How to make Photographs Vintage in GIMP

Vintage style is sometimes desired to achieve a certain mood and aesthetic for a photograph. In this Gimp tutorial I’ll show you how to make your photographs Vintage in a few short easy steps.

Vintage Photograph in GIMPVintage Photograph in GIMP 

1. Gradient Map

  • Open your image in Gimp!
  • Duplicate your ‘Background‘ Layer, call it ‘Gradient‘(Right Click > Edit Layer Attributes):
  • Make FG: ff7c00
  • Make BG: 290a59
  • Now on your duplicated layer ‘Gradient’, go Colors –> Map –> Gradient Map:
  • And set layer ‘Gradient‘ to Mode: Overlay
Gradient Map OverlayGradient Map Overlay 

2. Channel Mixer

  • Duplicate ‘Background’ layer, call it ‘Channel Mixer’:
  • Drag to top of layers and set Mode: Multiply
  • To make your colours more saturated go Channel Mixer: Colors –> Components –> Channel Mixer:
  • As shown, on the Red Channel: Move the Green slider right and the Blue slider left, experiment a little as it will vary for each photograph(similar to as shown):
Channel Mixer: Red ChannelRed Channel 

  • Green Channel: Move the Green slider right (similar to as shown):
Green ChannelGreen Channel 

  • Blue Channel: Red slider right, Green slider right, Blue slider left (similar to as shown):
Blue ChannelBlue Channel 

3. Color Balance

  • Duplicate ‘Background’ layer, call it ‘Color Balance’:
  • Drag to top of layers and set Mode: Overlay
  • To get that purple tinge go, Colors –> Color Balance:
  • Select Shadows:
  • Increase the Red: ~ 75
  • Decrease the Green: ~ -15
  • Decrease the Blue: ~ -5
  • Note: Results may vary for different photographs!

  • Select Midtones:
  • Decrease the Red: ~ -100
  • Increase the Green: ~ 54
  • Decrease the Blue: ~ -35

  • Select Highlights:
  • Decrease the Red: ~ -45
  • Decrease the Green: ~ -10
  • Increase the Blue: ~ 35

4½. Merge Visible + Levels

  • Once you have finished your layer adjustments, uncheck the ‘eye’ on ‘Background’ layer or Delete it:
  • Then, on any layer: *Right Click* > Merge Visible Layers… (Expand as Necessary):
  • If you photograph has become too dark, then Adjust the Levels: Color –> Levels:
  • Move the centre slider towards the left:

That’s It! Here is the Before/After:

Before/After Vintage EffectBefore/After Vintage Effect 

If you get stuck anywhere just comment below!


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