I've seen plenty of photos like this before and I've always liked them. They're usually warmer colours and they seem to have a bit of a haze to them.

Photo by: David Guenther Photo by David Guenther

What sort of post production is being done to this photo? I'm mostly interested in the colour and haze effect. Is the vibrance turned down in these photos? It's seems to be yellow+ and magenta+? Does the photo have to be initially taken in a certain way, or can this sort of post processing be achieved on most photos? Do you know of any tutorials out there that explain this processing?

  • \$\begingroup\$ How to do certain effects is fine. I'm editing that part out of your question. \$\endgroup\$
    – rfusca
    Commented Jun 16, 2011 at 17:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Could be the Fog filter out of Nik Color Efex Pro, perhaps with layer opacity being adjusted or some masking. May also be the Graduated Fog filter because it does look gradiated. Anyways, I didn't make it an answer because I haven't been able to test it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Commented Jun 16, 2011 at 18:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Could just be reduced contrast in the raw conversion. Ockam's Razor and all... \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Grum
    Commented Jun 16, 2011 at 18:42

4 Answers 4


Using @Joanne C's suggestion of graduated fog filter and @Jerry Coffin's suggestion about how the dark layers are bright with no detail I had some key things to work with when experimenting (as @Matt Grum suggested).

I took one of my recent photos that would be somewhat similar to this picture and did the following:

Made the image warmer: Increased the yellow and magenta levels slightly
Decreased the vibrance: In Photoshop I added a Vibrance adjustment layer and decreased the vibrancy of the image
Increased the offset: In Photoshop I added an Exposure adjustment layer and increased the offset of the image
Graduated the offset effect: I masked the Exposure layer with a basic gradient making the effect stronger at the top right of the image

The key to this style seems to be the last step. The Offset. It gives the hazy low contrast look.

Attached is a before and after of the steps described above. The first image was already warmed up.

Photo by: Vian Esterhuizen

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can't argue with result. \$\endgroup\$
    – rfusca
    Commented Jun 16, 2011 at 20:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you do all of that in Lightroom? Steps 1,2 I see how, but 3(Create and increase offset) I'm not sure how to accomplish. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented Jun 16, 2011 at 20:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ No. I don't think those options are available in Lightroom. I don't know Lightroom as well as I know Photoshop though, so I may be wrong. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 16, 2011 at 20:43

Reduce contrast, warm and desaturate. There are many ways to achieve each of these things in many different pieces if software. That's really all there is to it, experiment with the settings until you find something you like.

There's nothing special you need to do whilst shooting except shooting raw and not over/underexposing. An out of focus background often helps with the effect.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah. Shallow DOF seems to be key. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 16, 2011 at 19:31

Along with @Matt Grum's comments (hey, I think I get the spelling right this time!), it looks to me like there's also a bit of levels (or curves) adjustment, setting an artificially high black level -- i.e., there are no deep blacks anywhere, and as soon as it even starts to get somewhat darker, there's a total loss of detail.

Just for example, to the man's right, on his coat, you can't even see the front edge of the sleeve, even though the color numbers are high enough (high 60s to low 80s) that there should be little or no loss of detail at all.


I create this effect quite often in The Gimp by duplicating my photo in another layer then select either "Screen" or "Overlay" depending on the desired color saturation I want. After doing this I then grayscale the bottom layer. Then I merge all layers together for the final image. This creates a sort of half color effect like you see above. I love the effect!

  • \$\begingroup\$ I see what you mean. That's a pretty interesting effect, just not exactly what I'm looking for. Thanks though. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 16, 2011 at 20:49

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