photoshop creative

Create vintage portraits

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
August 31, 2016

Give your portrait photos a vintage makeover using just a few handy tools in Photoshop


1. Set the background


First create a new file (Cmd/Ctrl+N) measuring 230x310mm and paint it with the colour #fde8cc. Then make a new layer (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+N) with a white circle (M) and apply a Gaussian Blur (Filter>Blur> Gaussian Blur) of 435px.

2. Add the texture


One of the keys to building a vintage image is details. It is very common to see words written on the image. So use add text to the image and change its blend mode to Multiply, then duplicate the layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J) and place it with 50% Opacity.

3. Make it vintage


Insert a vintage background like the one above. Create a new layer and make a white square (U), bigger that than the background with an outline of 2pt. Insert a dotted edge around the vintage background.

4. Visit the Filter Gallery



Photoshop has several ways to add textures in your image, one of them is exploring the Filter Gallery (Filter>Filter Gallery). To add this effect go to the Texture folder and select the Texturizer filter with Scaling: 100% and Relief: 4.

5. Start the transformation


It’s time to give a vintage look to your photo. Crop the your subject and place her above the vintage background. As the background is predominantly yellow, change the colour tone of the photo using the Color Balance tool (Cmd/Ctrl+B) with the settings +16, 0, -24.

6. Enhance the dress


Now let’s make the woman’s dress more colourful by changing it to red. One of the easiest ways to do this is to create a new layer and with the Pen tool (P), make a selection of the dress. Once that is done, paint it with the colour #f05c6c and change the blend mode to Color.

7. Add Gaussian Blur


Part of the vintage style usually involves blur, so duplicate the woman layer and apply the Gaussian Blur filter (Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur) set to 4px. Once you have done that, make a mask and with the Brush tool (B), delete the blur over the face area.

8. Work on the details


Give an older look to the image by applying the same filter procedure as in step four. Move the layer with the filter below the layer with blur, so the effect only appears on the woman’s face. Add some hair highlights using the Brush tool and white.

9. Add colourful roses


Crop an image of some roses. Apply a Feather of 3px and place it below the woman layer, then apply a Gaussian Blur filter of 4px. Duplicate the layer and distribute some roses on the right and another at the bottom on the left.

10. Insert background flowers


Now drop in vintage flowers to continue composing the flowery background. Keep in mind that the scene behind the woman shouldn’t be too busy. Apply the same crop and blurring effects from the previous step.

11. Drop in an arabesque pattern


Magic Wand tool, select the colourful part of the picture. Copy (Cmd/Ctrl+C) and Paste (Cmd/Ctrl+V) and add an arabesque design behind the flowers. Change the blend mode to Soft Light, then make a mask to erase small details from the top.

12. Place the bottom flowers


Insert more roses and leaves to add to the bottom flowers. Duplicate the pink rose layer and turn into yellow. Do this by making a selection and painting it with yellow #f1cf00, then change its blend mode to Color with 60% Opacity. Apply the same blur effect as in step nine.

13. Add extra details


Now you need to find white flowers and add them to the sides, above the woman, giving more depth to your image. Finally add a butterfly and apply the same blur effect as described in the previous steps.

14. Make it older


It’s time to add some more texture and details to the image. First add some birds and change the blend mode to Multiply. Then add noise with the blend mode set to Screen. Finally put an image of some birds on the woman’s hand.

15. Apply final adjustments


Add a series of colour adjustments such as Hue, Saturation (0, + 3, 0), Levels (5, 1.00, 255), Photo Filter (Filter Warming: 25%) and Brightness/Contrast (16/10). To make the image clearer, use a mask to erase the text layer, leaving only some at the top.

  • Alissa

    I like your photo manipulations, I tried to make also but my experience was failed, for me retouching it’s very difficult, I send my photos to online photo retouching services like