A few days ago, I saw this picture linked here on 500px and was wondering how the coloring technique is called.

On a first glance, it looks like a high key shot, but it is unusual as it has no light background. I'm wondering what kind of photoshopping was done here. Is it just removing saturation and adding a bit exposure? I hope this style has some official name so that I can look up the details on Google. But at the moment I'm struggling, because I don't know what to search for.


2 Answers 2


I agree it looks like a 'vintage' effect. The skin looks yellow/green. To test this, I brought that image into photoshope, added a curves layer and used the gray point dropper on a light part of her jacket, assuming it was neutral, and this resulted in more normal skin tone.

Then I used a color balance adjustment layer, and moved the Magenta/Green slider towards green (+22) and Yellow/Blue towards the blue (-22), and the result looks almost identical to the original.

I didn't change the saturation, but it looks like the image may have been somewhat desaturated, as you suggested.

This is a harsher green vintage effect here. Looks ghastly, but the technique uses separate channels in a curves layer which you might be able to tone down and make use of. And another one here. Or search on photoshop/gimp vintage effects.


This looks like a well-lit portrait (I'm thinking artificial off-camera lighting rather than natural light) with a 'vintage' colour treatment in Photoshop. The lighting is pretty much impossible to replicate in post-processing, but you can achieve a similar colouring result in Photoshop or GIMP by opening your Levels tool and doing the following:

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.

Use an adjustment layer or a separate image layer and vary the opacity to alter the strength of the effect.

  • Thank you also for your answer. I can only accept one reply as an answer, so I went for the first one.
    – Sebi
    Jan 10, 2012 at 12:56
  • Actually, mine was the first one, but that's ok :) Jan 10, 2012 at 12:59

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