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by clabacchio

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Please read this post on asking "what's this effect" questions in a way which will get helpful answers (and upvotes!) and edit this question accordingly. Thanks! –  mattdm May 15 '13 at 19:31
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I hope you are only asking this because you want to know what not to do. Those photos are horrible. –  thomasrutter May 16 '13 at 1:50

3 Answers 3

It is desaturated, and then shifted to a yellow/black duotone. It is also badly over exposed to cause a loss of detail on the bright end (can be emulated with curves or brightness). Noise also appears to have been added.

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That processing is pretty terrible.

  • In colour balance, remove almost all blue from the low or mid-tones.

  • In curves, make a curve that looks a bit like this.

  • Might want to bump up the contrast and brightness a bit.

  • In curves, switch to the blue channel. Play around a bit, but something like this or this may work (for blue channel only).

  • Add noise.

  • It probably helps if your photo is grossly overexposed to begin with or you are shooting into the sun or something.

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Apart from the yellow toning and noise, the main thing I see is no mid-tones. So they have increased the contrast, and it looks like they've raised the black point up a bit, as there don't seem to be any true blacks in the image (part of that may be due to the noise), which gives it a washed out effect.

So you could use the contrast slider, or you could raise overall exposure, lower shadows, raise highlights and raise the blacks a bit. Could also try lowering clarity if using Lightroom/Photoshop.

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