I’ve been seeing this look around for a while now, particularly in children’s photography. It’s characterized by a matte, hazy low contrast look but with bright colours.
There are a few ways to create this look.
How to create the Matte Look
- The first is quick and easy with one simple curves adjustment. Tip up at the lowest point. It will flatten the image slightly and reduce contrast.
You can use the vibrance tool to increase the colour. Saturation will just raise the contrast and create unnatural skin tones and colours.
- Another way to do it is with a tiny level adjustment:
Slide the sliders towards the middle. Blacks become grayer and the image is flattened.
- Another way is through Selective Colour.
Set it as follows:
Neutrals: Black +20
I used the burn tool to darken areas and add emphasis. I used it at 0% hardness and 50% exposure.
Some wonderful examples here: (Click images to go to original)