top of page

Learn How To Style A Black & White Vintage Portrait

In this tutorial I will be showing you how to create a vintage-styled black and white portrait. You can use this technique on any poster, invite, or even a book cover! You can also opt not to use a moon as the background and just style the core subject in your image.

Software: Photoshop CS6

Time: 30min

Level: Advanced

Images Used:


Stock Photo – Full moon in the night sky. Image ID : 10754167

Stock Photo - Retro Styled Makeup With Pearls Beautiful Young Woman Portrait

Stock Photo – Retro styled makeup with pearls. Beautiful woman portrait. Image ID: 14193293

Step One – Moon

Create a Color Fill adjustment layer and set it to black. Now, extract a large image of a full moon (photo id: 10754167) from its background and position it accordingly.


Now add an “Outer Glow” layer effect. Set the Blend Mode to “Screen”, the  Opacity to 16%, the color to white, and the size to 18%. Again, size will vary.






Before we do anything else we are going to create two adjustment layers that will make our image black and white. All other layers will be set under these layers.

The first layer is a black to white Gradient Map adjustment layer.  The second is a Color Balance adjustment layer set to -8 red and 17 Blue, and with an opacity of 81%.

Group these two layers together and name it “Black and White”. Remember, keep this group above all other layers.


Extract and position your model (photo id: 14193293) in the middle of your canvas:


Clip a Curves layer into your model and set it to what you see below:



Next, clip a Brightness and Contrast layer above your curves layer and set it to -150 brightness and 100 contrast. Copy the layer mask from the Curves layer to the Brightness and Contrast layer by clicking on the layer mask, holding alt, and then dropping it on the Brightness and Contrast layer. Name both of these layers “shadow”


Step Four – Model Glow

Before we continue with the lighting in our model we are going to create a glow around her.

First, create a new layer under your model, and which a medium soft round brush paint white around the edges of your model.





Now we will be working in our model layer again.

Above your shadow layers, create and clip a new layer. With a medium soft round brush paint white on the edges of the model. Name this layer “Lighting”





Finally, we are going to add a bit of texture by adding some noise.

To add noise without flattening your layers, above all other layer create a new layer and fill it with black. Set the layer to “Screen”. Now go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise and set the Amount to somewhere between 2-5, set it to “Uniform”, and make sure “Monochromatic” is checked.  This is a very subtle affect, but it’s good for adding slight grain and for fixing banding.


#blackandwhite #photoshop #tutorial #vintage

bottom of page