A Vintage Blue Hue

I don’t know much about Photoshop.  I’m rockin’ out an older version (7.0) and finding tutorials can be challenging.  It’s definitely a “learn as I go” program for this girl.  I did discover how to install actions and a new door opened for me.  Being able to see what functions and layers went into an action actually taught me more.  Granted, I still use actions quite a bit but there are few things I can do without their help.

For instance, I don’t have the greatest skin so I know how to hide a blemish.  (I cannot, however, make someone look slimmer.  I’m not that advance nor do I really want to.  It’s deceiving.)  I can ever so quickly lighten and color correct.  (I do watch my white balance in camera but sometimes a girl forgets.)   And I’ve dappled in using textured layers.  But as far as “treating” an image, I have one trick up my sleeve that I’m always pleased with: a vintage blue hue.  And it’s so easy I thought I’d share it since I used it this week for my “fear” photo.

How To Create a Vintage Blue Hue with Photoshop

Caveat: The process is probably slightly different between different versions of Photoshop and Macs versus my PC.  With this being simple layering, it can probably be achieved on Adobe Elements as well.

We’ll started with my original, SOOC image below.


After giving it a once over, I decided to crop out the white on the bottom left and I lightened the image slightly using Curves.  After getting the image to a point I was happy with, it was time to play with layers.


And now bring my screen shots.  I haven’t done very much with screen shots so forgive me for anything that looks wonky or horrible or whatever.  And I feel the need to repeat I have Photoshop 7.0 – it will look ancient next to anything remotely new.


The first step is to duplicate the layer.  Go to the “Layer” drop down menu and select “Duplicate Layer.”  A duplicate layer is just that: a copy of the background image.


Selecting the duplicate layer in the layer work box (I don’t know what it’s technically called so I’m making things up as I go), click on the drop down menu and scroll to “Soft Light.”


The Soft Light will make the layer more color saturated and provide more contrast.  It lightens and darkens colors depending on the light source.  It’s magical.

PSBlue2 PSBlue3

Side by side we can see how the Soft Light did it’s magical magic thing.  It said “Abracadabra!”


The next step is creating a new layer.  Go back to the “Layer” drop down menu, scroll to “New” and select “Layer.”  And you thought this was hard.  Pshh.


In the work box, select the new layer.  From the drop box, scroll to “Exclusion.”  This is what’s going to make the layer awesome.  Because it, uh, excludes color.  Or something.  I think.

I really have no idea what it does.  But I do know it does awesome.


So now we need our blue hue.  Go back to the “Layers” menu and scroll to “New Fill Layer.”  Select “Solid Color.”  A color box will [should] pop up.  Your image might look weird now but never fear.


In the color box, move the slide to blue and drag your circle marker down to the dark blues.  Like navy.  I love navy blue.  You’ll see your image emerge and now a blue hue has been applied to the layer.  Play around with it to find what you like best.

Try different colors even.  I do this sometimes but always come back to blue.


And here I have it: the cropped image with a vintage blue hue.

I liked the end product but it still felt a little cloudy to me.  So pulled out Curves again and ever so slightly lightened the image once more and I increased the Contrast +2.  And then I was done.

Week 7: Fear

My finished photo.

PSBlue1 Week 7: Fear

To learn more about Brooke and see her recent work, visit her new site at brookemurphyphoto.com. Follow Brooke on Facebook or Twitter.

February 17, 2011 - 10:36 am

Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon - Brooke, Soft Light on a duplicate background layer is one of my standard processing tricks. When you upgrade to PS4 or PS5, there is a curve preset called Linear Contrast that does something similar.

February 17, 2011 - 10:40 am

Brooke - @Wendipants – I don’t see an upgrade in my near future. Or my far future. But as they say, the future is uncertain.

February 17, 2011 - 10:51 am

bro - cool

February 17, 2011 - 11:50 am

Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon - One day grasshopper…one day.

February 17, 2011 - 1:20 pm

Melissa Morse - What a fun read. I like your tips… but even more I like the way you communicate them. Fun, and easy to relate to. Thanks for sharing! And now I can say I learned something new today.

February 18, 2011 - 10:11 am

Kelly (the dSLR newbie) - I noticed and loved the color immediately on this photo, but had no clue it was post-processed. Thanks for sharing your tricks, great tutorial!

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