Tutorial: My Favorite grunge processing

Grunge photos are more artistic photos which directly attack your mind. And  they make you hate them. They get printed in your mind and scare you during nights or when you are alone or  when you are in bathroom!    Recent Hollywood movies like The Ring series or The Grudge series are fine examples of this art. If you use the similar grunge effects in photography they can be very powerful, moody and expressive!

Some photos you take in your life are not-so-interesting, no color, bad exposures etc and you will simply delete that photo without any hesitation. I say STOP DOING THAT. You can make them interesting and eye-catching and of course sometime mind-blowing grunge pictures!

a lovely cute cat!

Check this picture out. It’s a happy family collection  photo. I can point out number of bad things about this photo no attractive color, not a good composition, bad crop etc. It’s just another good cat photo ! BUT  I played with tones and some burning and dodging  and then …. You can see how powerful it has become!

the evil cat, look at those eyes!!

There are other tricks to improve this by some texturing in Adobe photoshop CS5  but  my usage is limited to Lightroom I will stick to lightroom only. I would suggest texturing techniques if you are very serious and love this type of art ( check the links for some more tutorials)

Here is how to do it!

Keep these settings in Lightroom (click on it to view it large).


Leave your email id in the comments section  or email me at dmhmaneer@gmail.com. I will email you  my preset.

Apply this preset and then play with the image by brightening or darkening the selected areas. Then you can see the difference!

Some Tips:

You may want to add some grain to it.

You can improve sharpening of the image

You can also play with the tinting to get the right punch in the image.

Move sliders of the shadow under curves to get the image you want.

Important note:

1)      Shoot for grunge photos rather adding the effect later ( I know I am contradicting my own  words which I said before. !)

2)      Do not use the grunge effect on your friends or any other image which might hurt their feelings

I was trying hands on some food photography and this one is the one of the first few. But when I applied the grunge effect in LR I was just amazed . It turned that such a delicious dish made by my wife in to a vampire’s food  or something like that which will make  you stop thinking for a moment ! That’s the theory part. But when my wife saw this,  that was the end of photography in my kitchen. Now she will not let me inside the kitchen with camera in hand!

monster's dish

3)      Come with new ideas, grab your 50 mm lens, shoot those ideas and then turn the image in to a monster.

4)      Show it your friends (girlfriends are easy targets!)  And scare them off! The more they hate or get scared the more powerful are your photos! If they say “eeeaahyy! I don’t like it” then you are already there!

Very very serious note:

Don’t ever think with this preset/effect  photography made easy. Don’t ever think that with this preset /effect in hand  you can take any exposure and any composition. A perfectly shot photo can always make a top grunge shot.

Some grunge photos from the world


some more tutorials


Some of my top grunge photos that I shot for grunge and then added the grunge effect

the two hands!
The two legs



the dog on the hill



10 thoughts on “Tutorial: My Favorite grunge processing

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