In this tutorial we’ll walk through the process of creating a nice faded effect in Lightroom, and we’ll show the exact settings that you can use to get the same effect. And if you want to save some time you can also download this free preset that will apply the settings for you. The settings used here and the free preset are from our set of Fabulous Fades Lightroom Presets, which includes a total of 20 presets.
We’ll be working with the sample photo shown below, and if you want to follow along with the same photo you can download it for free at Pixabay.
And here is a preview of the effect that we will be creating:
To get started go to the Basic section in Lightroom’s Develop Module and adjust the exposure to +0.48 and the contrast to +60. All of the settings used in the tutorial could vary a little depending on the photo that you are working with, but especially exposure. So if you are not using the sample photo you’ll want to adjust exposure to lighten the photo a little to create the faded look.
We won’t touch the highlights, shadows, whites, or blacks for this effect, but in the “presence” section apply the following settings:
- Clarity +15
- Vibrance -10
- Saturation -10
Next, we’ll work on the tone curve, which is an important part of the look that we are working towards. Apply a curve like the one shown below:
With the tone curve we’re basically lightening the dark areas and darkening the light areas.
Now we’ll move on to split toning and use these settings:
- Highlights hue: 80
- Highlights saturation: 10
- Balance: -50
- Shadows hue: 80
- Shadows saturation: 5
The split toning is pretty subtle since the saturation is so low, but it adds a bit of an earth tone.
And the last step is to go to the sharpening settings and apply an amount of 40.
And here is the end result: