Crushing blacks is a popular trend in Photoshop for achieving a more film-like matte effect that pairs well with vintage styling. It won't work with every image, but if it's a look you are after, photographer Mathieu Stern has put together a video suggesting three ways you can go about achieving and customizing the effect. In this article I will add on one more quick method in addition to the video which will give you plenty of options to play around with this effect and see which method works best with your workflow.
Mathieu Stern covers the following methods for achieving this effect in the video:
- Using curves layers
- Using a solid color layer
- Using a selective color layer
I would like to personally add on one more method that you can use which is quick and dirty for achieving the same look. It is by using the Levels Adjustment tool in Photoshop. Here is how:
Open up your image in Photoshop and fire up the levels adjustment window from your adjustment layers tab.
Next you will want to pull the bottom slider inwards from the left to the right thereby reducing the range of tones in that area. Also known as "crushing the blacks." Adjust to taste by pulling the slider various amounts.
What is your preferred method for achieving this look?