How To Make Film Effects on Your Photos Using Adobe Photoshop


Film like processing of photos is one of the most popular photo effect now-a-days. Most of the people use this effect by using Adobe Lightroom. But it can also be done by Adobe Photoshop. I prefer Adobe Photoshop most, because you can do any kind of processing by Adobe Photoshop very easily. So today we are going to learn about “Film effects” using Adobe Photoshop. For doing this, we need to follow some step by step method. I hope it might help you. You can also make your own effect by changing any of these steps. It will give you a very practical knowledge.

Here is the photo which I am going to use to give it film effects.


It’s a RAW file. In my previous tutorial, I wrote how to convert a RAW file into JPEG.

You can also convert RAW files to JPEG using Adobe Lightroom if you are not comfortable with that one.


At first you need to open the photo you want to give “Film effects” in Adobe Photoshop. To open it in Adobe Photoshop click on the “File”. Then click “Open” and select the photo. You can also open the photo by dragging it to the Photoshop field. If you photo is in desktop then “left click” on the photo and drag it to the Photoshop empty field. Then loose the “Left click”. So you inserted the photo in Photoshop.

Now you can see a dialogue box. Go to the “Camera calibration” menu and select the camera profile which you want to use. I used “Camera portrait” profile for this one. It’s pretty good. Now I come back to the “Basic” and adjust the exposure, temperature, tint, shadow and highlights. I also out “Clarity” in my photos, because most of the time I capture street actions and also some landscapes. But if you are going to give this look to any portrait photo, I suggest not to give much “Clarity” in your photo.

Here is the preview of the photo after the basic adjustment.


I make the photo warm because I want to give a warm look like film. You can also make the color cold. But you should do it understanding the situation. You can see a good work of sun light and shadows in the picture. So making the picture cold is not a good idea. So you need to change the adjustment upon the situation.


Creating a “Duplicate layer” is very easy and very useful for any kind of Photoshop work. It will preserve your original photo and edit the duplicated one. By this you can reverse the command too. To open a “Duplicate layer” go to the layer option and click “Duplicate layer”. You can see a “Background layer” in the layer dialogue box.


I am going to use my background layer to give my image a nice faded look to it by using curve, and since I’ll be adding a few more layers after that, let’s keep track of what I am doing with each layer by giving them more informative names than simply “Layer 1”, “Layer 2”, and so on. Double-click directly on the name “Background layer” in the layers palette and rename it to “Curve”.



Tone curve is very essential to give a great tone in the photo. You can give your photo to any look by changing those tone curves. To adjust the tone curve go to the “Image” at the top of the option menu, select  “Adjustment” and select “Curve”.


Here you can see a “Straight Line” which represents the whole RGB of your photo. You can give a good looking tone using “Tone curve”. But I need to change the contrast of definite color. So click on the “RGB”. Now here its showing RED, GREEN, BLUE particularly.

Select the “RGB” and change make the curve as shown in below. I select the lower end of the straight line and change the input to 17 and output 41. Now select any point on that curve and change the input to 103 and output 102. It gives a little contrast. Now we need to give it some highlight. So select another point on the curve and change the input to 157 and output 164.


Now select the “BLUE” and change make the curve as shown in below. I select the lower end of the straight line and change the input to 11 and output 0. Now select any point on that curve and change the input to 95 and output 104. It gives a little highlight.


Now click “ok”. You can see a huge difference of the “Background layer” of the photo. It’s fade but the colors are much better.


Now we need to add a film texture on our photo. So we need some textures. There has available film texture in Google. You can download them and use them on your photo or you can make then yourself. I will tell about that later. So I open the “Film texture” in Adobe Photoshop. Now go to “select” and then click “All”. You can see, the whole image is selected. Then copy it. You can use some shortcuts to do so. To select the whole image press (ctrl+A) and copy it pressing (ctrl+C). Now paste the film texture to your photo. To do that press (ctrl+V).


Re-scale the pasted film texture on the photo to fit in it.


Now go to the “Image”. Select “Adjustment” and click “Hue/Saturation”. Here I change the “Hue” to +40 and click “Ok”.



Now go to the blend mode option in the layer dialogue box. Change the blend mode “Normal” to “Soft light”. You can see a huge difference in the photo. Now you can reduce the effect decreasing the “Opacity” level.


Now fatten the layers to get your film effects. I also made some lens correction and a little vintage effect and temperature correction in the photo to make it more attractable.


So now you can make your own film effects by following these steps. I prefer a blue or yellow film texture for portrait photo. We will come back with another different kind of effect. So read our tutorials and create your own world.


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