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X-CHROME: The Missing Black & White Studio for Lightroom

X-CHROME for Lightroom- $89


Have you ever tried black and white in Lightroom, but then gone right back to color because it looked... boring in black and white?

I've got good news for you: it's NOT your fault!

Out of the box, Lightroom creates very dull, unappealing black and white photos. (Seriously, your photo could be Ansel Adams level good – but still look like crap with the default b+w in Lightroom)

So maybe you tried a black and white film emulator – like VSCO or Mastin. Your results may get a little better, but it still feels like something is missing...

Film emulators aren't enough either. Because there are three ingredients you need to process stunning black and white photos. These are the tools used by the masters of black and white photography to craft their stunning photos. The 3 ingredients to stunning black and white are:

1 .  F I L M        2 .  D E V E L O P E R         3.  P A P E R / T O N E R

These three ingredients work together to create black and white magic...

...the Film sets the stage...
It can give your photos high-contrast grit (like Kodak Tri-X 400) or a silky smooth perfection (like Fuji Neopan 100).

...the Developer gives life to your tones...
It can give you deep, dramatic tones (like Kodak HC-110), clean, modern tones (like Kodak XTOL), or classic, balanced tones (like Agfa Rodinal).

...the Paper & Toner add dimension to your image...
It can have a dramatic impact (like the glowing warmth of lith-printed fomatone) or just add a subtle finishing touch (like the soft fade of Neutral Matte paper).

IMAGINE – what could you do with your photos if you had access to all three key ingredients (instead of just the defaults in Lightroom or just film emulators)?

That's the magic of X-CHROME – it let's you create stunning black and white by giving you control of those 3 key ingredients. 

Mix and match 15 classic film emulations,  6 developer emulations, and 23 papers/toner emulations

Explore the 1000s of possible combos, or choose a "pre-mixed" preset

Get incredible tones with my "PureTone" custom raw camera profiles (see supported cameras)

Fine-tune your image with the tools in my new B+W Film Toolkit

Ready to see how good your photos can really look in black and white?

Jump To:     What's Inside   //   Gallery   //   Reviews   //  Q&A

What's Inside

X-CHROME includes film emulations, chemical developer emulations, toner emulations & paper emulations, as well as additional tools for development. And they all work together to give you total control over the way you develop your black and white photos.

0. PREMIXED Presets
To get you started, I've included 15 premixed presets:
X1 // X2 // X3 // X4 // X5 // X6 // X7 // X8 // X9 // X10 // X11 // X12 // X13 // X14 // X15
Learn more about PREMIXES →

1. FILM Presets
Polaroid Type 55 // push // pull
Fuji Neopan Acros 100 // push
Kodak TRI-X @ 400
Kodak TRI-X  @ 800
Kodak TRI-X @ 1600
Kodak TRI-X @ 3200
Kodak TRI-X @ 6400
Ilford  HP5 @ 400
Ilford  HP5 @ 800
Ilford  HP5 @ 1600
Ilford  HP5 @ 3200
Learn more about FILMS →

2. DEVELOPER Presets:
Kodak HC-110 // [-]
Kodak XTOL // [-]
Rodinal // [-]
Learn more about DEVELOPERS →

3. TONER/PAPER Presets:
COOLTONE // matte // [-]
Copper & Iron Toner // [-]
WARMTONE // matte // [-]
Museum Cotton Natural // White
Photo Rag Satin Natural // White
Fomatone // matte // [-]
Kodak Brown Toner // [-]
Neutral // glossy // matte // matte +
Selenium #1 // #2 // #3
Learn more about PAPERS →

4. Black & White Toolkit Presets
[filter] Color Contrast
[filter] Orange - YA3
[filter] Red - 25A
[filter] Yellow - K2
[color] Kodachrome-fy
[color] Default
[color] Portra-fy
[color] Fuji-fy
B+W Film Fade 01 - 10
Grain Size -- // - // + // ++
Learn more about the TOOLKIT →

5. JPEG Presets
If you are editing a JPEG file (or a RAW file from a camera which is not yet supported with PureTone profiles), you should use the presets in this folder to select the Film settings and Developer settings.

By combining films, developers and papers, there are literally thousands of looks you can design inside of Lightroom.

Here are a few photos that actual X-CHROME users have sent me (along with the X-Chrome settings they used).

RECIPE: Polaroid Type 55  //  Kodak HC-110  // Selenium #1  // Red filter
Photo credit: Andrew Maybury


RECIPE: Ilford HP5+ @ 1600  //  Kodak XTOL Bright  //  Neutral - Matte Paper
Photo Credit: Bruno Militelli


RECIPE: Ilford HP5+ @1600  //  Natural-matte Paper  //  Grain ++
Photo credit: Emanuel Rudnicki


See Full Gallery Here ->


Ready to see how good your photos can really look in black and white?

What Photographers are Saying

It's crazy how good X-Chrome is...

"It's crazy how good X-Chrome is– just beautiful! Before now, I was using the Nik Silver Efex plugin. It had a lot of film stocks. But X-Chrome is a lot more nuanced. The care that went into this pack really shows. Completely love it!”

Craig Bagno

These presets have opened up a new world of possibilities...
Loving X-Chrome! These presets have opened up a new world of possibilities for my photography. With them, I'm able to really exercise my creativity in black and white photography in Lightroom. I'd recommend these presets to any photographer, but especially to beginners, because working with these presets with help you stimulate creativity and you get amazing black-and-white photos with a few clicks.”

- Bruno Militelli

Stunned with the results....
I'm stunned with the results I'm getting from X-Chrome. In the past I used VSCO Film Packs. They are quite good. But sometimes led to unexpected results. I read about X-Chrome on a blog here in Germany and decided to give it a shot. I love being able to use the film simulation / developer / paper independently. It's lot of fun to use, and the results are incredible. Great work!!! :)”

- Uwe Kempf

I have to keep myself from switching every photo into B+W

“I really like working with X-Chrome. It makes editing the photos so much easier and faster. I like the endless options and still need to check all the different ones. Before X-Chrome, I barely switched photos to black and white. Now I need to keep myself from switch every photo into b+w 😊”

- Annett Leitgebel

“...WOW has it been a success!”

"Thank YOU for such a well done and thoughtfully put together package! I am a photo student in Charleston and have been shooting film for almost a year now. I bought your package in hopes that I would be able to edit some BW photos I’ve taken with my Pentax and WOW has it been a success! You went above and beyond!!!

- Kaylah Dixon

“Would highly recommend to photographers looking for a SilverEfex Pro alternative.”

“Before X-Chrome, I was using Nik SilverEfex Pro. I liked the results of SilverEfex Pro, but the workflow was awful. I had to create duplicate heavy TIFF files for each shot, and I lost the ability to work in RAW. Using X-Chrome is so much easier. I can keep everything RAW in Lightroom, no more duplicate TIFFS, and I'm getting cleaner results. Very happy with X-Chrome, and I would highly recommend to photographers looking for a SilverEfex Pro alternative.”

- Roland de RAUNIES

“I’ve never really been one for third party presets… but X-CHROME is different…”
“I've been using Lightroom since its first release but I've never really been one for third party presets, but X-chrome is different. Rather than providing a bunch of filters like most preset packs, it provides a great set of extra tools that I can mix and match as I like. Thoroughly recommended and a great investment for all photographers!”

- Fraser Smith

“LOVE the tones I'm getting – especially for portraits”
“NATE - I LOVE the tones I'm getting from this pack, especially for portraits (X-Chrome really works wonders on them!). I'm THRILLED with the results I'm getting. It gives me almost limitless possibilities, so my photos can express many different mood with just a click! It's almost too easy!”

- Kinga Karpati

“I can pretend I’m back in the darkroom...”
"Really enjoying X-Chrome, the new set of black and white Lightroom processes from @firstnate - not only has he captured the look of some classic films, he’s also emulated specific developers, papers and toners! Now I can pretend I’m back in the darkroom, only without the smell of chemicals and developer stains all over my clothes - thanks Nate!"

- Andrew Maybury

“You just need to see what this pack can do!”
"Loving X-Chrome! There's so much to explore in this pack, and I love all the possible combinations you can create. For any photographers who think black and white is just about desaturating an image (I used to be that guy), you just need to see what this pack can do!"

- Thomas Heban


Common Questions

Ready to see how good your photos can really look in black and white?


    • Nathan Johnson

      These presets will not impact “lens correction” and “vignette” specifically, nor will it change your white balance or exposure settings. That said, it will overwrite other changes you’ve made, like tone curves. So you should use these early in your process (or make a virtual copy if you don’t want to lose your previous edits). Within the X-CHROME modules themselves, however, they have been designed to be intelligently stackable – meaning that as you go through the progression of “film -> developer -> paper”, it is designed to make the appropriate adjustments without overwriting the previous decisions you’ve made.

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