grey film be gone

The lovely thing about digital photography (and I am being facetious here) is that is leaves your images with this ugly grey saran-wrap type film effect.

Although I no longer use photoshop (except to design art and drop images into blog templates), I’d like to pass on a couple of super-simple PS tricks that effectively remove that grey film from your images and leave them looking pretty darn good. The best part? They each take just seconds to do. 

The first one: (be sure to duplicate your background layer first)

Original unedited image on the left. On the right: increased local contrast with unsharp mask. See image notes for settings.

f/5.6 100 ISO 1/30 sec 35mm

The next one is even better at removing that grey film. Be careful not to use too heavy a hand though- you can end up with too much contrast- blown out highlights, overly-dark shadows and uber-saturated unreal colors. 

Duplicate background layer (don’t skip this step- it affects the outcome). In the layer style drop-down box at the top of the layers palette, select hard light. Set the opacity of the dupe layer to somewhere between 19% and 56%. The higher the percent, the stronger the contrast. 

BTW: This is Henri, aka ‘H’. He is a movie star. 

Both similar ways to increase contrast, but in a more sophisticated way than straight levels.

Have fun with it!

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9 thoughts on “grey film be gone

  1. i cant thank you enough for this tip. it has been a life well wrist saver!! its all i use now just one click!! Thank you thank you!!!!! ps i shared this with all my friends and coworkers and they are hooked too. i love your work!

  2. Thank you – a thousand times for this tip. Things are much clearer now!!

    p.s. Love your stuff! And wish I could have made it to your seminar.

  3. sharon, hmmm, I am not sure what to think about the lack of hard light in your layers style. the oldest version of photoshop I have on any of my machines is CS. I am now using CS3, and what I can tell you is it’s worth the upgrade. I think you’ll find the newer versions to be much more user-friendly, have more useful tools and be more fun to use. Glad to hear that the usm trick worked for you though! gotta love fast and easy tricks that work magic. 🙂

  4. I just tried it! I’ve been playing with curves in photoshop to do something similar… your way is much faster though! I posted the results on my blog…
    : )

  5. Hi Jamie,

    I was able to use the first tip, but not the second. For some reason I don’t see/have Hard Light listed under Layer Style. I’m working with Photoshop 7.0 with Image Ready.

    My beach photo looks much richer and defined. Thank you!

  6. GREAT tip, Jamie! I was sorting through my photos from a recent shoot and decided to take a break. I looked at your blog (some of my favorite reading material) and saw your tip. I put it right into use! WOW! I love it – it’s amazing what a difference one little change can make, and it’s so easy! Cool… Thanks so much for sharing it! Jeanne

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