Giving Your Photos the Matte-Look

If you ever use VSCO CAM or Afterlight on your iPhone, you're likely familiar with the fade adjustment or the matte look you can achieve using some of the preset filters.

I use this edit a lot on my iPhone photos and it's perfect for when I want to keep the dynamic look of a higher contrast shot, but without the stark edginess between the the high and low lights. It also seems to take the saturation down just a touch, giving a bit of a washed out feel.

There are likely tons of different way of achieving this look in photoshop, but I've found the following method to be efficient and versatile enough for my own editing style and I haven't had to go looking for any other more in depth or complicated steps.

So I open up the photo I'm going to edit in PS and my first step is to enhance and increase the contrast. I duplicate the background layer (Layer > Duplicate Layer or Command J) and I set the blending mode to Overlay.

Then I change the Opacity to about 35%. Next I go down to my "create new fill or adjustment layer" button and choose Solid Color...

I pick a nice dark grey (#616161) and hit OK. Then I change the blending mode of that layer to Lighten.

Now here is where you choose how much "fade" you want your photo to have by adjusting the Opacity to your liking. For this photo I'm going with a nice subtle 50%.

Then complete your editing to your liking and you're done! I lightened the photo just a touch by using a Curves adjustment layer and then brightened up my models face just a smidgen.

C'est fin!

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