Free Life Photography

A retro, calm and muted Photoshop action

When I edit my photos I’ll often mute down the contrast and colours and try to make everything a little more… calm. Calm and ‘filmish’. Like it could have been taken in 1971.

hydrangea - a bit dead

There are Japanese scientists at Canon and Nikon etc tearing out their hair right now because of people like me – they’ve spent their whole professional careers optimising everything in order to give us really black blacks and incredible dynamic range, and here I am throwing it back in their faces! I hope they don’t take it personally – I like the ‘proper’ colours too, honest!

If I’m using Photoshop to do this I tend to use the ‘Selective Color’ adjustment mode – it’s a really quick and easy way of getting results – I’ve mentioned it before here.

I recently decided to make some Photoshop Actions to speed up the process even more so thought I’d share them with you (there’s a link at the end to download).

You can see how it looks in the examples below – they’ll look different depending on what sort of photo you’re starting with (SOOC stands for ‘straight out of camera’)…

weeds - photoshop action

Some photos will give very subtle results – these are adjustment layers though so you can always up the sliders to get a stronger look. They make for a good starting point with a photo anyway, if this is the sort of effect you’re after.

pony - photoshop action

Here you go then, here’s a Photoshop action for you containing 7 different calm, muted looks for your photos…

[button size=”large” bgColor=”#6eb5c7″ link=””]Calm and carrying on – Photoshop action[/button]

And if you need a helping hand, here’s a guide on how to run and install a Photoshop action.

What sort of processing do you do to your digital photos? I’d love to know! 

Ciao x

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  • Reply
    7 September 2012 at 06:49

    Oh I love rouged knees 😀

  • Reply
    7 September 2012 at 12:48

    These are great. I also love roughed knees!

  • Reply
    7 September 2012 at 21:51

    These are fabulous! I really like smudged lipstick.

  • Reply
    Jia Ni
    8 September 2012 at 06:01

    Thank you! These are so beautiful. :) xo

  • Reply
    12 September 2012 at 08:34

    Go you! they look great Angie!

  • Reply
    14 September 2012 at 03:09

    Love the first photo! What particular PS action did you use for that one? I’ve always loved that dreamy look in film photos!

  • Reply
    25 September 2012 at 15:44

    Thank you for offering these, they are lovely!

  • Reply
    6 October 2012 at 01:30

    Can these actions be used in PSE 10 also?

    • Reply
      10 October 2012 at 19:13

      Hi Carrie – I’m not 100% sure as I only have access to the Regular Photoshop – they use quite basic features so hopefully they will.

  • Reply
    12 November 2012 at 12:12

    why does the link not open =(

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