Kelly – Washed-out

August 6, 2010

I get asked a lot how I get that light, washed-out look on some of my photos. It is a simple one step process (ok maybe 2 steps). It’s not always how easy or hard the technique is, but it is knowing when to apply them.

Texture by Jessica Drossin
Strobist: ab1600 in large octabox camera right

Step 1: Open photo

Step 2: Creative a new layer and fill it with white

Step 3:Pull back opacity until desired effect is reached! I tend to go subtle (around 2-3%).

Here are a couple other shots which I used this technique:

Natural Light

Land Camera

  • mohan37

    Wow…Real Simple uses that effect like crazy. Lot of mags, probably. I love it and was never even conscious of it before. I guess that's the sign of a well-applied technique.

  • smudgechris

    What an unbelievably simple adjustment that makes such a massive difference. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jeff Chin

    Great tutorial Ed. I think it's awesome how you share the techniques behind your amazing images. Thanks for spreading the knowledge!

  • Iggy Belan

    Awsome mate!
    CAn I suggest one topic for your blog?
    How do you get those blue sky with some real great white clouds? That'd be interesting.

    Thanks for sharing,

  • isayx3

    that's a good one..thanks for the idea

  • fran velasco

    great. i used this in my last picture. but i never had used a white layer.
    did you change the colour of the layer in the last two ones?

  • Gabriela Koopmans

    love your blog!! thx for posting stuff :)

  • Martin Turner

    Never even thought about doing this before. Simple yet effective. Thanks.

  • Guille

    Thanks Ed! This is the kind of tips I was waiting for. I never thought of that.

  • tsy87

    awesome…. I really enjoy looking at your pictures…. and now we're slowly figuring out how you get your effects!! awesome!

  • Sara

    Sometimes it's the simple adjustments that just make the photo. =]

  • Mstee4eva

    Lol, Very cool effect, Ed your the Bestes, lol ,';o]…

  • Lawrencechua

    perfect! thanks!

  • Tommyatkins5

    Wow, that was really simple! I tried to recreate this effect by adjusting exposure, using different textures, blah, blah blah… who knew it was this simple… đŸ˜›

  • stphn

    Do you ever use a non-white layer? (maybe like here?

  • isayx3

    Yes i have..not on that image though.

  • sofia

    Thanks for sharing Ed. Have to try this.

  • dbet

    Thanks for sharing Ed.

  • Eric Wideman

    this is sweet!! great one….

  • Chiat Hau Lee

    I would like to suggest another topic for the blog Ed. :”)

    How do you get some of the color tones (I am not sure if it is the lomo feel? or purplish feel in it) Could we have a small tutorial on that as well. I just love those color tones. (like the color tones that we have for one of the photos above – 'LAND CAMERA')

    Thanks Ed. Very great blog in deed. :”)

  • Gabe McCurdy

    Thanks for sharing that technique, Ed!! I really appreciate when great photographers share what they know.

  • Luis Villegas

    Oh man!! I had been dreaming on getting this kind of look and never thought it would be such a simple process. I know the art is on finding out when to apply. Thank you so much

  • Joe

    I'll try this tonight with my pictures :-)

  • Sean Kelly

    What a great / simple process! Thanks so much for the tips / techniques here on your blog! Very much appreciated!

  • edita

    How do you get your colors so right? They never seem to come out like that for me!

  • Fpenir

    Thanks for the tips! I love your work – you're the reason I bought my Canon 35mm f/2.0 L!!

    Frankie Pantalon @Flickr

  • Jed Grant

    Hey Ed, just a quick note, you can also do this with curves (photoshop) by taking either end of the curve line and dragging the bottom left upward and the top right point downward (not it at all). Bottom left washes out the black and top right will dampen the whites. Same effect done with an adjustment layer.