How To Create Vintage Photo in Photoshop Tutorial

In this Photoshop tutorial we will learn how to create a vintage photo effect, using some really simple techniques.  We’re going to use image adjustments, adjustment layers and layer styles to apply the vintage effect on a regular photo. Sometimes a pictures would look very normal and boring, but when you apply the right vintage filters and make the right adjustments, you end up with a great final output (like the famous Instagram effects). In the first part of the tutorial we will apply the vintage effect on a person (girl), and on the second part we will try to recreate a nice vintage photo effect for buildings. Mixtures of retro colors, grunge elements and various textures will make the perfect vintage effect. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Open the Photo

Vintage Photo Effect in Photoshop: Step 1

Step 2: Curves Image Adjustment

Go to Image > Adjustment > Curves. We will 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, Bluegradient 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

Final result:

Vintage Photo Effect in Photoshop: Final Result

Vintage effect for buildings

In the second part of the lesson we will learn a great vintage effect for buildings. This is the end result:


Open your image in Photoshop.


First we will apply color balance. go to Image > Adjustments > Color Balance (CTRL+B) and apply these values


Your Image Should Look Like This


Now Create a new layer (CTRL + SHIFT + N) and fill the colour #DCE354


Next change the Blending mode at Multiply and set the Opacity at 75%


Now Create a new layer (CTRL + SHIFT + N) and fill the colour #111842


Next change the Blending mode at Lighten, set the Opacity at 40% and fill at 55%


Next we will add some texture.Open the Textures in Photoshop. For example I’m using this Texture. Here you can download from here.


Here is the way i do it.


Next change the Blending mode at Overlay, set the Opacity at 65%.


Final Step now back to the image layer we will apply some filter. Go to Filter > Render > Lighting Effects

Here is the way i do it.


Final Result


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.

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Adriana King

I'm a 22 young blogger, design enthusiast and writer based in Berlin. I oversee the editorial approach across platforms & mediums. Crafting the future of digital experiences through emotional design. I split my time between Los Angeles and New York.


  1. Nice effect, it is not complicate at all so I will try it :)

  2. Nice tutorial! Thanks!

  3. 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.

  4. Thanks for the tutorial! Nice effects :)

  5. stunning result from such a quick tutorial

  6. Just the one i was looking for. Many thanks :)

  7. Wow! This is awesome..thanks for the tips. :)

  8. nice one Adriana, looking forward to see more of your arty stuff thanks. Nice pic too !

  9. Instagram and steroids... NICE

  10. Nice tutorial! Thanks!

  11. Nice Vintage Photoshop Tutorial. very clearly written and easy to understand, I will try it.Thanks for sharing such useful information.

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