Vintage Photo Effect in Photoshop


Vintage Photo Effect in Photoshop: Preview

Tutorial Resources

Step 1: Open the Photo

The photo being used in this tutorial is NYC by vonSchnauzer — download it and then open it up in Photoshop. Feel free to use your own photo.

Vintage Photo Effect in Photoshop: Step 1

Step 2: Curves Image Adjustment

First thing we’re going to do is go to Image > Adjustment > Curves. We’re going to lighten up the photo by clicking on the rightmost eyedropper icon, which we’ll use to set the white point of the image. Click on the brightest white we can find in the photo, which is on the t-shirt of the subject.

Vintage Photo Effect in Photoshop: Step 2

Step 3: Add a Gradient Map

Now go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map. Click the gradient editor and choose the Blue, Yellow, Blue gradient preset. Check the Reverse option.

Vintage Photo Effect in Photoshop: Step 3

Step 4: Reduce the Opacity of the Gradient Map Layer

In the Layers Panel, drop the Opacity of the Gradient Map layer down to 30%.

Vintage Photo Effect in Photoshop: Step 4

Step 5: Add a Curves Adjustment Layer

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves. Make sure this layer is under the Gradient Map layer that we created in Step 3. We’re going to give our image a little more brightness and contrast by adjusting the curves.

Vintage Photo Effect in Photoshop: Step 5

Step 6: Add an Inner Shadow Layer Style

By default, in Photoshop, the photo you use will be opened as the Background layer and this layer will be uneditable (denoted by a padlock icon). In the Layers Panel, double-click on the Background layer and click OK to unlock it. Next, go to Layer > Layer Style > Inner Shadow and apply the settings shown below.

Vintage Photo Effect in Photoshop: Step 6

Step 7: Add a Gradient Overlay Layer Style

This is the final step. Go to Layer > Layer Style > Gradient Overlay. Change the Style to Radial and use the Black, White gradient preset as shown below.

Vintage Photo Effect in Photoshop: Step 7

Optional: Changing the Gradient Map

You can tweak the outcome by double-clicking on the Gradient Map and making adjustments to it. Below, you can see different versions of the final outcome.

Vintage Photo Effect in Photoshop: Optional

Vintage Photo Effect in Photoshop: Optional 2

Vintage Photo Effect in Photoshop: Optional 3

Tutorial Summary

In this quick and simple Photoshop tutorial, I showed you a way to apply a vintage-inspired photo effect to a regular photo. We performed a Curves image adjustment, added a couple of adjustment layers and we also used layer styles. Below is the final result. If you followed along, feel free to link to your own results in the comments below!

Vintage Photo Effect in Photoshop: Final Result

Download Source Files

  • Alejandro

    Nice tut man!!! I really like the final result… ways of getting vintage effects with the principles u posted are infinite… keep it up!! 😀

    PS: I didn’t realize it was from today… I’m the first one to review it!!! Yay!

  • nice tutorial. Thanks

  • Really Great n Knowledgable Tutorial.

  • Nice effect, it is not complicate at all so I will try it 🙂

  • erwin

    Nice tutorial! Thanks!

  • manuel

    nice tutorial, i have a question. what camera did you use? im trying to get the same look for a video I’m about to shoot. I have a canon rebel T3i, not much, but its all i could afford. please any info on how to get that look of the first pic would be greatly appreciated. heres an example of what i’m trying to capture:


  • nice tutorial, thank you so much

  • Awesome tutorial, very simple steps to make my photos to have a look of vintage effect! I love the way how the results make me feel good in using photoshop! Thanks for imparting such a helpful post.

  • Joe

    Thanks for the tutorial! Nice effects 🙂

  • BeautifuL! too good! Thanks for sharing

  • stunning result from such a quick tutorial

  • This image was taken by someone else on flickr, but I assume it was done with a wide aperture which give the photo that depth of field.

    Here is some quick info and lenses:

  • Nice tut. I used to do this kind of thing in the past, now I just downloaded a cool photoshop vintage actionset to do all the heavy lifting for me. The easy way out I suppose, but it saves time. Here’s a link to some cool sets for anyone interested

    Between these actions and onslaught of photo filter mobile apps such as Instagram, this stuff is getting more and more common and easy to do fast. The question is, is it becoming watered-down?

  • Rajni

    Just the one i was looking for. Many thanks 🙂

  • fernanda garsha

    thank you!!! yeeeeeahhh i looovee vintage…

  • Wow! This is awesome..thanks for the tips. 🙂

  • anitha

    nice tutorial, thank you so much

  • Someshwar

    Thank you tyler, amazing tut, loved it

  • khatizah

    Wow! You rock dude. Thanks for the tutorial.

  • i really like this !

  • simple and useful 🙂
    thank you for sharing!

  • Show, muito bom, valeu.

  • Harishankar

    nice designing….really great!!

  • Very nice and Cool. 😀

  • Karthi

    Great post !!! Excellent

  • Very nicely done. Will definitely be putting this to work. Thanks.

  • Kia

    Easy tutorial! Maybe it would look cooler with some kind of pattern or something, a scratching effect on top too? Thanks again!

  • S.C

    Wow…this is really great! 😀 I’m gonna try this one 😀

  • Midhun

    Great thinking..

  • Gonzalo

    Hello, great post but in the step 3 when i apply the blue-yellow-blue gradient the photo turns very blue, not so yellow like yours, any advise? thanks

  • Nice tutorial, can I make the Gimp version of this tutorial in my blog =) ?
    Thanks for the reply ^^

  • this is good
    i want to try

  • Prasad

    Amazing effect…thanks Tyler Denis

  • Excellent, I’ll show your tutorial to my students…

  • eisanka

    Good work…..:)

  • Jayant

    facing difficulty in adjusting the curves in Step 5
    need help

  • HI Jayant. Could you elaborate a bit more on your issue adjusting the curves? A screenshot of your workspace while you’re trying to adjust the curves would also be helpful. Would love to help – let us know more about your difficulties with that step.

  • anno

    thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanks 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • shyamak dutt

    very helpful and soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good

  • Sara

    Iwant a huge to try, but the promblem is, where I want to continue 3rd step. I don’t find that gradient map in my PS, maybe because I use PS CS 3, and it won’t work. sadly.

  • Really nice vintage effects! Thanks from Italy 🙂

  • Looks great. Would love to try this.

  • Great tutorial. Simply and beautiful. Thank you!

  • Naseeb Khan A

    Simple and great tutorial…thank U.

  • vicky AP

    Excellent, nice and simple

  • jose

    Excellent!!! Thank U!!

  • Thanks for the tutorial, I’ve been looking for something like this for lightroom too, any plans for LR tutorials?

  • Gina

    Love it , Thanks for the easy to follow tutorial.

  • Shaun Pitsoane

    Awesome tutorial… Just try and make more of them please

  • By the way, I hand-pick the best free Photoshop Actions from all over the web, from all different developers, and sort them into categories on my website!

    Have a browse through our collection of: Free Photoshop Actions

    Cheers and happy Photoshopping!!

  • vivek jain

    Thanks dude.
    It’s amazing.

  • Pele

    I needed this tutorial because I’m doing energy tips for a gas company and wanted to apply this effect to the photographs to make it stand out more.

  • Thanxs i like your tutorial

  • Neha

    I love designing becouse I am a graphic desiner.Seriously desining is a art.I was searching a vintage effect than I searched it. I will use in image.

    Thanks INTERNET,Guys and friends
    Neha Kashyap

  • Neme

    Still rocks 🙂 thx

  • TutsMistress

    Good tutorial. This website shows how to use a generous person’s PS Actions to apply Instagram retro filters. Makes it a lot easier once someone else has done the hard work!

  • Shahana Akter

    Great job. Instructions are so easy to understand.

  • santhi lal

    its a awesome worke and its also applicable in mabupulated photos also .It is simple way and get a power full result


    Wow, superb! Thanks a lot, and you will be blessed!

  • glenn inglewood

    stupid tutorial and very outdated.

  • Pavithra C Vastar

    I love designing because I am a graphic designer. Seriously designing is a art.I was searching a vintage effect than I searched it.Thank you.