Before & After
One of the questions i’m asked the most is ‘How do you edit your pictures?!” “How do you get that vintage look?”. Well I promised a while back that i’d post up a tutorial..and here it is! It’s very picture heavy, so you’ll have to click the ‘more’ link at the bottom of the post to see it. Please bare in mind it’s the first time i’ve ever done anything like this so if bits don’t make sense, please leave a comment and i’ll rectify it.
The tutorial was created using Adobe Photoshop CS3, but is translatable to other versions of Photoshop as well. I suggest you should have some knowledge of Photoshop, but i’ve tried to make it as simple as simple can be! Good Luck!
1. Crop & Tidy
Crop and tidy up your image. If you are completely new to Photoshop, i’ve circled the crop icon in the tool above so you know where to find it. Make sure your image is the correct size. I always crop my images to 545px width as that is the size of my blog.
Now you need to create a new curves adjustment layer. This can be done by clicking Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Curves. You’ll see this screen pop up. Click the line to add the dots and drag them to move them to similar positions as shown in the image above. This will change the light and dark bits of the image, and should make the image slightly lighter. You may need to have a play around depending on how light/dark your image is.
3. Duplicate, Desaturate, Overlay
You now need to duplicate your background image, this can be done by right clicking it in the layers panel (bottom left of the image) and selecting “Duplicate Layer”. This new layer needs to be desaturated, so click Image>Adjustments>Desaturate. Now your top layer will be black and white. In the layers panel, click the down arrow on the bar that should read “Normal” and set it to “Overlay” – this step is shown in the image above.
4. You should end up with something that looks like this.
5. Hue & Saturation.
Create a new Hue & Saturation adjustment layer. This can be done by clicking Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation. Set the ‘Saturation’ bar to -45, then click OK. Make sure your layers are arranged as they are in the image above and that you have them all! Your image should resemble the one above in colour etc.
Now it’s time to create a new Levels adjustment layer. Again, this is done by clicking Layers>New Adjustment Layer>Levels. Once the screen pops up (it should look like the one in the image above), change the setting on the Output Levels bar (at the bottom) to match the ones in the image. The boxes should read 25 & 235. Don’t close the Levels screen yet…
7. The Red Channel
Where it says “RGB” at the top of the levels screen, switch it to “Red”, as I have done in the image above. Now you need to change the output levels at the bottom again, the boxes should read 35 & 255. Don’t close it yet!
8. The Green Channel
Click the dropdown box again, and this time select the Green channel. Change the figures in the output levels again to match the image above. 0 & 230. Still don’t close it!
9. The Blue Channel
This is where everything turns yellow! Choose the final channel, Blue, and set the Output Levels to 0 & 165. Click OK.
10. Drag into a Group
Create a new group by clicking the folder icon at the bottom of the layers palette (circled in the picture above). Then, drag all layers except the original background into the group. Your layers palette should look like the one in the picture above. Then, I usually adjust the opacity of the group, as I find it looks a bit too much for my liking. This can be done by making sure the group is selected, and then clicking Opacity at the top of the layers palette and adjusting
I have it set to 65% for this image, but you may want it more/less depending on how “vintage” you want the picture to look.
11. Curves, again.
At this point I normally adjust the curves again, just to make sure that the brights are bright enough, and the darks are dark enough. Make sure you have the background layer selected, and then click Image>Adjustments>Curves. Set the curves to a very slight “S” shape, as in the picture above.
12. Selective Color
Now, making sure the original background layer is selected again, click Image>Adjustments>Selective Color. On “Reds”, adjust it so it resembles the picture above. You can play around with this as much as you like until you get a result you like, I simply do it as it gives the skin a little more colour and glow and makes my lips look a bit pinker!
13. Greener Greens
If i’m amongst foliage, I like to make the green pop out a little more. This is also on the selective colour layer, except with “Greens” chosen from the drop down bar at the top. Play around with it until you get the results you want – but don’t go too overboard by making your trees almost neon!
This step can be used for other colours, not just green, depending what you have in your image that you want to ‘pop’!
I like to add a little vignette as it adds to the vintage look and focuses more attention on the subject. I usually do this by clicking the ‘Burn’ tool in the sidebar, making sure it’s a reasonable size, and then burning the corners and edges very lightly.
Now give your image a quick sharpen and you’re ready to go!
I’m really sorry if this has all gone over the top of your head – it’s a little long, but hopefully you will have found out some new techniques. I’ve tried to explain to the best of my ability, but if you’re stuck on a step, let me know in the comments and i’ll help you out.
If you want a shorter way of editing photos with a vintage-style outcome, as well as a guide to outdoor photos in general, please take a look at this tutorial Miguel wrote some time ago, titled “How to Set up and Shoot and Enchanted Photoshoot in the Woods”