Mobile apps that lend a vintage styling to photos and videos have been in vogue, emulating the recent craze for simple film cameras from the likes of Lomography ( Among these apps are the all-conquering Hipstamatic and Plastic Bullet Camera – the latter based on colour-correction technology developed for Red Giant’s Hollywood-quality video and Photoshop plug-ins. Both have won favour with designers and hipsters from Shoreditch to Sunderland.

In this tutorial, Fabio Sasso will show you how you can create retro lighting effects in Photoshop without resorting to plug-ins – and with a degree of control that means you get the look you want without the trial-and-error aspect of the iPhone apps. And when you work with high-res photos and Photoshop’s toolset, the results are far superior, too.

Step 1 To start off we will need an image that evokes the era we’re attempting to emulate: a photo that’s been stuck to the wall of a VW Camper ever since it trundled out of the first Glastonbury Festival packed with hippies hallucinating the arrival of UFOs. I’ve chosen one with a suitably retro look that also includes a hint of creative stylishness. You can download this image from Shutterstock at

Step 2 Start by giving the photo a faded, bleached look. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves and alter the RGB, red and blue curves roughly as shown. The result should look like what appears above.