Photography Quick Tips: Desaturated Film Style Photos


Lately I've been getting a lot of photography how-to questions so I decided to start a series of posts called "Photography Quick Tips" where I'll share with you guys some short and simple steps to achieving the effects of your choice.

As a disclaimer, I just want to mention that I'm not exactly a Photoshop expert like my cousin, Fabio (yeah, the Photoshop gene doesn't run in the family, who knew?). It's basically just pure experimentation on my end, so there are probably other ways to achieve these effects that I'm not aware of. In that case, just let me know. I want to learn from you guys too! Oh, and you can send me your questions via facebook or twitter.

Anyway, I'll start the series off with a question I received last week from @shamefuld about how I managed to achieve film quality with my Canon Digital Rebel.

Final Image

Original Image

How To

Step One

Open your image and before anything, double click on the Background layer over at the layers palette to unlock it.

Photography Quick Tips

Step Two

To get that medium format film effect we need to turn the rectangular image to a square. Do this by going to Image > Canvas Size. I chose to do 6.944 x 6.944. By doing this instead of readjusting the image size straight away, we can better control the crop later on.

Photography Quick Tips

Step Three

Since the canvas size is now smaller than our original image, scale it down using free transform (Command + t). And crop it however you wish.

Photography Quick Tips

Step Four

Now it's time to get that faded look. Go to create new fill or adjustment layer at the bottom of your layers palette, select Exposure and adjust according to your preference. The trick is to bring up the Offset and bring down the Gamma Correction a little.

Photography Quick Tips

Step Five

Go back to create new fill or adjustment layer at the bottom of your layers palette, select Brightness/Contrast this time. Check the Use Legacy box, bring down the Contrast and boost up the Brightness to your liking. This softens the image.

Photography Quick Tips

Step Six

Again return to create new fill or adjustment layer, select Photo Filter. Adjust according to the feel you want your image to have. I wanted a cold feel for this one.

Photography Quick Tips

Step Seven

Adjusting the Curves is just a personal preference of mine. Basically this is just a lot of experimentation and adjustment layers. Go to town with the adjustment layers option. Seriously, adjust layers to your heart's content, people. Most of the time I don't even know what I'm doing. I've found that sometimes you go in with something in mind but get something really different to what you wanted and really cool in the end, so just play around with it a little.

Photography Quick Tips

Step Eight

After that I just started repeating steps. Try adding some color fills like I did here (Create new fill or adjustment layer > Solid Color). Set the blend mode to Overlay and bring down the Opacity to around 30-40%. You can even go all out and add some fancy schmancy textures in there if you want. Maybe even some noise to reproduce that film grain effect. Have fun!

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