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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Photo Effects

How to Create Instagram Photo Filters in Photoshop

by
Difficulty:IntermediateLength:ShortLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create three amazing Photoshop portrait effects by creating Instagram photo filters. I will explain everything in so much detail that everyone can create them, even those who have just opened Photoshop for the first time. 

The effects shown above are the ones I will show you how to create in this tutorial. If you would like to create the Instagram-inspired photo effect shown below, then check out Instagram Filter - Photoshop Action.

Action final result

What You'll Need

To recreate the design above, you will need the following resources:

1. Let's Get Started

First, open the photo that you want to work with. To open your photo, go to File > Open, choose your photo, and click Open. Now, before we get started, just check a couple of things:

  1. Your photo should be in RGB Color mode, 8 Bits/Channel. To check this, go to Image > Mode.
  2. For best results, your photo size should be 2000–4000 px wide/high. To check this, go to Image > Image Size.
  3. Your photo should be the Background layer. If it is not, go to Layer > New > Background from Layer.
Checking image size and mode

2. How to Create a Nashville-Inspired Instagram Photo Filter

Step 1

In this section, we are going to create a Nashville-inspired Instagram photo filter. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels to create a new levels adjustment layer and name it F_1_Levels.

Creating new levels adjustment layer

Step 2

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, enter the settings below:

Adjusting levels

Step 3

Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color to create a new solid color fill layer, name it F_1_Color_Fill, and choose the color #edd593 as shown below:

Creating new solid color fill layer

Step 4

Now change the Blending Mode of this layer to Multiply.

Changing blending mode

Step 5

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast to create a new brightness/contrast adjustment layer and name it F_1_Brightness/Contrast.

Creating new brightness and contrast adjustment layer

Step 6

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, set the Brightness to 19 and Contrast to 29.

Adjusting brightness and contrast

Step 7

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves to create a new curves adjustment layer and name it F_1_Curves.

Creating new curves adjustment layer

Step 8

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, enter the settings below:

Adjusting curves

Step 9

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Vibrance to create a new vibrance adjustment layer and name it F_1_Vibrance.

Creating new vibrance adjustment layer

Step 10

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, set the Vibrance to +26.

Adjusting vibrance

Step 11

Shift-click on the F_1_Levels layer to select all layers between at the same time. Then, go to Layer > New > Group from Layers to create a new group from the selected layers, and name it Filter_1.

Creating new group from layers

Step 12

Here is the final result for our first filter:

Filter_1 final result

3. How to Create a Poprocket-Inspired Instagram Photo Filter

Step 1

In this section, we are going to create a Poprocket-inspired Instagram photo filter. Hide the Filter_1 group and select the Background layer. Then, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels to create a new levels adjustment layer and name it F_2_Levels.

Creating new levels adjustment layer

Step 2

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, enter the settings below:

Adjusting levels

Step 3

Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Gradient to create a new gradient fill layer, name it F_2_Gradient_Fill, and enter the settings below:

Creating new gradient fill layer
The left color stop has color 00275d, and the right color stop has color e05a00.

Step 4

Now change the Blending Mode of this layer Lighten.

Changing blending mode

Step 5

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves to create a new curves adjustment layer and name it F_2_Curves.

Creating new curves adjustment layer

Step 6

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, enter the settings below:

Adjusting curves

Step 7

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Vibrance to create a new vibrance adjustment layer and name it F_2_Vibrance.

Creating new vibrance adjustment layer

Step 8

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, set the Vibrance to +46.

Adjusting vibrance

Step 9

Shift-click on the F_2_Levels layer to select all layers between at the same time. Then, go to Layer > New > Group from Layers to create a new group from the selected layers, and name it Filter_2.

Creating new group from layers

Step 10

Here is the final result for our second filter:

Filter_2 final result

4. How to Create a Gotham-Inspired Instagram Photo Filter

Step 1

In this section, we are going to create a Gotham-inspired Instagram photo filter. Hide the Filter_2 group and select the Background layer. Then, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Black & White to create a new black and white adjustment layer and name it F_3_Black_&_White.

Creating new black and white adjustment layer

Step 2

Now change the Blending Mode of this layer to Color and set the Opacity to 80%.

Changing blending mode and opacity

Step 3

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map to create a gradient map adjustment layer and name it F_3_Gradient_Map.

Creating new gradient map adjustment layer

Step 4

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail, and then in the Properties panel, click on the gradient to open up the Gradient Editor panel and enter the settings below:

Adjusting gradient map
The left color stop has color 001e24, and the right color stop has color ebeaa1.

Step 5

Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Soft Light.

Changing blending mode

Step 6

Now go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels to create a new levels adjustment layer and name it F_3_Levels.

Creating new levels adjustment layer

Step 7

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, enter the settings below:

Adjusting levels

Step 8

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast to create a new brightness/contrast adjustment layer and name it F_3_Brightness/Contrast.

Creating new brightness and contrast adjustment layer

Step 9

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, set the Contrast to 30.

Adjusting contrast

Step 10

Now press Control-Alt-Shift-E on your keyboard to make a screenshot, and then press Control-Shift-U to desaturate this layer. Then, go to Filter > Other > High Pass and set the Radius to 10 px.

Adding high pass filter

Step 11

Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Hard Light and name it Subject Sharpening.

Changing blending mode

Step 12

Now Shift-click on the F_3_Black_&_White layer to select all layers between at the same time. Then, go to Layer > New > Group from Layers to create a new group from the selected layers, and name it Filter_3.

Creating new group from layers

Step 13

Here is the final result for our third filter:

Filter_3 final result

You Made It!

Congratulations, you have succeeded! You can now show/hide different filter folders to achieve different effects. Here are our final results:

Final results

If you would like to create the Instagram inspired photo effect shown below, then check out Instagram Filter - Photoshop Action.

Action final result

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