Vintage Soft Color Photoshop Action

Vintage Soft Color Photoshop Action

Vintage Soft Color - Click Image to Close

The vintage soft color action will gently desaturate your image with a soft chocolate antique shadows. Expect a slightly darker mid-tone from the results. The desaturation method used is not like desaturation slider as it does not operate equally across the spectrum of colors. Great style for any photo subject. Action operates in LAB color mode.

Read on for more examples

Systematic Color calibration comparison

Vintage Soft Color Systematic Color comparision

Read on for more examples

Vintage Soft Color Photoshop Action Example image

Vintage Multiple Choice Photoshop Action Set

The Vintage Multiple Choice action produces 11 layers for you to blend into your vintage style.

Vintage Multiple Choice Action Set

The action does not produce automatic results, it’s up to you to finesse the options – but it’s results have an authentic antique, vintage and aged print look.

Who is this action for?

Intermediate to Advanced Photoshop users looking for a starting point for authentic, malleable vintage effects.

How does this action work?

The action produces 11 layers for you to blend and interact with giving you  285311670611 possible combinations for your photo styling pleasure! You can use the layer masks and layer blending modes to reach the creative potential of your images.  The action set is a palette of paints for you to finesse into your masterpiece, it is not a shortcut but a workflow.  If you are really interested in the vintage look, you’ll want to distress the image in custom ways so that it looks aged differently on different parts of the photo.

Here is a series of screenshots of the eleven example layers – first is the original image for reference as you see the changes:

Original Image for reference

^ original image – return for comparisions ^

soft light blended smoothing - Vintage photoshop action

The soft light smoothing layer is a basic retouch method that nearly everyone’s familiar with, it’s at the bottom.

simple vintage BW - Vintage photoshop action

The Simple Vintage B+W layer is one of 6 custom curve layers operating in the LAB color space.  You can quickly paint in a little black into your layer mask to provide a variably aged look.

reddened antique layer - Vintage photoshop action

The reddened antique curve layer complements the green layer below it – if you are hoping to provide a vintage color look, the emulsions of prints tend to fade either red or green – you can custom mix them by local area or overall tonality (see green layer).

funktifier green - Vintage photoshop action

The funktifier green layer has a tone-map auto loaded.  A tone map is a layer mask that uses the same lightness values as the image, providing a green tone to the shadows of the image.  You can alter your tone map with a curve, or you can alter the curve adjustment layer to alter the hue or saturation of the green.

muted bleached sepia - Vintage photoshop action

Muted and bleached Sepia layer which lightens your shadow zones and mutes(darkens) your highlights to a ruddy sepia color.  This is your basic faded sepia look that you can dial in and customize for your image.  Double click the curve adjustment layer to open it and operate with the surgical artistic destiny of your intuition.

light leak option - Vintage photoshop action

Lens Leak layer 1 – Pay attention here folks, this is a trick to mimic the light leaks on film from old or leaky bellows.  It takes into consideration your image as it builds the effect.

lens leak option - Vintage photoshop action

Light Leak option 2 – a stronger effect of the light leak – blend it into your image for that variable look that the years of aging produce.

bleached shadows color - Vintage photoshop action

Bleached shadows color layer – this layer mimics a light bleaching of the print, a delicate darkroom process that would take you a few months to master if you were doing this 10 years ago.  It’s also an effect of the aging emulsion, so build up your taste for the effects of aging by looking at plenty of old pictures.  Good taste makes good pictures – not actions.

basic low color warm - Vintage photoshop action

Basic low color desaturation layer.

vintage film grain layer - Vintage photoshop action

Grain texture layer.

Automatic texture layer - Vintage photoshop action

Vintage texture layer @100% – mix in to taste – this is an auto generated texture, so I suggest a light hand.  Custom textures are included in the Vintage Master package.

Here’s the results of my custom vintage processing of these two example images

Powerful film-noir style bridal portrait photographer

My creative intentions were to capitalize on the dramatic eye contact and the sparkle of that ROCK.  To do so, I went completely black in the shadows, but kept them a warm, chocolaty black, the major desaturation is matched with a slight warm highlight hue – making the overall image nearly a duotone – one highlight value, and one shadow value.  I worked to channel the feminine power in the gaze, into the tonality and impression of the entire image.

Vintage style fashion bridal portrait North Carolina

Completely opposite in tone and intention, I felt the feminine grace of this pose and chose to follow that direction in my retouching.  Whereas the ring shot was sharpened by an increase in contrast this image was softened by gaussian blur and custom texture overlay from the Beautiful Blurs Volume 2.  I used the blur to focus attention on the back of the dress and hairpiece.  Overall this image never gets to completely black, and the highlights buzz with a soft lightening texture.

I hope this discussion is valuable to you as you seek to find the expression in your images.

New York photojournalist signature

PROJECT: Open Source Action project

PROJECT: Action and Preset Extravaganza by the Epic Edits weblog




If you’re planning on participating and having a chance at some of the awesome prizes, be sure to read the following requirements very carefully. I’ve provided some useful links to appropriate resources, so don’t overlook them!

    The first important part of the project is actually creating the action or preset. The choice of software is up to you — whatever you happen to use. The action(s) and/or preset(s) that you choose to create and share are also totally up to you — they could be workflow timesavers, creative tweaks, or whatever else you can dream up. If you’re not familiar with creating these things, you can read up on creating Photoshop actions and Lightroom presetsAnd the creations must be your own — no swiping somebody else’s work!
    This is the hard part, but we’ve got some options for you. You’ll need to upload your action/preset file to the web so others can download it. If you have your own blog or website, this is no problem and you can host the file yourself. Some forums also allow files to be attached to posts. But sites like Flickr don’t allow this, while they do allow you to link to external files. To accommodate those of you with fewer options, Neil has offered to host your project files on his site. You can email him at with your file. He’ll upload it to his server and send you the URL so you can link to it in step 3.
    Once you’ve created your tool and made it accessible to others, you’ll have to write about it. There are many forms of self-publication, so don’t be intimidated. You should tell us what the action/preset does, how it works, and any special instructions for using it. You should also link out to your file from step 2 so others (including me) can download it and use it.
    When your written post is complete (with the link to your action/preset), fill out the form at this link. Just plug in your name, the location of your write-up from step 3, and your email address so I can contact you if needed.




    Valued at $290, this prize includes a Nostromo n52 left-hand keypad, “ONE” Lightroom/ACR preset, “ONE” Photoshop Action, and tutorials. This is an awesome package! This winner will also receive a $39 credit to use toward any additional items from Neil.
    Valued at $250, this prize includes the “ONE ACTION” workflow scripts plus a 4 hour training course covering the workflow scripts and working in LAB color space. This winner will also receive a $39 credit to use toward any additional items from Neil.
    Valued at $79 and $49, respectively, this prize includes the “ONE ACTION” scripts and presets for Photoshop and Lightroom, plus extra training materials along with additional Photoshop actions and 30 textures. This winner will also receive a $39 credit to use toward any additional items from Neil.
    The two “honorary mentions” will each receive a $39 credit toward the purchase of any item from Neil’s offerings.
    Just to shake things up a bit, we’ll select another 5 random winners to receive the $39 credit toward any item of their choice. So anybody could be a winner, you just have to participate!

So… basically we’re looking at over $1000 in prizes given out to 10 different winners. Not bad!


Golden Touch Monochrome: free sepia style photoshop action

Golden Touch Monochrome: free sepia style photoshop action

Golden Touch Monochrome

Golden Touch - Sepia Photoshop action download


Texturized photograph : before expressive retouching and after

Retouched with Veritas Vignette Textures: the kiss

Toronto CA wedding photographer

I used textures that I designed to provide a gentle and organic vignette feel to an image to darken the edges and focus the attention on the focal point of my composition. Those textures are available for purchase as the Veritas Vignette texture pack from the create store.  

texturized photographic retouch

I then added a little edge border to fancy it up just a little further….  I work in LAB color mode using my ONE action that allows me better control over burning down unruly highlights, and bringing out the colors with saturation control!

professional grade retouching workflow

The ONE ACTION set is a professional grade retouching workflow for creative expression. 

Adobe Exchange – Free Photoshop Toning Extension

Adobe Exchange – Free Photoshop Toning Action

Please take a moment and support Make Light Real by reviewing the free light-room develop preset at the Action Exchange.

Creative blessings

Platinum Print: Classic B+W Photoshop action

A Platinum print look. Classic B+W Photoshop action


The classic B+W printing process called a Platinotype produced a very long-scale, rich photographic print.

The Photoshop Action to mimic this look uses the power and flexibility of L*A*B* colorspace to bring your image the classy craftsmanship of the platinum style print.

platinum print classic B+W photoshop action

BIG BANG WEDDING 076.jpgSilvery grey highlights and and a detailed contrasty midtone and shadow area are the characteristics you will find accentuated in the Platinum Tone Photoshop Action by Neil Cowley.  If you’ve purchased the One Actionset – the Platinum tone curve is already available for you to use.  If you’re looking for a classy variation on your usual Black and White workflow, this action will give you a slightly antique or vintage feel to your image style.  If you have been looking at the print style favored by Lenswork magazine, this action will help get you close to that traditional classy fibre based B+W style print!

The Photoshop Action will harness the power of L*A*B* color mode to tone and refine your images, while fitting into your standard RGB workflow and can be activated with one click as a button, batch processed as an action, or made into a self starting droplet.