Faded film tutorial in lightroom

Tip by bryanmanio on February 20, 2014

I recently picked up a Fuji X100s and have been having a ton of fun playing around in Lightroom. I came across a simple way to achieve that faded photo look without the use of plugins. Check it out.


First lets open up our photo in lightroom. In this case, I’m going to be using this amazing chili goma ramen soup I had the other day. Click any of the images for a fullscreen view.



Click on the compare view button to see a before and after view of our photo. If you aren’t happy with the white balance, now would be the time to correct it. Hit the B key, then use the eyedropper tool to select the whitest part of your image..




Click this button to allow us to edit the point curve.




Now we’re going to add a point to the curve about 25% into the width of the graph by clicking on it once. Then take the leftmost handle, and slide it up to taste (generally around 10-15%). This is making lightening all the blacks in the photo, giving it that matte look.





Now lets make the shadows a little bit cooler by adding a slight blue tint to them. Go to the split toning panel under shadows, bump the saturation up to about 10-15, then play with the hue until you find a suitable blue.





Last but not least, lets add a little bit of grain to really lock in that film look. Go to the effects panel, and bump up the grain filter until you’re satisfied (but don’t go overboard).




We’re done! Now lets save these settings as a preset so we can use them in the future. Hit the + icon in the presets panel on the left.





Reference the settings below to make sure you’ve captured the correct settings.


save setting


Here is a before and after of our final results. The settings may change from photo to photo, but experiment until you find something you like.



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