I've been seeing various photographers post photos with this type of effect


it's a bit washed out, yet retains the crisp detail and the colors are almost pastel?

I am pretty good with photoshop, and i spent hours playing with color/levels/hues/saturation/trying to overlay colors (ala instagram), but it never comes out like this, and if it comes close it's almost by accident.

Can someone provide some insight as to how such effects are achieved? is it just a result of years of tuning ones post processing prowess?

The camera I am using is Nikon D7000.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ To me it looks like it's just taken on a bright hazy day and a bit overexposed and on the warm side. I think this is straight out of the camera. \$\endgroup\$ May 12, 2012 at 2:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes: it could be the result of years of industrialization leading to rampant, uncontrolled air pollution. (It reminds me of a good day in Mexico City in the 1980's.) \$\endgroup\$
    – whuber
    May 14, 2012 at 21:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ It reminds me colors from Portra 400 color negative film. It you have access to some film plugins, try Portra 400 preset on some high key/low contrast (diffuse light) images... \$\endgroup\$
    – MirekE
    Jul 4, 2016 at 0:35

1 Answer 1


It looks to me like it could be a bleach bypass. This effect was originally a film-processing technique, but it is often replicated digitally.

Here's one (rough) method to try in photoshop:

  1. Make a duplicate layer of your photo, and set the duplicate to overlay.
  2. Add a hue/saturation adjustment layer and desaturate the image (amount depends on image, so you'll have to experiment, but -60 might be a good start).
  3. Add a level adjustment and play with the levels - in particular, pull the black slider to the right a little, the middle slider to the left a little.
  4. Finally, you might want to add a curves adjustment and tweak the colour curves to your liking.

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