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Creating an iPhone Effect in Photoshop

Like most of the population I’ve been using my phone a lot to take photographs and there is one particular app that I tend use. I really like some of the looks that this app creates and I wondered if could recreate the look of  my favourite settings in Photoshop, so after some playing around I finally came up with the following recipe which is a fair approximation.


First, crop your image square.  This action likes a square and some photographs can really benefit from this aspect ratio.


Crop it square!


  1. Once cropped square add a Vibrance adjustment layer.  Increase the vibrance to 30


2. Now add a Levels adjustment layer, we want add some punch here so change the black point to 30 and the white point 227, leave the midpoint alone.


3. We need to add a little warmth to the image so add Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Check the colourize box then set the Hue to 33, Saturation to 38 and Lightness to 8.  Now the photograph has taken a nasty sepia look. We can tome this down by reducing the Hue/Saturation layers opacity to around 33%



4. We still need a tad more contrast so add a Curves adjustment layer and set a gentle S curve.



5. Your image will look something like this now



6. The final finishing touch is all we need to do now so create a composite of the all the layers at the top of the layers stack, to do this click shift + alt + cmd E (Mac) or shift + alt + ctrl E (PC)



7. Select the square Marquee tool (M) and a feather of 125px



8. Holding the shift key (to keep the shape sqaure) draw selection in side the photograph.  You need to select a fair chunk of the image, but not too much, because of the feathering.  Once you have your selection press delete to knock out the selection from the top layer.



9. Now got to Filters – Blur – Field Blur (if you don’t have CS6 use Gaussian Blur) and set the Field  Blur to 21. ClickOK and your done.




I’ve created and action for this effect which can be downloaded here, unfortunately it only works with CS6 but to get it to work on earlier versions delete the last step.

About Richard Hales (35 Articles)
Richard’s first foray into was photography was as an apprentice photographer for Oxford University over 20 years ago. From there Richard went on to study photography at University somehow gaining a BA & MA, he still is rather confused how he managed to do this. After University and an unfinished (and un-started) PhD Richard “retired” from photography for a few years to pursue a career in wine and, oddly, scrap metal before returning to photography and setting up a wedding and portrait photography business in Worcestershire. As well as running his photography business Richard is currently working on a bread & jam making book. He is the average height for a Nut.

1 Comment on Creating an iPhone Effect in Photoshop

  1. Carrie // 02/12/2012 at 1:09 pm //

    Thank you for the tutorial and the action!!!!

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