How to make a photo looks Vintage using Adobe Photoshop

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In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to turn a new or recent photo into a vintage photo, one that looks like it was taken many years ago, and I will follow few steps to do it. I will be doing it by combining several separate effects to create the final result. So it will be quite easier for you to give an old look to a photo by following these steps.  Here I am using a photo of “Steve McCurry”. I am using this photo because the color of this photo is quite good and when I am going to turn the photo into old photo, the changes will be very easy to get.

Here’s the image which I am going to turn into an old version.

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Photographer: Steve McCurry

And here’s the old look what I am going to do.

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Add A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer

With my image newly opened in Photoshop, the first thing I am going to do is replace the photo’s bright colors with a classic sepia tone, and you can do that easily using a Hue/Saturation” adjustment layer. Click on the New Adjustment Layer” icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.

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Then choose “Hue/Saturation” from the list of adjustment layers that appears.

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This brings up the “Hue/Saturation” dialog box. Click inside the checkbox to the left of the “Colorize” option in the bottom right of the dialog box, then drag the “Hue” slider to around 40 for a nice sepia tone.

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Click on any place when you’re done to exit out of the dialog box. If you look in my layers palette now, you can see the “Hue/Saturation” adjustment layer that I’ve added above the “Background layer”.

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Merge Both Layers Into A New Layer

For the next step, you need to have of the existing layers merged on to a new layer above them. To do that, with the adjustment layer still selected in the Layers palette, hold down your Alt”  then while holding the key down, go up to the Layer menu” at the top of the screen and select merge visible. You can also use the keyboard shortcut for this, which is “Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E”.

Normally when you select the Merge Visible option, Photoshop merges all the layers onto an existing layer in the Layers palette, which is usually not what you want to have happen since you lose the original layers in the process. By holding down the Alt/Option key while selecting merge visible (or adding it to the keyboard shortcut), we tell Photoshop to create a brand new layer for us and merge everything onto that new layer while keeping our original layers intact. If you look now in the Layers palette, you can see that sure enough, Photoshop has created a new layer above the previous two layers and has merged the other two layers onto it. you can see my sepia tone image in the new layer’s preview thumbnail.

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Rename The New Layer “Glow”

I am going to use our merged layer to give my image a nice high contrast glow to it, 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 “Layer 1” in the Layers palette and rename it to “Glow”.

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Apply The Gaussian Blur Filter To The Merged Layer

To create the high contrast glow effect, you need to blur out the merged layer. To do that, with the “Glow” layer selected in the Layers palette, go up to the Filter menu at the top of the screen, choose Blur, and then choose Gaussian Blur. When the Gaussian Blur dialog box appears, drag the Radius slider at the bottom of the dialog box towards the right until your Radius value is around 6 pixels. I’m working with a low resolution image for this tutorial, but if you’re using a high resolution image, you’ll want to try a slightly higher setting. You want to apply just enough blur so that you remove most of the detail from the image without going so far that you can’t make anything out at all.

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Click OK when you’re done to exit out of the dialog box.

Change The Blend Mode Of The Blurred Layer To “Overlay”

Now that I’ve blurred out my merged layer, go up to the Blend Mode” option in the top left corner of the Layers palette. It doesn’t actually say “Blend Mode” anywhere, so just look for the selection box that is currently set to “Normal”. Click on the down-pointing arrow to bring up a list of available blend modes and select Overlay” from the list.

If you look at the image in the document window, we can see that it now has a soft, high contrast glow to it.

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Lower The Opacity Of The “Glow” Layer

If you find, and you most likely will, that your glow effect appears too intense, you can adjust it by simply lowering the opacity of the “Glow” layer. The Opacity option is directly across from the “Blend Mode” option at the top of the Layers palette. I’m going to lower mine all the way down to about 70%.

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Add  A New Layer And Name It “Noise”

Now add a new layer by clicking the “Create new layer” option at the bottom.

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Then go to the “Edit” option at top and select “Fill”. A dialogue box will appear. Select “Black” and press okay. You will see a black background image.

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Now go to the “Filter” menu and select “Noise”, then “Add Noise”. I add 125% for my picture.

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You can also change it. But don’t worry it will be fine. So to make it look good click on the down-pointing arrow to bring up a list of available blend modes and select “Soft Light” from the list. Change the “opacity level” to 25%. Now its looking pretty good.

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Add A LEVEL Adjustment Layer

Add a new level adjustment layer and adjust the level as I did. I can change according to pictures. But you can use mine, It works good.

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Select The Hue/Saturation Layer

Now again go to the HUE/Saturation layer and decrease the opacity by sliding it left until you get the color like old photos. I used 60% opacity to get my old photo.

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Now If you are like that old color then your work is almost done. Click on the “Layer” on the top and fatten the image by selecting “Fatten image”. Here’s the view of my image in its old version.

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