Photoshop tutorial: Apply photo filter effects using gradient maps in Photoshop

The Photographic Toning presets within Photoshop’s Gradient Map adjustment is a great way to apply photo filters to your shots.

Intro


Photoshop is packed full of great features, although some are a little harder to find than others. One really useful hidden gem is the Photographic Toning presets in the Gradient Map adjustment, which offers a range of built in tonal effects inspired by traditional photographic techniques.

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In this Photoshop tutorial, photographer Tigz Rice will show you how to access, apply and tweak these photo filter effects to digitally enhance your work.

Model: Joanna Woodward wearing Agent Provocateur.

Step 1

STEP 1

Open your chosen image in Photoshop and complete any retouching as necessary.

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Tip: You can find lots of free Photoshop retouching tutorials by Tigz Rice here.


Step 2

STEP 2

Go to the Adjustment panel and choose Add New Gradient Map, which can be found on the bottom row.

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If the panel isn't already open, you can find it by going to Window > Adjustments.

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Step 3

STEP 3

Clicking on Gradient Map will automatically apply a gradient to your image, most likely a black to white or foreground to background gradient.

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Step 4

STEP 4

By clicking on the drop-down gradient menu next to the gradient bar, you'll also see you have access to rest of the default Photoshop gradients, as well as any other gradients you've saved yourself.

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Step 5

STEP 5

To access additional gradients, click on the cog wheel in the Gradient Map preferences box and scroll down to Photographic Toning.

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Choose Append to add these to your default gradients rather than replacing them.

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Step 6

STEP 6

In the newly appended gradients you'll find a variety of new effects to apply to your images, starting with a range of one colour effects perfect for replicating sepia or cyanotype tones.

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They will be quite strong to begin with, but we’ll dial these down in a minute.


Step 7

STEP 7

Further down in the list of gradients, you'll also find split tones – providing complimentary colour schemes to apply to your images. Here I’ve chosen a Sepia Selenium mix to add warmth and contrast to the original image.

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Step 8

STEP 8

As with all gradients, gradient maps are completely editable. To edit a gradient, click on the coloured band in the gradient map box.

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This will bring up the Gradient Editor window. Here you can change everything from the colours of the gradient to the blending preferences.

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Step 9

STEP 9

Finally, head down into the Layers panel and use the Opacity slider to control the strength of the new toning. Here, I’ve knocked the toning back to 40%.

See also: 86 Best Photoshop tutorials