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The Secret to Creating a Vintage SX-70 Style Image in Photoshop!

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Create a SX-70 Style Vintage Image Using Photoshop by Jen Kiaba

Vintage is in, in a big way. From boutiques to magazines, everywhere you look it seems as though everything resonates with a tad of nostalgia. Personally, I love adding a little touch of vintage romance to my photography in Photoshop; when you pick your subjects carefully you can give your photos a timeless look without making them look dated.

There are varying levels of complexity to creating a vintage style photo. To begin with, I will share with you a very easy way to give your images a tonal quality that is reminiscent of the film from days of yore!

The other day I was browsing my friend Romin’s photography blog – he is the mastermind behind the Seattle-based Saia Weddings Photography Studio. His style, while not strictly blank The Secret to Creating a Vintage SX-70 Style Image in Photoshop! Guest Bloggers Photoshop Tips & Tutorials vintage, often evokes hints of classic film cameras – such as the Diana and the SX-70.

Most recently he posted a photo that made my jaw drop – he had mimicked the warm tones and softness of the Vintage Polaroid SX-70 so well!
romin-sx701 The Secret to Creating a Vintage SX-70 Style Image in Photoshop! Guest Bloggers Photoshop Tips & Tutorials
Knowing that he shoots digitally, and that the image was not actually captured on film, I had to know his secret! Note the warm tones of the sky and the landscape. Without going overboard, he has created an image that references the instant film that was so popular several decades ago.

Luckily for me, he was happy to share how to give your photos that touch of faded whimsy!

According to Romin, the trick is to pick a few warmer tones from your original photo:

With these colors in your palette, create a new Gradient Map Layer:

sx-70-color2 The Secret to Creating a Vintage SX-70 Style Image in Photoshop! Guest Bloggers Photoshop Tips & Tutorials

At first it will look like this (but worry not!):

sx-70-color31 The Secret to Creating a Vintage SX-70 Style Image in Photoshop! Guest Bloggers Photoshop Tips & Tutorials

Set this layer to the Soft Light blending mode.

sx-70-color4 The Secret to Creating a Vintage SX-70 Style Image in Photoshop! Guest Bloggers Photoshop Tips & Tutorials

Now everything has that warm softness that old Vintage Polariod SX-70s were so famous for! The only problem is that the skin looks a little too pink.

Try painting out some of the Gradient Map by using a medium opacity black brush the Layer Mask over your subjects’ faces just to make sure that the effect hasn’t gone overboard.

sx-70-color5 The Secret to Creating a Vintage SX-70 Style Image in Photoshop! Guest Bloggers Photoshop Tips & Tutorials

According to Romin, this trick works best with high-key, back lit or side lit photos!

Voila! You should have an image that begins to resonate with a romantic vintage style:

sx-last The Secret to Creating a Vintage SX-70 Style Image in Photoshop! Guest Bloggers Photoshop Tips & Tutorials

red The Secret to Creating a Vintage SX-70 Style Image in Photoshop! Guest Bloggers Photoshop Tips & Tutorials
Jen Kiaba
is a photographer, photojournalist and designer living in the Hudson Valley, NY.

She specializes in creating whimsical  vintage-style images for editorial and commercial art as well as for happy couples!

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No Comments

  1. Eija on July 26, 2010 at 10:02 am

    The colors for the gradient map layer are not showing up for me. Is it just me? Great tutorial, I love this look.

  2. Joann on July 26, 2010 at 11:36 am

    They’re not showing up for me either.

  3. RRF on July 26, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    I received the article via email and the photo does not show up there so I came here and still no photo. This is a great article but I would like to be able to view the entire process. Thanks~

  4. Lori on July 27, 2010 at 10:05 am

    The second image is not showing up for me either.

  5. carrie on July 27, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    i don’t know how to choose the colors for a palette in order to choose them for the gradient map. is there a tutorial on that?thanks!

  6. Nancy on July 28, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Regarding selecting a color for your gradient map layer, first select the eye dropper tool from your tool palette, then just click on any warm color in your image. Then create your new gradient map layer. I don’t know how to get multiple colors at a time though…!

  7. cna training on July 31, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!

  8. Mara on August 1, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Thanks for the article! I can’t see the second image either…what colors are we selecting in the gradient map?

  9. Justin on August 8, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    This is ridiculous. The end results look nothing like an SX70 image. Totally useless.

  10. MMEckel on February 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    This is just one of the vintage looks I was going fo and I love it. Thanks so much for the totorial

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