Vintage Photo Tutorial

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Vintage photo effects can add a whole new dimension to any image, here we’re going to apply a few simple techniques to age a photo. There are many different ways to make vintage photo effects but we’ll start with some simple color changes and texture layers built up slowly in this vintage photo tutorial.

Starting off with this image with a slightly vintage feel to begin with will add a little authenticity to the end result.

Vintage Photo Tutorial beforeafter

My first step towards giving this photo a more vintage appearance is going to be using the Match Color option. Before using this adjustment tool we need to create a new layer which will act as a color sample. I filled my layer with five colors, #FEFF00, #FF9999, #66CC00, #00FFFF, #66FF00. You can vary these colors depending on what result you are wanting and which colors are prominent in your original image. I chose these because they give a softer, more gentle result than the often used red and green.

Vintage Photo Tutorial Match Color

After creating this new layer of colors you need to close the eye on the layer so it is no longer visible and reselect your main image layer again. From the menu go to Image –> Adjustments and choose Match Color. In this window you need to choose the color layer you have just created and hidden. As you can see on my image it was called layer 1.

Once the right layer is selected to draw color from set the color intensity to 70% and fade to 75%. Different images need different settings but this is a good place to start from to create a nice vintage photo effect.

Vintage Photo Tutorial Match Color

In the next step we are going to use the Lens Correction filter to give us a quick vignette effect. So from the filter menu choose Lens Correction… and go to the custom tab. The only setting we want to alter here is the vignette bar, somewhere around -50 gives a vintage photo style vignette but play with the setting and see what you like.

Vintage Photo Tutorial Vignette

Ok now onto Curves. We’re going to create a new adjustment layer for curves so we can get it just right for a vintage photo effect. For this vintage effect it’s best to do the red, green and blue curves separately, it helps to get the right color balance, slightly towards a cross processed effect without going all the way.

After this step you may need to adjust the saturation a little, sometimes it needs to be toned down a little after altering the curves.

Vintage Photo Tutorial Curves

Now its time to add some vintage texture to the image. The easiest and fastest way I have found to do this is by using the Render filter built into Photoshop. On a new layer we are going to choose Filter –> Render –> Clouds. Make sure your foreground colour is set to black and your background color is set to white. Once Photoshop had rendered you some clouds set the blending mode of that layer to overlay and the opacity of the layer to around 20%.

Vintage Photo Tutorial Fibers

Now we need to merge all the layers we’ve created into one easy to manage layer. Duplicate this layer and use Filter –> Noise –> Dust and Scratches. Set the radius to 25pixels and the threshold to 0. Set the blend mode for this layer to Screen and turn the opacity down to between 25 to 50%. This gives a soft vintage effect to the image, not quite blurred but not too sharp.

Vintage Photo Tutorial Screen

Last of all is adding torn edges to your photo, you don’t need this step if you are happy with the results but if you want an extra vintage effect this is a good one! Create a new layer under your main image layer and fill it with a nice paper texture. Add a layer mask to this layer and cut arround the edges with a round brush to give the impression of vintage torn paper edges. Add a drop shadow in the blending mode for extra authenticity. Now you’ll need to apply a similar layer mask to the main image layer. Again using a round brush cut around the edge of the layer mask leaving just a little of the paper edge and drop shadow showing.

Vintage Photo Tutorial Paper

Here is our finished vintage photo effects, the finished image looks much softer and more faded than the original did. The vintage photo effects also changed to colors to a more old-fashioned looking image.

Vintage Photo Tutorial Torn Edges

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