March 13, 2012
Tutorial Tuesday: Vintage Processing
Welcome to Tutorial Tuesday! Sarah of Naptime Momtog and I will be bringing you a new challenge every week, to stretch your shooting and editing skills. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve received a few questions that will turn into interesting tutorials, but this week, I thought we’d check out another effect I found the other week while looking for tutorials. This one has everything to do with turning today’s images into something of the past…and the tutorial link includes an action (if you’re interested). 
First thing first…let’s watch the video tutorial.
Obviously in order to fully utilize this tutorial, you’ll need some version of Photoshop. Although most of the steps can be performed in Photoshop Elements, there will be a couple of steps in this tutorial that will not work for PSE users (still try it – I’ll offer some alternative approaches).

Here’s my original shot (taken last September in London):
IMG_7405 RSMuch like the last time, I am fully expecting a few comments along the lines of, “I really like your original better.” I think with vintage processing, it all depends on your mood. And it’s funny, because so many times, the images that inspire us to go “vintage,” weathered over time. Nonetheless, let’s learn a new effect.

Step 1: Create a duplicate of your background layer. You won’t use this one right now, but this creating a duplicate layer is just good practice when editing.

Step 2: Create a Color Balance adjustment layer. (This is the one adjustment layer that will not work for Photoshop Elements’ users – you can tinker around with a saturation adjustment instead.) 
  • Shadows = -45, 25, -5
  • Midtones = 0, 20, -5
  • Highlights = -25, -15, -20
Your image will look similar to what you see below:
1 Color Balance Layer
Step 3: Create a Curves Adjustment layer. (If memory serves me correctly, PSE9 does have a levels adjustment…previous versions can download an action to simulate the layers adjustment. Click HERE.) Create three points on your curve. The mid and upper points should be pulled up just a hair, while the lower point should be pulled down just a little bit. When you’re done, your image will look similar to mine below.
2 Curves Layer
Step 4: Create a Gradient Map layer. Be sure that reverse is unchecked (although I seem to recall that the video said to check it…didn’t look right to me). You’ll want to change the color of your gradient to something within the orange/brown range. Click okay and then lower your opacity. The video suggests an opacity of 80%…I lowered mine to 74%. I’m not sure there is a perfect formula for this step – just experiment with it until you see something like my image below.
3 Gradient Layer
Step 5: Create a Levels adjustment. Here, you’ll want to drag your shadows and midtones to the right just a bit. The video pulled them to 17 and 0.73.
4 Levels Adjustment
Step 6: Go back to the duplicate of your background layer (just above your background layer). Go to Filter > Enable Smart Filters. 

Step 7: (same layer) Go to Filter > Select Lens Correction. On the right hand side, scroll down to vignette. Pull the vignette slider to -52 and the midpoint slider to +34. 
ScreenHunter_01 Mar. 12 19.47
Step 8: Add noise by going to Filter > Noise > Add Noise. This step is optional, but for a vintage photo, you’d typically see a little bit of noise. Add 5 and see what you think. This is the final step of the video tutorial and your image will look similar to mine below.
5 Vignette
Step 9: If you’d like, add texture. I decided to give my image a little more of a vintage look by adding Kim Klassen’s new “Paper Love” texture (click HERE). I believe I added one layer on a multiply blending mode at 50% opacity and then tinkered with my layers again. Here’s where I ended:
6 Final w Texture RS
With that said, that’s the vintage effect. What do you think? Would you rather just download an action? Here’s a link: click HERE. Just in case you forgot, here’s my original image on the left and the final vintage edit on the right.
Tower Bridge Compare

Ready to join in the fun? Here’s how to do it:


1. Watch THIS TUTORIAL on YouTube.
2. Choose your favorite shot (or more!) to share with us.
3. Don’t forget to grab the button for your post!
4. Link up between now and next Monday.

Tutorial Tuesday

PS: If you have any photography or editing suggestions, please don’t hesitate to let Sarah or me know! We would love to feature your tutorial.



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    Great tutorial! I have several photos I may try this on. I think vintage works really well with classic photos of timeless pieces: the London Eye, Eiffel Tower, scenic views of European towns, etc.

    Great tutorial Ashley – sorry I haven’t been around much lately. I don’t think I would ever get time to go through all those steps in my workflow but would just take the easy way out and use a vintage action instead.

    Both photos are lovely and I find that I’m leaning more towards vintage processing these days.

    Congrats on reading that it’s a little girl :)

    Rosie xxx

    I love both of these…the original is so pretty, but the processed one is fun. I have used vintage on a few photos of old buildings and it really adds an air of “old and authentic” to the photo…but I mostly do it just for fun. I tend to be a purist! About the only thing I like to remove form the photos is those ugly power lines that they insist on putting in front of beautiful old churches!

    I’m a sucker for it. Gorgeous!

    Your pictures are amazing. I can’t wait to try it out.

    your pics are so nice! :) I LOVE this tutorial!!! will definately be giving it a whirl!

    I do love your original, but your edit is very cool.

    You’re right, I like both. I think the original for a memory book, but the vintage for framing. Also, I looked at the angle and wondered how I missed taking that shot while I was there. Sigh – I guess I just have to go back!

    i love your edits!! you do such amazing work!!

    Very cool my friend!!! I will be giving this a go here this week

    A real gift in editing for sure!



    I like learning these new techniques and I really like the look when you are finished. V

    I was so excited to see that this was the tutorial for this week! Can’t wait to try it! And both of your photos are gorgeous! I truly can’t pick a favorite. :)

    Love this effect and too and using it more and more on my work. Thanks for showing another way to get this look.

    Love your edit.

    Love this effect and too and using it more and more on my work. Thanks for showing another way to get this look.

    Love your edit.

    What an amazing edit! Thanks so much for the tutorial, i am so trying this!!!

    Love it! Vintage is such a popular photo style right now. I love how that turned out.

    - Lindzena

    Love that final edit! So cool!

    Thanks for the fantastic tutorial on how to create something like this. Your image is stunning and the vintage look is perfect for it!

    ashley, i have not checked in in SOOOO long. well, congrats are obviously in order AND super fun that it’s a girl!!! i can vouch for how fabulous girls really are. just you wait! love this edit :) XOXO

    Very cool! Thanks!

    Oh, I love it! This particular processing brings out so much detail in the architecture! This shot is so timeless…one would not have to stretch their imagination to believe it was taken years ago! As always, lovely job!

    I am excited to pick/take a photo for this processing method! Hope to link up today or tomorrow!

    and here I always thought it was best to shoot landscapes at around f16. At f3.2 your image is stunning both before and after!!! :)

    Just gorgeous! I love the original AND the vintage! Such a thorough tutorial too! XOXOX, E

    I had no luck with this one in PSE :( Maybe I am just out of practice, but I couldn’t figure out how to workaround the limitations…

    Whew! I just squeaked my photo in! :) I wasn’t able to do all the steps but I played around and like how it turned out.

    The best alternatives for Final Cut is: Adobe Premiere, Avid Media Composer or Adobe Encore..or use a Mac OS X emlutaor to run Final Cut. (PearPC PowerPC Architecture Emulator pearpc(dot)sourceforge(dot)net/)