Can anyone give me an idea of the filter used on this image:


What I have tried

1) Add a black layer above my image and set the opacity to 60% - this darkens the image.

2) On the image itself: adjustments > Gradient Map > Foreground to background (reversed) for colours #ffffff to #a3261a.

I have Photoshop CS3 and i'm looking to copy this effect but don't know how. I'm a developer, not a designer, so not realy sure what tutorial to google for :)


  • Hi Scott, have you tried anything on your own? What makes you think this is a "filter" of some sort? All I see is a darkened photograph.
    – Ryan
    Apr 1, 2016 at 15:29
  • it says i cant comment as i dont have "50 reputation"... I have tried 2 things 1) add a black layer above my image and set the opacity to 60% - this darkens the image 2) on the image itself: adjustments > Gradient Map > Foreground to background (reversed) for colours #ffffff to #a3261a
    – Scott
    Apr 1, 2016 at 15:37
  • Have you tried playing with the Levels? The darkened bright areas (sky, highlights) and the high contrast feel suggest that Levels might do the trick.
    – cockypup
    Apr 1, 2016 at 15:42
  • Also, if you show the original image and what you get when you try your own methods, it would be better to suggest alternatives.
    – cockypup
    Apr 1, 2016 at 15:43
  • The image above is modified from an already processed image. You can see an example here http://img.freepik.com/free-photo/chained-bicycle_430-19315495.jpg?size=338&ext=jpg. To get the above effect from the original edited photo you just add a black layer above it and make it ~40%. If you're asking how to get the old-desaturated photo effect, then you should reword your question.
    – AndrewH
    Apr 1, 2016 at 16:27

5 Answers 5


Having found the "original" of this image, I placed it below your example...

enter image description here

By adding a black layer over top (as you did) and reducing its opacity to 50% as well as increasing the master saturation of the original image by 10%, I was able to achieve a nearly pixel-perfect duplicate.

enter image description here


In design, there isn't one single way to achieve whatever outcome it is you're looking at. However, some methods are more effective than others. To get the above effect, try these steps:

  1. Use Ctrl+J to duplicate the image layer
  2. Click on the top layer and change the blend mode to either Multiply or Overlay
  3. Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels
  4. Adjust the middle node (sliding right makes darker image, sliding left makes lighter image) till you get your desired outcome.

Instead of using a black layer try picking up a darker tone from the image and try various opacity percentage. You should reach close to the look you are seeking.


Add "Darken" blend mode to that layer, it will help you make light areas darker. Play with transparency when you apply this to tweak intensity.


Just an additional advice to all the others; Alot say 'play with Gradient' etc. I also suggest you try and "play" alittle with the hue/saturation - especially the 'hue' in your case. You'll be amazed at how many different things you can do with changing these scales :)

  • Welcome to GDSE. Can you expand your answer to explain how hue and saturation would create the effect? If you want to know more about the site, please see the help center. Keep contributing and enjoy the site!
    – Luciano
    Apr 4, 2016 at 13:16
  • Well Saturation might not do that much except make the blackness more visible. But by changing the Hue curve you can darken the image for sure. Apr 7, 2016 at 17:15

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.