Forums Forums Get Technical In the darkroom Desaturated?

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    I like the style of photo that you might find in an Anthropologie catalog or the type that’s been coming back recently – the faded, very bright, outdoorsy portraits of people. Is this a simple desaturation? An example photo:

    Or the color photos in this site:

    I’m trying to figure it out but don’t know exactly where to start….


    Looks like they were going for hi-key, slightly desaturated processing. I think it would also help to be outside within an hour either way of sunrise or sunset.


    First off, they’re high key exposures, the overexposure tends to wash out the contrast- it works better with a limited palette of subject colors, imo. There might be a touch of desaturation in Photoshop, but I’m not too sure about that, having seen this done many times with film.


    Shooting in High Key is more about lights than anything else. This site has a basic guide to setting up a HK light set:

    You can make the effect with standard lighting and tweaking the exposure but you tend to lose a lot of detail. The style makes for some lovely portrait work but is time and money intensive.


    over exposing by 1/2 stop and cross-processing slide film in c-41 chemistry will get you there.

    Otherwise, doing it “properly” through pure digital means takes several steps (of which there are infinite possible combinations each with its own quirks and charms). If you google for “cross-processed effect in [insert your editor here]” or “expired film effect…..” You’ll find dozens of tutorials.


    Thanks for the help, amigos!

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