How to Achieve Washed Out Color In Photos

One of the more popular styles of photography right now, especially in portrait and wedding photography is the washed out, vintage effect. They almost look like they were shot with film, but we all know that isn’t true… for the most part. This is just a common style of shooting right now, so you can definitely incorporate the washed out effect into your arsenal of shooting strategies.

How to Achieve Washed Out Color in Photos


The basic thing you need to pay attention to in the editing process is the saturation. When you bring a photograph into your editing software, whatever it may be, just pay attention to the saturation that is in your photograph. The more saturation that you have, the less washed the photo will look. Digital cameras are tremendous at gathering tons of color data, so it’s basically up to you to try to bring that color down.


Decreasing the amount of saturation in the photos will allow you to wash out colors in photos and create the vintage effect that’s so popular right now. Personally, I think washed colors look great in portraits and weddings. However, I’m always careful not to eliminate too much color.


If you run into a situation where you want to eliminate just one color’s saturation, it might be best for you to have Lightroom CC or Camera RAW with Photoshop. Those programs will allow you to wash out individual colors and keep others, but to keep the washed out effect consistent throughout the photograph, you can just use the saturation editor.


Some issues you may run into as you’re going through your photographs in your editing software is that it seems like the more color you wash out in post processing, the more the tint of the photograph changes to green. So, you might want to play around the the tint and temperature of each photo before you finalize it. Everything else is up to you!