I'm new here, have been reading around for weeks and would like to ask a question myself now.

Yesterday a friend showed me these photos. I'm really charmed by the effect/filter used and am trying to re-create it myself but having a bit of a hard time.

The photos look kind of flat/gray. Like there's some mist or haze filter used. I tried

  • upping the curves in Photoshop
  • making the color temperature more green/yellow
  • desaturating

but so far I didn't come close to the effect below.

Can anyone help me by saying what you think is done here? Thanks for your time and effort! :)

  • Instagram or something of that nature? – JenSCDC Oct 23 '14 at 12:51
  • What do you mean by "upping the curves"? – JenSCDC Oct 23 '14 at 15:34
  • 1
    Take your shots with a flash in a nightclub. Lower the contrast and boost saturation in post. – ElendilTheTall Oct 24 '14 at 6:49
  • Thanks guys. With upping the curves I meant I tried dragging the curves-line up to get the darks lighter. – Frederique Oct 26 '14 at 16:19
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    This question could really use a description of the effect in the title. – mattdm Apr 24 '15 at 13:42

I am seeing warm highlights and cool shadows. I opened the image in Photoshop and sampled a few areas that seemed like they were neutral in the original scene (blacks, grays whites). Its hard to be exact because I am only assuming the original color, plus there looks to be a lot of color filtration on the room lights.

I sampled the guy in image #4's (white?) t-shirt at #d7beb9 The ash shirt in #3 at (#b2aea3) And the black shirt in #3 at (#463c45) kind of purple

I then took your image and tried to get it "normal" with a levels adjustment for a test.

I used this gradient setup to put it close to the way you had it:

Location 0%: #6f5a68

Location 92%: #f3dbc2

Gradient map

Set the adjustment layer to 50%

This will get you in the ballpark. You can adjust the brightness and saturation of the gradient stop colors, I think the hues I listed will be close to what you want.

  • Cool shadows? Image 3 and 6 looks like having their blacks processed with a decent amount of yellow... – Noldor130884 Sep 2 '15 at 6:22

I'd say maybe try a gradient map layer with a dark gray as the lower colour and an average green-yellow (or pink-red for some pictures, like the two leftmost ones) as the upper colour, then play with the opacity, maybe 10 to 20%.

I'm not able to check right now, I'll try it later and update the answer with more precise values.


The key changes that I see immediately are:

  • White balance (slightly warm)
  • Black levels (quite high)
  • Faux cross-processing (Red s-curve, Blue upside down s-curve, slightly higher green lows)
  • Vignetting

That should get you close.

  • 1
    I do not see proof of vignetting. The images are also shot with a wide and fast lens -- there's lots of great ambient light. – Martin Krzywinski Apr 25 '15 at 0:28

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