Vintage Effect Photoshop Tutorial

In this tutorial we will be using some adjustment layers in Photoshop to create a vintage effect on a modern photo.

After Step 4, if you don’t wish to continue or don’t have the time to, you can download the .psd file and apply it to your image. As the effects are presented in the individual adjustment layers, you can tweak them as necessary for the image you are working on.

Also, for the curves layer I have created a Curves preset which you can also download. The download link for the Curves preset is available in Step 8, and the .psd download link can be found at the bottom of the page.

Vintage Effect Photoshop Tutorial

Pier Image from pixelmixtur on deviantART

Step 1

Open the pier image, or your chosen image, which should be of good quality, colourful and bright to achieve the best results.

Duplicate the background layer

Step 2

I started by removing some of the left part of the image by using the Crop tool. My image ended up 3616px wide, so was reduced by around 1600px. How much or little (or if at all) you reduce is your own choice.

The first thing to be addressed in this image is that during Victorian times there were no aeroplane trails in the sky, so we need to remove the two trails in the image.

I think the easiest way of doing this is by using the Spot Healing Brush tool – set the size to around 30px and click on and around the trails until they have disappeared and the sky is nicely blended.

The high-rise building in the background also does not seem to fit in with a Victorian view, and this is best removed with the Clone Stamp tool.

Select the Clone Stamp tool and place the cursor to the right of the building, and a little more than half the width of the building away from it. Hold Alt and click the left mouse button. Paint the left half of the building out.

Clone Stamp

Repeat this process for the right half of the building – you should end up with a smooth and well-blended result, but if necessary, use the Smudge tool or the Clone Stamp tool again to correct any imperfections.

You could obviously go further towards making the background more sympathetic to the typical seaside view during Victorian times, but for the purposes of this tutorial we will be leaving it at that.

Step 3

We are going to apply a vignette to the image

A wonderful tip I have learnt from other tutorials along the way is to convert your image to a smart object. This will allow you to make changes and adjustments to effects applied to the image just as you can with adjustment layers.

Right click on the image layer in the layers palette, and select ‘Convert to Smart Object’

Step 4

You need to find the filter Lens Correction – depending on which version of Photoshop you are using, it will either be Filter>Distort>Lens Correction (pre CS5 I think), and for CS5, Filter>Lens Correction

Lens Correction Filter

Apply the following settings:

Lens Correction Settings

You will notice in the layers palette you have created a Smart Filter – which is editable.

Double click on the sliding bars icon as shown below:

Smart Filters

Reduce the filter opacity to 45%

Hopefully this step will help you in other projects too, and has shown you that almost everything in Photoshop can be editable on its own!

Step 5

We will now add some adjustment layers to age the image itself.

If you are working on your own photo the settings will most likely need to be adjusted to suit the requirements of that image.

To add an adjustment layer, click on the black and white circle icon at the bottom of the layers palette.

First adjustment layer is Hue/Saturation. Use the following settings:

Hue/Saturation Layer

Step 6

Add a Solid Color adjustment layer and select a bright pink colour #F574C0

Change the layer mode to Exclusion and reduce the opacity to around 23%

Step 7

Add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer and apply the following settings:

Brightness/Contrast Layer

Step 8

Add a Curves adjustment layer. For this layer, I have created a preset which is available for direct download here.

Alternatively, you can create your own curves based on the settings shown below:

Curves Layer

Step 9

Add another Solid Color adjustment layer, using dark blue #030432

Set the layer mode to Screen and reduce the layer opacity to around 70%

Step 10

Add a Selective Color adjustment layer and apply the following settings:

Selective Color Layer

And that’s it!

Here are the before and after images:

Pier Image Before

Pier Image After

As promised above, I have created a .psd file to obtain this colouring effect.

Download .psd File

Please leave any comments or links to your end results below. I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial.


I love using and learning Photoshop, and I also enjoy creating resources to share with the world. I am at my happiest when I have free time to further explore all that Photoshop has to offer and learn more about its powerful built-in tools. I hope people enjoy either using or learning from my free resources, and welcome any hints and tips - and of course, if you would like to offer a free resource on this site, please don't hesitate to contact me (top right of the page).


Su Hall

about 6 years ago

This turned out really nice! Thank you! Su



about 6 years ago

Thank you so much for sharing this! Maybe I'm going something wrong, but I wasn't able to download your Curve presets in Step 8. Did anyone else have this trouble? Please let me know. Thanks again!


jim daniel

about 6 years ago

You can find photo effects like these and more at



about 6 years ago

hi. I think the preset for the curves is not working for download. Can you do a video tutorial for this?


Leave a Comment

Please be polite. We appreciate that.
Your email address will not be published and required fields are marked