Creating a Retro 50s Image in Photoshop

Free Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets by MCP™

Creating a Retro 50s Image in Photoshop

Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Fun Retro 50’s Image Using Your Photos and Photoshop

Step 1: The first step is to open up a new Photoshop document and drag the photo on to a new layer.

Step 2: Next, erase the background of the original photo using the eraser tool, or selecting the subject using the lasso tools and then delete the background.

Step 3: Next add a 30 pt white stroke around the cutout image to give it that retro look.

50's style photo

Step 4: On a separate layer (above the original photo) create a blank layer. Choose colors similar to the areas below. Using a “hard” brush (It helps to zoom in close) paint the subject as shown here. This is where precision counts! Change the blend mode of the layer to Color, keeping the opacity to 100%.

50's cartoon image


Step 6: The retro textured background was created in Adobe Illustrator and brought into Photoshop and layered over an “aqua” fill and under the cutout image.  The blend mode for the texture layer was changed to luminosity.  If you don’t have the capability to create a retro texture in Illustrator yourself, you can find this texture on my flickr offered under a creative commons license.

Download the texture here.

50's texture

Step 6: Add your text. Create the same text on two layers, black one and a white one (slightly offset to give it a retro feel.) You can find lots of great retro looking fonts at


That’s all there was to it. Here’s the final result – Good luck and have fun!

retro 50's image

This guest post is by artist/photographer Theresa Thompson. You can find more of Teresa’s work here.

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Creating a Retro 50s Image in Photoshop