5 Steps to Creating Soft and Faded Black and White Photos

 Have you seen those black and white images with coloring that is soft and faded?
Ever wondered how you too can achieve that look?
I’m here so show you how!
It’s really quite simple.
Let’s get started!
This is the image I started with:

Step 1

Convert the photo to Black and White
There are many ways to achieve that in Photoshop, but my favorite is a FREE action from Pioneer Woman called B&W Beauty. You can download it here.
Run the action,  open the containment folder and get rid of the ‘Bump’ layer.
(‘Bump’ essentially sharpens your image, and we don’t want that.)


Step 2
Flatten the photo and add soft white layer
(Right click on background layer, and select ‘Flatten Image’. When/if prompted to discard hidden layers, select ‘yes’.)

Add new white layer (with foreground selected) and adjust opacity to your preference. I used a very low opacity, less than 20%.
Step 3
Add haze with Exposure
Select the ‘Fill or Adjustment Layer’ menu and click ‘Exposure’.
Using the bars adjust the ‘Offset’ and ‘Gamma Correction’ to desired amount.
(Remember to have ‘Preview’ selected.)
Step 4  
Add more subtle haze with Levels
Using the same process as above, adjust the ‘Exposure’ bars.
Step 5
Add depth
After steps 3 & 4 some important shadows can be lost, making the photo look flat.
Using a black brush, paint away some of the Levels and/or Exposure reviving some of those shadows.
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