My Fujifilm Post-Processing Workflow

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Sunlight Through The Forest – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm XF10 – Unedited JPEG

I was asked today to explain my post-processing workflow, which isn’t the first time that I’ve been asked this question. It reminded me that I should explain this as it’s something that people are obviously interested in. Without wasting another minute, I’ll dive right into the topic of my Fujifilm post-processing workflow.

Here it is: shoot, download, upload. Repeat.

That’s oversimplified, but not far from the truth. I use my film simulation recipes and adjust as needed to get the look that I want straight from the camera, no editing required. Most of the time I don’t post-process my photographs, relying on camera-made JPEGs instead. Fujifilm cameras are capable of producing wonderful JPEGs that resemble what other people get after fiddling with RAW files for awhile in software on a computer, only no fiddling is needed.

I have spent so many years shooting RAW and post-processing the files on my computer at home. I was spending more time developing the pictures than capturing the pictures. I won’t do that anymore! My time is too important to me. I love that I don’t need to do that song-and-dance with cameras like the X100F and X-Pro2. I can get the look that I want right from the camera 95% of the time. I snap the picture and already I have a finished photograph.

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Hazy Sun Behind The Ridge – Ogden Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 – Edited with RNI Films

Sometimes I’m not quite able to get the photograph that I want straight from the camera and occasionally I do need to manipulate the exposure using software. About half of my post-processing involves nothing more than minor cropping and straightening crooked horizons. Maybe 10% of my photographs require this, and I use the Snapseed app on my phone for this type of editing. It’s real quick and simple. I will also sometimes make small manipulations, such as changes to brightness, shadows, contrast and saturation, using Snapseed, but it’s not often that I do this. To get a certain look that requires a heavier edit, I use the RNI Films app on my phone. I’m able to mimic the look of any number of different films with one touch. I try to produce a JPEG out of camera that’s as close as I can get to the look that I want, and layer the film preset over that using the strength (opacity) slider to achieve the finished look. I resort to this technique with perhaps 5% of my photographs.

All that I wrote above is true for my X-Trans III cameras, but with the XF10 that I sometimes shoot with and the X-E1 and X-A3 that I used earlier in the year, I find that I’m post-processing a little more, and perhaps 30% of the photographs receive some editing. It is a little harder to get straight out of camera the look that I want with these cameras. Still, I try to achieve the results I’m after in-camera, and often times I can successfully do so. When I do need to edit I want to keep it to a minimum and spend as little time as possible on post-processing.

Using apps like Snapseed and RNI Films is great because I upload the photographs from my camera to my phone using WiFi, so there’s no need for a computer. Most of the pictures go directly from my phone into digital storage within minutes of leaving the camera. Some receive a level of post-processing using one of the two apps, but most do not. Often it’s shoot, download and upload, and that’s the extent of my post-processing. Occasionally I do manipulate my photographs, but I keep in mind that less is usually more, and I try to put the minimal amount of time and energy into it as I can get away with.

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Fun With RNI Films App

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A couple of weeks ago I downloaded a photo editing app called RNI Films. It’s got a ton of different film simulation presets, including Negative (color and black-and-white), Slide, Vintage and Instant. With one touch you can transform your digital image into something that resembles analog film. It sounded like an app that I would appreciate, so I gave it a shot.

The RNI Films app is free to download. It comes standard with quite a few different film presets, but you can add more for a price. I believe to unlock everything is around $20, which is cheap but kind of unnecessary as it comes with a lot in its basic package. I did purchase one film pack for $4 to get a certain film simulation that I thought I’d like.

The different film presets seem accurate. I have personally used some of the different films that they are attempting to simulate, but many of them I have not. I don’t think it holds up in comparison to Alien Skin Exposure, which, as far as accuracy is concerned, is tops. But for a free or cheap cellphone app, it’s quite good. You get a look that appears analog instead of digital and seems reasonably close to actual film stock. Using this app, I think that you could convince some people that you shot film when you didn’t.

One issue that I have with RNI Films is that there are too many choices. I wish that I could keep a dozen that I really like and get rid of the rest. It takes forever to flip through each preset one-by-one, so it’s important to remember which ones I want to use and where they are located. The process is very slow going if you are browsing.

I don’t see a good way to incorporate this app into a regular workflow. I shoot Fujifilm because their JPEGs are good, which allows me to achieve the look that I want with less time and effort. I have created a bunch of different film simulations that I can use in-camera, and most of the time I don’t have a need to post-process. I believe creating the look that I want in-camera is more authentic than using software to manipulate an image. Sometimes, though, it is not practical (or it might even be impossible) to achieve the desired results straight-out-of-camera, so an app like RNI Films could be a good option for quickly and easily getting the right look. I see this as being helpful occasionally, and remaining unused most of the time.

Where I have found this app to be the most fun is re-imagining photographs while waiting. If I’m at the post office standing in line I can open up the app and create a slightly different version of one of my pictures. If I’m at the auto shop waiting for the oil change to get done, I can re-imagine one of my pictures there. Wherever and whenever I find myself with time to kill, I can open up the RNI Films app on my phone, pick one of my pictures and run it through some film presets. Maybe I’ll create something that I like, maybe I’ll prefer the original version better. You don’t always get better results with this app. Most often you just get a different result, which may or may not be as good as the original. But it’s fun to see how different film presets change the look of an image.

The photographs below show the before-and-after from using this app. For a few of the images I prefer the RNI Films version, while the rest I think the original version is better. I didn’t document which presets I used because I was lazy. I just found the ones that I thought would work for the photograph at hand, and went from there. Obviously what I feel would work best for me and my pictures might not work best for you and vice versa.

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Schwabacher Landing Beaver Dam – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E1

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RNI Films App Edit

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35mm Film & Yashica – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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RNI Films App Edit

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Bubble Hazard – Seattle, WA – Fujifilm X100F

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RNI Films App Edit

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Conoco – Edgemont, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2

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RNI Films App Edit

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Little Blooms, Big Blooms – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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RNI Films App Edit

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Window Rose – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2

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RNI Films App Edit

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Blossom Branch – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-A3

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RNI Films App Edit 

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Red Lamp – Antelope Is. SP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3

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RNI Films App Edit

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Seattle Center – Seattle, WA – Fujifilm X100F

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RNI Films App Edit

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Early Morning Bloom – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2

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RNI Films App Edit