One of the most useful types of effects that you can create in Photoshop is the matte effect. Matte effects are highly versatile and will look great with a large selection of photos, and they are also pretty easy to accomplish.

Here we’ll go through the process of creating a matte effect from scratch. The effect we’ll be creating is the same as the one used in our “Strong Matte” action that is a part of our set of Matte Photoshop Actions. Of course, you can follow along with this tutorial to apply the effect to your own photos, or simply use the action if you’d like to save a little time.

Here is the before version of the sample photo that we’ll be using:

How to Create a Beautiful Matte Effect in Photoshop

And here is the after version:

How to Create a Beautiful Matte Effect in Photoshop

It’s a fairly subtle effect, but it can still have a nice impact on your photos. Let’s get started.

First, add a curves adjustment layer. Apply an RGB curve similar to the one shown below. This will be the base of the matte effect.

How to Create a Beautiful Matte Effect in Photoshop

Depending on your particular photo you may want to raise the left end (blacks) a little more or less, which will impact the strength of the effect. Raise it higher for a stronger matte effect, and lower for a softer matte effect.

Next, add a brightness/contrast adjustment layer and set the contrast to 12.

How to Create a Beautiful Matte Effect in Photoshop

The last step is to add a hue/saturation adjustment layer and set the saturation to -5.

How to Create a Beautiful Matte Effect in Photoshop

And now we have the final matte effect.

How to Create a Beautiful Matte Effect in Photoshop

If you like this effect please check out our set of 25 Matte Photoshop Actions, which will help you to quickly and easily create a variety of different matte effects that you can use on your own photos.