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After Vintage Film Fade Edit

Vintage Film Fade Effects in Lightroom – Ordinary To Extraordinary Lightroom Edit – E23

By Pye Jirsa on November 11th 2013

Vintage Film Fade

In this tutorial we’re going to go over how you can create a beautiful vintage filmic look for your photos. We always emphasize to edit your photos to fit the mood of the photo and the Lightroom Presets v5 has everything you need to stylize and compliment the context of any image.

[Note: In the new Lightroom Presets v5, we have revamped all of the presets to improve image tonality and quality, allowing you to achieve even more amazing results. We’ve also added 95 new presets to reach a total of 311 presets in what is the gold standard of Lightroom image processing. In this series we’ll be going over how to use the new v5 presets to create great looking photos.  Click Here to learn more or purchase the system.]

With each of our Ordinary to Extraordinary Edits, we’re going to first be going through how we create our effects with the SLR Lounge Lightroom Presets v5, then we’ll be going through the details in the develop settings so everyone can understand exactly how we get to a specific look. This way, whether you have the presets or not, everyone can benefit from watching this video or reading the article below. For those that have the preset system, you can see the Preset Mixology below:

My Mixology

  • 01-40 BASE – VIVID STYLIZED: 40b. Bright Fade – Color Filmic
  • 02-20 CURVES – WARM: 21a. Bright Wash – Amber
  • 03-30 ADJUST – CONTRAST: 35. Neutral – Zeroed
  • 04-00 SFX – COLOR SCHEMES: 01b. Orange/Blue
  • 04-10 SFX – FILM & LENS: 12a. Light Edge Softening

Local Area Adjustments

  • Graduated Filter: 03 Burn (Darken) -0.5 Stops
  • Adjustment Brush: 03 Burn (Darken) -0.5 Stops

Vintage Film Fade Video Tutorial

Vintage Film Fade Written Tutorial

I shot this photo with a Canon 5D Mark III and a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 II lens. I chose to shoot it at 70mm in order to get more compression and pull the hills forward, closer to our subjects in the field. Here is what the image looks like straight from the camera. Notice that we shot it a little on the dark side just to retain a bit more highlight information to give us more leeway in post.

Before Vintage Film Fade Edit

I always say apply the effect that works with the image, and this image would be complimented nicely with a vintage effect. This photo already has a nice vintage feel because of the fedora, vintage dress, classic car, and the rustic field environment. With that in mind I’m going to start this edit with the “01-40 BASE – VIVID STYLIZED: 40b. Bright Fade – Color Filmic” preset. This gives the photo that nice vintage filmic fade that really fits the mood and context of the scene.

vintage film fade

Following our BCAS formula (Base, Curve, Adjustments, Special Effects) we’re going to select a Curve Preset to warm up our photo and add an Adjustment Preset to lower the contrast of the overall image.

  • 02-20 CURVES – WARM: 21a. Bright Wash – Amber
  • 03-30 ADJUST – CONTRAST: 35. Neutral – Zeroed

Here’s what our image looks like after I applied the Curve and Adjustment Presets.


I’m going to add two SFX (Special Effects) presets to this image. One preset is going to add a little bit of orange toning into the Highlights, while adding some blue tones to the Shadows. The other preset is going to give this image a subtle lens edge-softening effect.

  • 04-00 SFX – COLOR SCHEMES: 01b. Orange/Blue
  • 04-10 SFX – FILM & LENS: 12a. Light Edge Softening

Here’s what our image looks like with our SFX presets applied.

lens effects photo edit

Now I’m going to add a Graduated Filter with the “03 Burn (Darken) -0.5 Stops” preset. The left side of the image is much brighter than the right so I’m going to pull in the Graduated filter from the left side of the frame to the gentleman on the car. I’m adjusting the Exposure on that Graduated Filter to -0.4 so the effect is more subtle.

graduated filter

Then we’re going to take an Adjustment Brush with the “03 Burn (Darken) -0.5 Stops” preset to even out some of the bright areas of the field in front of our subjects.

Adjustment Brush

In the Develop Settings the “01-40 BASE – VIVID STYLIZED: 40b. Bright Fade – Color Filmic” preset lowered our Highlights and Whites while raising the Clarity, Vibrance and Saturation.

Lightroom Develop Settings

In the Tone Curve, because we’re using a “Bright Fade” preset, the Shadows, Blacks, Midtones and some of the Highlights are all being pulled up, and the Whites are being lowered a bit. These Tone Curve adjustments give our image that bright and faded look. This image also has a boosted Red and Green Curve, and a slightly reduced Blue Curve. These color adjustments are what gives this image that subtle amber toning from the “02-20 CURVES – WARM: 21a. Bright Wash – Amber” preset.

lightroom tone curve

In the Split Toning Panel we have orange tones being applied in the Highlights and the blue tones in the Shadows. This image has our standard Sharpening settings applied, and in Lens Vignetting we have the Amount at -30 and Midpoint at 30. In Grain we have the Amount at 70 and Size and Roughness both at 30.

split toning sharpening lens vignetting grain

Here’s what our finished photo looks like after our presets and adjustments are made.

Before Vintage Film Fade Edit

Before Vintage Film Fade Edit

After Vintage Film Fade Edit

After Vintage Film Fade Edit


Conclusion and Learn More

We hope you all enjoyed this tutorial. If you are interested in learning more or purchasing the SLR Lounge Lightroom Presets v5, please click any of the links in this article.

Stay tuned for more SLR Lounge Weekly Edits!

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Founding Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography and SLR Lounge.

Follow my updates on Facebook and my latest work on Instagram both under username @pyejirsa.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Cristi K

    I love creating these kind of presets when I work in Lightroom.
    A simmilar vintage fade look can be obtained in Photoshop:

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  2. Simona S

    First, I really like this!
    Then I can’t find the “01-40 BASE – VIVID STYLIZED: 40b. Bright Fade – Color Filmic” preset. Is it a lightroom one or can I find it somewhere on the web? I’m sorry I just registred!

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  3. Valentin Zwick

    great vintage look – gotta try this out myself

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  4. Kurk Rouse

    I basically understand almost every thing in light room except the tone curve, i find my self watching the videos over all the time, kinda frustrating that this one part is not sinking in.

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  5. Brendon

    I must admit, I also think it looks a little fake… I’m not sure why as I am no LR guru. But yeah as far a “film look” goes I don’t think it quite hits the nail on the head.

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  6. James Backhurst

    Looks a bit artificial like digital photo with filters. I much prefer film presets for lightroom made by, they and vsсо managed somehow to achieve a really analog look.

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