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Faded Vintage Photoshop Action

Photoshop Action - Vintage Fade

I recently realised I spend a considerable amount of time repeating steps to create the same effect in multiple images. So I’ve started playing around with creating actions in Photoshop to save me a bit of time whilst keeping all my images consistent. I’m not sure why I’ve not done this sooner… (perhaps I just enjoy the process too much?) I’ve promised myself to keep on top of things regarding naming of Actions, Layers and Adjustments – It’s so easy to let that slide and end up forever trying to find the adjustment layer that altered the setting you are looking for.

Faded Vintage Photoshop Action
The final product after applying the Faded Vintage Photoshop Action

The first creation is probably one of my most used styles – popular thanks to the likes of Instagram, vintage faded style photos are very “in”. This is a really easy to achieve style but also very easy to get the settings slightly out resulting in inconsistencies in a set. So here we go… I’m using as an example a photo from last year of my godson Fletcher.

Faded Vintage Photoshop Action - Before
The colour corrected photo before applying the Faded Vintage Photoshop Action

The Steps in the faded vintage photoshop action…

Start with a colour corrected photo.

Duplicate the Layer

Apply Unsharp Mask – Quite a strong adjustment – 100% with a radius of 5%

Reduce Layer Opacity to 40% – This Layer Opacity can be adjusted to suit after applying the action depending on how harsh the sharpening effect appears

Create Black and White Adjustment Layer – No changes need to be made – the default settings work well

Create Exposure Adjustment Layer – Reducing Exposure, increasing the offset and reducing the Gamma Correction. Again the layer opacity can be adjusted for individual photos.

Create Curves Layer – The adjustment is to give a cross processed look. Bringing the Red and Green Channels down on the shadow end, bringing them up on the highlights end and the reverse with the blue channel.

And that’s it. As you can imagine – It’s much easier just to click the action button and make adjustments if need be. The final photo – I decided to pull the exposure layer opacity up just a little as the contrast wasn’t quite vintage enough.

Faded Vintage Photoshop Action
The final product after applying the Faded Vintage Photoshop Action


Click the download button to get the Faded Vintage Photoshop action – Download

To install the action – either download and select open with Photoshop… or…

  • Open Photoshop, and click on the Actions Palette menu button (located in the top-right of the Actions Palette)
  • Select “Load Actions”
  • Select the .atn file from the download.
  • Job done!