How can I achieve this vintage color tone in Photoshop?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

A Curves adjustment layer gives you ultimate flexibility.

Edit each channel individually:

  • Red: raise the bottom left point.

  • Green: make a new point in the center and drop it slightly.

  • Blue: raise the bottom left point and lower the top right point, then make a new point at the center and drop it slightly.

Experiment with the opacity of the adjustment layer to vary the intensity of the effect.

  • +1 I tried it and it yielded a very dramatic result. Nice answer. – Jakub Sisak GeoGraphics Jun 18 '11 at 13:00
  • It's a good technique definitely. If you set the Blend mode to Overlay, you get a nice boost in contrast as well; you see the effect in a lot of wedding photography these days. Try it on a black and white image as well, some interesting toning effects. – ElendilTheTall Jun 18 '11 at 14:33
  • yeah that's what I did and i could not believe the contrast. I used B&W. This must produce the "bronze" skin tone look when used on a color photo. – Jakub Sisak GeoGraphics Jun 18 '11 at 15:56

Use the brightness/contrast tool to reduce contrast, then use the colour balance tool and drag the highlights toward yellow and red, and the shadows toward cyan and blue.

  • yes, you are close, but there is one or two steps that still seem missing. – Muhammad Asjad Jun 8 '11 at 17:09

I would also recommend using a gradient map adjustment layer, you could even import that image and sample the colors to get you closer to where you want to be.

  • infact it appears that the left gradient color should be R:42 G:51 B:93 and right R:232 G:210 B:187 – Andrew Keippela Jun 8 '11 at 17:52
  • If you use a gradient adjustment layer, what blending mode do you use? Color, or something like Soft Light? – MikeW Mar 3 '12 at 23:03

Download a texture, wall or something rugged and copy the texture over your photo in photoshop as a new layer and set the blending mode of the texture to overlay or softlight. you can get here many free textures http://www.paper-backgrounds.com

You might as well want to look for an effect called "cross processing". Although I am aware it is not totally the effect of your example picture, but the principle is the same.

One example: http://layersmagazine.com/curvy-cross-processing.html

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