Tintype effect in Photoshop

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Let’s recreate a tintype photograph in Photoshop. This effect works best on portraits, as I have discovered myself. Tintype photography saw it’s peak between the 1860s and 1870s and a lesser use in the 20th century. Today it’s a novelty and fine art form. I’m using Photoshop CC 2019. Remember to use adjustment layers so your photo stays in tact and can be replaced by another photo.

Step 1: Adjustment layers: Gradient map.

The colors for the gradient map are: 1f1c17 to a49e91

Step 2: Curves adjustment layer.

Add a new adjustment layer for curves under the gradient map. This is so that only the photo changes. The values are different for each photo. Make sure that you increase the contrast and make it darker overall.

Step 3: Add texture.

For this I’m using a old paper texture. Put the texture under the adjustment layers and above the photo. Set the blend mode to Soft light. This will lighter the photo and give it a nice texture.

Step 4: Finishing touches.

The photo is looking pretty good so far. Now let us bring back some contrast. Create a new layer and set it to Soft light for blend mode and fill it with a 50% grey. Now you can paint with black and white on this layer. White will lighten and black will darken.