A cross-processed photo of a road lined with trees

Cross Processed

Cross Processed free Lightroom preset recreates the unmistakable retro look of cross-processed images. The aesthetic is uniquely achieved in analog photography when developing slide film; the outcome is similar to what you get when processing a chromogenic E-6 film in C-41 chemistry.

Even without any knowledge of analog photography or developing photos from slide film, you can still have this artistic vintage look using this preset — digitally and only a few clicks. What you get is an unsaturated matte photo that exudes compelling and timeless drama.

Produces a Cross-Processed Look

A cross-processed outdoor portrait of a woman wearing a flowing black dress

Cross-processed Tones. To create the signature look, Cross Processed preset tints the brightest and darkest regions. It adds an orange tone in highlights and deep blue in shadows. You can easily notice the result in the After photo above. Try to examine how these tones blend to produce a convincing retro look.

Because of its versatility and stylish approach, you can use this Cross Processed preset as an Instagram filter. Not only does it make images captivating, but it also adds a professional, cohesive, look throughout your social media feed. You can definitely use this preset to set a visual identity.

A dramatic cross-processed photo of a man crossing the street on a bicycle and a man walking at the sidewalk

Dramatic and Timeless. Observe how these added tones transform the mood and overall atmosphere of the urban scene above. The analog look adds a layer of nostalgia and even if mystery. The resulting image even looks like a classic movie still.

In this example, try to observe how seamlessly the accent tones blend to set the stage. It now feels like there is a narrative; its timeless style makes the scene dramatic. This cinematic aesthetic is ideal for street photography, like the After photo above.

Boosts Vibrance as it Desaturates

A cross-processed outdoor photo of a man wearing a red jacket with one foot on a skateboard

Light Hues. Like the actual effect of cross-processing, the colors, as you can see in the example, appear subdued in this preset. Cross Processed creates this look by muting colors, but not to the point that they turn into grayscale. The preset balances out the effect by amplifying vibrance levels as well. After all, the vibrance exclusively affects the midtones.

Try to examine the result in the After photo. All colors look desaturated, like the man’s red jacket. It is also apparent on the orange traffic cone behind him. The colors are all pulled towards gray tones and, as a result, mix even better with the orange and blue tones. Also, thanks to the preset’s boost in vibrance, the man’s skin tones remain defined enough.

An expressive cross-processed photo of a barista holding up a cup of frosty drink

Classic Portraiture. You can observe how the preset processes colors in this man’s cheerful portrait. Look at his skin tone, shirt, apron, and bar counter. You can still notice much of the colors thanks to the preset’s adjustment in vibrance. This more accurately replicates how colors appear in a cross-processed image.

Notice how brown tones pop in the resulting image. If you already intend to use this preset prior to shooting and want some vivid coffee brown accents, try to include more brown elements in your shot, even some cream tones for contrast. If photographing indoors, it is likely that your photo would exude a cozy café warmth.

Refines Saturation Levels

A cross-processed photo of a landscape

Outdoor Photography. The Cross Processed preset increases the saturation levels of some colors using Lightroom’s HSL panel. It particularly tweaks green, blue, and purple. This simple set of enhancements not only recreates the look of cross-processed tones but also optimizes colors for outdoor photography.

You can appreciate the effect the most on photos of landscapes. Although still predominantly muted, resulting images would still have distinguishable green trees and fields, skies, and bodies of water.

Cross Processed is for Lightroom Mobile, Desktop and…

Like all our presets, you can absolutely use Cross Processed preset as is, right out of the box. With any preset, you might need to make adjustments to accommodate your specific camera, settings, lighting, and subject matter.

  • Entirely Adjustable
  • Compatible with Lightroom 4, 5, 6 and CC
  • Performs with both PC, Mac, and Mobile
  • Applicable to both RAW and JPG images
  • 100% Free

Free Lightroom Preset by Forrest Lane

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