Friday, September 30, 2011

Post-Processing Technique: The Vintage Look

Vintage photos are just gorgeous most especially if they are of high quality. But, such great quality has dwindled over the past years. Film cameras have already continually evolved into digital cameras. In this tutorial, I will teach you on how to transform an ordinary photo into a stunning, vintage one.
Tutorial details: 
Program: Adobe Photoshop 7 or higher
Difficulty: Beginner
Estimate Completion Time: 10 minutes

Step 1. Duplicate the Layer

We choose this cute photo of my dog (he's a 7-year old Terrier). We begin this tutorial by duplicating the layer. All you have to do is to right-click on the layer and select “Duplicate Layer.”

Step 2. High Pass Filter

After duplicating the layer, click Filter > Other > High Pass to add details to our photo. We set our High Pass filter to 3.0 pixels. After doing it, we now set the blending mode to "Overlay". By this time, you will now see the photo in greater and better details.

Step 3. Curve Layer Adjustments

Next, we shall adjust the curve value of our photo. Select the layer that contains the original photo and click the small circular icon as shown below.

Step 4. Nice curve!

The first adjustment we will perform is Curves. Select the red channel first from the RGB dropdown menu and try mimicking the lines. Perform the same procedure for the green and blue channels. Basically, this step doesn't really require you to follow my Curves values, as long as you know how to mix and match those colors. And if you feel that the photo exudes a vintage feeling, then go with it. You can always undo if you are not satisfied with the final product.

Step 5. Brightness and Contrast

Select the original image layer again and add another layer adjustment, but this time select Brightness/Contrast instead of Curves. In this step, I set the contrast to -30. After this, close the adjustment window.

Step 6. Level Up

For the third time, select the layer where the original photo is located, add another layer adjustment and select Levels. What I did was, I moved the black slider to 25 and the gray slider to 1.27. After that, close the adjustment window.

Step 7. Magenta Layer

And for the final step, we add a plain magenta color. Just add a new layer on top of all layers, click the Paint Bucket Tool (G) and add a magenta color (#d31678). Next, change the layer's blending mode to "Lighten" and set the opacity to 35%.

Optional: You can add vignette to the photo to have a more vintage feel. Click Filter > Lens Correction. Click the custom tab and set the vignette to -29 as shown below.

Finish product

The final image should now look something like this:


  1. Cool. I've been chasing my blockmate to make mine look awesome like this but he always fails to do so. this is very helpful! thank you. xx

  2. Welcome! Hope you enjoyed this tutorial! :)


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