Sunday, 26 July 2015

Mini Tutorial "Matte Photos"

If you look around the web these days, matte photos are everywhere. Matte style photos created in programs like Photoshop & Lightroom now mimic the original finishes used by printers & professional photographers for years. You have probably seen many of these type photos effects around lately and there are many tutorials on how to recreate the effect. So what is a matte photo?

Unlike glossy photos that have bright colors and higher contrasts, matte photos have desaturated colors and smoother contrasts. Often they can take on a slightly grainy appearance. In the printing world, matte photos are not glossy and the paper doesn't reflect light.

Let's take a look at the difference.

The left part of the photo is the original; bright and colorful. The right side has a matte effect applied to it. It almost gives it a more vintage feel.

So let's create this effect ourselves! Believe me there are tons of ways to achieve this effect and there are lots of variations in color too. But for today, let's keep it simple and learn the basics.

We will be creating this in Photoshop. Elements users can also easily follow along.

We will start with this photo....

The first thing we need to do is adjust the levels. To do this you want to place an adjustment layer above your photo. Click on the little half white and black circle at the bottom of your layers palette & choose "Levels".

Make these adjustments:

The middle grey slider on top is the "Midtone Slider" move it to the right. The bottom black slider is the Black Output level. Slide it also to the right. Each photo may be different so you may need to experiment a little.  Here's what is should look like:

Next we need to slightly desaturated the color. Again, click on the little half white and black circle at the bottom of your layers palette & this time choose "Hue/Saturation".

 Slide the Saturation slightly to the left. Mine is set at -15, but depending on how bright your colors are, you may need to slide it more.

Next if you want, you can add some "Noise" to your image. Create a new blank layer on top of all of your layers and fill it with white.

Next goto>Filter>Noise A window will pop up.

Tick the monochromatic box and slide your amount to about 195%. Then click on "OK" Change the blending mode of this layer to "Overlay" and reduce the opacity to around 10%. You may need to adjust this depending on your photo, but you want to keep the opacity low.

And here is our result!

You know I had to dress it up a  I stamped some script on it from my Brush Set: Handwriting 8501 and added a "Music" title. (font is Cherish)

I hope you try out this technique next time you are creating a layout. The effect makes great photos to use  as backgrounds, or to journal on.

Have a lovely week my darlins!


  1. Thanks for the tutorial, Brandy! I like the idea of using matte photos as backgrounds or journal spots.