How to Get the 70's Look in Photoshop

Written by steve heap
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How to Get the 70's Look in Photoshop
Photos from the 1970s are often faded and have muted colours. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Photographs taken in the 1970s are now almost 40 years old, and so time has worked its magic on many slides and prints in fading the contrast and introducing subtle colour changes. Many of the images we see now from the '70s are muted, and it is often the reds that fade more than other colours to give a slightly earthy tone. Adobe Photoshop has many tools and filters to enhance or modify digital photographs to recreate the muted and faded colours that typify a 1970s image.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Open the image in Photoshop. Select "Layer," then "Duplicate Layer" and name it "1970."

  2. 2

    Select the "1970" layer and click "Image," then "Adjustments" and "Desaturate" to create a grayscale version of the original. Slide the "Opacity" slider to around 45 per cent to allow the original colour image to show through the layer with a muted effect. Select "Layer," then "Flatten Image" to combine the layers into one image.

  3. 3

    Select "Image," then "Adjustments" and "Channel Mixer" to open the options box. Drag the "Red" slider to 80 per cent, "Green" to +10 per cent and "Blue" to +10 per cent to desaturate the reds in the image. Your image may require slightly different values, but keep the total to around 100 per cent to avoid unusual colour shifts.

Tips and warnings

  • Try the effect on portraits and landscapes to create a different style to the saturated images you see today.
  • Always save your image using "File" and "Save As" to avoid overwriting the original file.

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