September 15, 2010


How to make Photographs Vintage in GIMP

Vintage style is sometimes desired to achieve a certain mood and aesthetic for a photograph. In this Gimp tutorial I’ll show you how to make your photographs Vintage in a few short easy steps.

Vintage Photograph in GIMP

Vintage Photograph in GIMP

1. Gradient Map

  • Open your image in Gimp!
  • Duplicate your ‘Background‘ Layer, call it ‘Gradient‘(Right Click > Edit Layer Attributes):
  • Make FG: ff7c00
  • Make BG: 290a59
  • Now on your duplicated layer ‘Gradient’, go Colors –> Map –> Gradient Map:
  • And set layer ‘Gradient‘ to Mode: Overlay
Gradient Map Overlay

Gradient Map Overlay

2. Channel Mixer

  • Duplicate ‘Background’ layer, call it ‘Channel Mixer’:
  • Drag to top of layers and set Mode: Multiply
  • To make your colours more saturated go Channel Mixer: Colors –> Components –> Channel Mixer:
  • As shown, on the Red Channel: Move the Green slider right and the Blue slider left, experiment a little as it will vary for each photograph(similar to as shown):
Channel Mixer: Red Channel

Red Channel

  • Green Channel: Move the Green slider right (similar to as shown):
Green Channel

Green Channel

  • Blue Channel: Red slider right, Green slider right, Blue slider left (similar to as shown):
Blue Channel

Blue Channel

3. Color Balance

  • Duplicate ‘Background’ layer, call it ‘Color Balance’:
  • Drag to top of layers and set Mode: Overlay
  • To get that purple tinge go, Colors –> Color Balance:
  • Select Shadows:
  • Increase the Red: ~ 75
  • Decrease the Green: ~ -15
  • Decrease the Blue: ~ -5
  • Note: Results may vary for different photographs!


  • Select Midtones:
  • Decrease the Red: ~ -100
  • Increase the Green: ~ 54
  • Decrease the Blue: ~ -35


  • Select Highlights:
  • Decrease the Red: ~ -45
  • Decrease the Green: ~ -10
  • Increase the Blue: ~ 35


4½. Merge Visible + Levels

  • Once you have finished your layer adjustments, uncheck the ‘eye’ on ‘Background’ layer or Delete it:
  • Then, on any layer: *Right Click* > Merge Visible Layers… (Expand as Necessary):
  • If you photograph has become too dark, then Adjust the Levels: Color –> Levels:
  • Move the centre slider towards the left:


That’s It! Here is the Before/After:

Before/After Vintage Effect

Before/After Vintage Effect

If you get stuck anywhere just comment below!

If you’d like to use these photographs please Contact Me!

Please comment below if you have any questions and I’ll answer them ASAP!

All images on this site are copyrighted© – All Rights Reserved.

Written by Mike

Michael Scott is the publisher and photographer behind Scott Photographics! He is very passionate about his photography and enjoys sharing the best of his experiences for others to enjoy too! Contact Mike via email!
Read more from Featured, Gimp, Tutorials
17 Comments Post a comment
  1. A Bezegh
    Mar 19 2018

    I learned a lot. I’ve seen such GIMP parts I’ve never tried before. Thanks!

  2. hadush abreha
    Oct 17 2016

    it learns me very nices Thank u.

  3. Meep
    Feb 10 2016

    This tutorial is the first one I’ve acutely been able to do(as sad as that sounds. I normally have to download brushes or other kits and i loved that i didn’t have to do that for this one. I also have a lot of trouble with following the instruction on other tutorials. This on though is really well done, clear and easy to follow.

    Than you so much. I only came to this website because our teacher made us. We are learning how to use gimp and he thought it would be a goof idea to test out knowledge like this. We also have to present it and I being a procrastinator waited till that last minute.

    Again thank you.

  4. Dec 7 2013

    Thank you for the feedback Christine, and yes you are correct in saying it does not work for every image, and its great that you have used this tutorial more as a reference point rather than a strict procedure.

    By the way, I checked out your photographs and they’re very well presented and refined, keep it up!

  5. Dec 5 2013

    Thank you so much for your tutorials; you are a godsend. They have helped me immensely in my understanding of how to manipulate image levels and how to manually adjust color and saturation. By the way, not sure if it is because of my particular photo I was practicing on, but by just adding the gradient level as an overlay (step 1) I was successfully able to make have the proper vintage effect. For some reason when I did all the other steps, the colors were so darkened and over saturated that I could not even properly adjust them in Color Levels. Regardless, I’m just grateful that I’m getting a better handle on this whole thing. Thanks again :)

  6. gowri
    Oct 28 2012

    Thanks for the tutorial..:) Learnt a lot…

  7. Apr 23 2012

    I guess that something went wrong with my image :S But i loved the way that you explain everything… Thank you :)

  8. Dec 26 2011

    awesome tutorial. :)

  9. Dec 5 2011

    Hi Sanne,

    When you click on the Colours in the sidebar Toolbox area, and there will be a small type box called “HTML notation:” that’s where you put the code!

    Or, go Windows –> Dockable Dialogs –> Colors

    Need any other help just comment or email



  10. Sanne
    Dec 5 2011

    Love the tutorials! I’m totally new to this and wondering where to go to change the FG and BG numbers?

  11. Aug 7 2011

    Excellent work, thanks for sharing Elizabeth!

  12. Aug 6 2011

    I tried your vintage and LOMO effects. I really like it and am satisfied! Visit my site for the “products”. Thanks a lot for tutorials!

  13. Feb 4 2011

    Hi! I just love your tutorial! Congratulations!
    I`we just opened a tutorials indexing website and I would like to ask you to submit

    your tutorials, it will bring you some extra traffic
    Please give a chance for my website:


  14. Sep 16 2010

    Yes, but I have never had much success with that.

  15. Sam Albuquerque
    Sep 16 2010

    can this be script-fu’ed?

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Best of GIMP: 40 Professional Tutorials to Level Up your Skills | The JotForm Blog
  2. 40+ Best GIMP Tutorials of 2010 | Scott Photographics | Free Photography, GIMP & Photoshop Tutorials

Share your thoughts, post a comment.


Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments

37 queries 0.585secs