retro look for your photos. For example, selecting the 35mm Compact preset with the Light Leaks preset will apply the effect of both to your image, here's an example below:

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