How to Create a Vintage Photo Effect in a Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky Style

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Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

This week is dedicated to Russian culture, so I would like to introduce you to the artworks of the famous Russian photographer Prokudin-Gorsky. He made a large number of color photographs of the early 20th century using his three-image method of photography.

He was able to capture in his photos not only the Russian Empire but also Europe and Asia. Many of his works were used in postcards.


In this tutorial, we’ll create a inspired by retro postcards of Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky using Adobe Photoshop and retro textures.

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial:

  • Vintage Overlay Textures
  • Photo
  • Cat Linz Font

1. How to Prepare the Document

Step 1

Use Control-N to create a new document and use the following settings: 3000 x 2000 px; 300 dpi.

Creating new document

Step 2

Go to File > Place and put your image inside the document.

Placing the image

Step 3

Resize your image to the borders of the document and hit Enter.

Resizing the image

Step 4

Click M to activate the Rectangular Marquee Tool and select the whole canvas of the document.

Selecting the document

Step 5

Go to Image > Crop to delete the parts of the photo outside the canvas.

Cropping the image

Step 6

After that, Right-Click on the layer and then Convert to Smart Object.

Converting image to smart object

2. How to Create a Vintage Photo Effect

Step 1

Select the smart object, go to Filter > Noise > Median, and use the following settings: Radius: 2 px.

Adding filter to the image

Step 2

Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise and use the following settings: Amount: 7%; Distribution: Uniform; Monochromatic: On.

Adding the noise filter

Step 3

Double-Click on the icon near the layer to open the smart object.

Opening the smart object

Step 4

Create three duplicates of your smart object using Right Click > Duplicate.

Creating the duplicates of the layer

Step 5

Double-Click on the first duplicate of the layer and Uncheck the Green and Blue channels in the Layer panel.

Unchecking the green and blue channel

Step 6

After that, Double-Click on the second duplicate and Uncheck the Red and Blue channels.

Unchecking the red and blue channel

Step 7

And finally, Uncheck the Red and Green channels on the last layer.

Unchecking the red and green channel

Step 8

Create a new empty layer using Shift-Control-N and put it above the first duplicate.

Creating a new layer

Step 9

Create two more empty layers and arrange them as shown in the picture below.

Creating empty layers

Step 10

Select the first copy of the main image and Layer 1 while holding Shift, and then hit Merge Layers.

Merging layers

Step 11

Merge the other copies of the main image with the empty layers, as we did before.

Merging the copies of the main image with empty layers

Step 12

Select the main image and then use the Shift-Control-Alt-B key combination to convert the image to black and white.

Creating the black and white effect

Step 13

Select Layer 1 and click M. Then select the whole red image with the Rectangular Marquee Tool and press Control-C to copy the layer.

Copying of the red channel

Step 14

Select the main image and go to Channels panel, and then select the Red channel.

Opening the red channel

Step 15

Press Control-V to paste Layer 1 to the red channel of the main image.

Changing the red channel of the main image by red copy of the image

Step 16

Now we need to paste Layer 2 to the Green channel and Layer 3 to the Blue channel of the main image, as we did before.

Pasting layers to color channels

This is how our image will look after all the manipulations listed above:

How image should looks like

Step 17

Select copies of the main image while holding Shift, and then hit the Delete icon.

Deleting the layers

Step 18

Now let’s add color correction to improve the colors of the image. Select the layer, go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast, and use the following settings: Brightness: 125; Contrast: -50.

Changing brightnesscontrast

Step 19

Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation and use the following settings: Hue: -25.

Changing the hue of the image

Step 20

Afterwards, go to Image > Adjustments > Channel Mixer and use the following settings: Output Channel: Green; Green: +75%; Blues: -25%.

Creating color adjusments

Step 21

Go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast and use the following settings: Brightness: 35; Contrast: -15.

Changing the brightness and contrast of the image

Step 22

To create a more realistic vintage look, we could move the color channels a bit. Go to the Channels panel and select the Red channel.

Selecting the red channel

Step 23

Click and select the whole image.

Selecting the color channel

Step 24

Now click V and move the channel 1 px to the left.

Moving the color channel

Step 25

After that, select the Green channel and move it to 1 px to the right, as we did before.

Moving the color channel

3. How to Create a Postcard Photo Effect

Step 1

Close and Save the smart object.

Saving the smart object

Step 2

Press Alt-Control-C and use the following settings:

Changing the canvas size

Step 3

Resize the smart object (Control-T) to 90% Width and 90% Height.

Changing the size of the smart object

Step 4

Move the smart object 175 px to the left while holding Shift.

Moving the smart object

Step 5

Click T and create two text layers with any text you want to use.

Creating the text layer

Step 6

Press Control-T while holding Shift to rotate each text layer –90°.

Rotating text layers

Step 7

Move the text layers to the right side of the canvas.

Moving the text layers

Step 8

Select the text layers while holding Shift and then Right Click > Convert to Smart Object.

Converting the text layers into the smart object

Step 9

To create a more realistic vintage text effect, we need to smudge our text layers. Select the smart object, go to Filter > Noise > Median, and use the following settings: Radius: 2 px.

Step 10

Now we can add the textures to our document. Go to File > Place and place two vintage textures above all the layers.

Placing the textures

Step 11

Change the Blending Mode of the vintage paper texture to Multiply.

Changing the blending mode of the texture

Step 12

Change the Blending Mode of the scratches texture to Screen.

Changing the blending mode of the texture

Awesome Work, You’re Now Done!

In this way, we can use Adobe Photoshop to create a vintage postcard in the style of the artworks of Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky using smart objects, color correction, and vintage textures.

Final result

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial, and feel free to contact me for any help with the tutorial.


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