How to make vintage travel posters out of a photo in photoshop

There are lots of times when you might have struggled getting the perfect poster for your purposes. The hardest ones are to get vintage travel posters. You can barely find any that might satisfy you with your needs. Then you are left with two options either you create a travel poster with some vintage vibe from scratch. Or you can just use a photo of a location and turn it into a vintage poster. 

Here we will be discussing how you can make a vintage travel poster out of a photo. We will go through this using Adobe Photoshop. Because let’s face it, when it comes to editing photos there is no better software then Adobe Photoshop. 

Let’s get started then. 

Making a vintage travel poster using a photo

To get started with the process you will obviously need a picture of a location. Make sure to get a good picture that can illustrate the essence of the place. Then open up Adobe Photoshop and load the picture. The editing part starts from here on- 

  • Firstly, you will need to do some basic image retouching. This is something every picture need.  This involves adjusting the exposure or brightness and contrast. Maybe pop up some colors to get the tonal range going on. 
  • After some basic changes you will need to fix the size of your poster. That depends on your needs and what size you want. If you want to print your posters later on then you should keep the resolution to 300. For the height and width, it comes down to your own personal preferences. But make sure to keep some spacing for the texts. 
  • Now, make a copy of your original image or you can convert the image into a smart object. If you are new to photoshop then we suggest copying the image. This will create a new layer where you will be doing all the editing. 
  • Select the new layer and on the top bar you will see an option called filter. Click on that option. From there go to filter gallery. Here you will select the cutout filter under artistic tab. This is the filter that will turn your image into a vintage poster. Once you click on cutout you will see some options on the right. You can tweak these settings to see what works the best for your case. Then press ok.
  • You can skip this step if your picture doesn’t have a sky on the background. But if there is a sky then you should replace that with a smoother gradient. To do that simply select the magic wand tool and select the sky. If some areas get left out you can select them while holding shift and clicking on the missed-out spots. 
  • After you have selected the sky open the gradient tool to draw a gradient of the sky. Choose the linear gradient option and open the gradient editor. Then you have to make a gradient of the sky depending on the color it has. On the bottom left corner choose the color that is most intense in the image. You can use the dropper tool to select the color area. If you want to make changes in the color you can do that as well. For the bottom right part of the gradient editor choose the lightest color in the sky. Then click ok and that closes the gradient editor. 
  • To draw the gradient into the poster you have to get on the top part of the sky. Then click and drag a line while holding the shift button. Make sure to drag the line to just the height the of sky. You can do that to any other elements besides the sky too. 
  • Now, it’s time to add some text. If you are going for a vintage travel poster then it’s better to use some retro fonts. Make sure the fonts can match the vibe of the image you edited. Then type your required texts in an empty area in the image. Try choosing font colors that work with the color palette of your image as well. Position the text accordingly. 
  • After that, you can go through some editing on the texts as well. Click on the text layer on the layer panel. This opens up the customization option for your text. From there you can make some changes like adding shadow, adding strokes, reflections and etc. This is the place you can go all creative and make a difference. Try doing things that enhance the look of the poster. 
  • Once you are done editing click ok. If you have to add more text then simply follow the previous steps. And if you have to add texts over the image you can do that too. That might need some additional adjustments to make the texts much more visible. You can do those using the pen tool. Just select the area behind the text and fill it with a contrasting color that also goes well with the image itself. 
  • Finally, you have to finish it off with a border on the outside. Remember to use a outside border because an inside border can cut off important elements of the image. 
  • To create a border on the outside simply go to image on the top options. There you will see another option saying canvas size. Once you click on that a window will appear with two settings. One indicates the current size of your image. For a border you simply need to increase the width and height by half inches. Then choose the canvas extension color as white. Click on ok. And that’s it. You are done. 

This is the easiest way to create a vintage travel poster using an original photograph in photoshop. 


Well, now you know how to make a vintage travel poster using a photo. We tried to keep things simple so that everyone can do it on their own. The process is pretty easy to do. And once you master all this you can go further and be more creative with it. Hope this helps you creating your own vintage travel poster.

By Anurag Rathod

Anurag Rathod is an Editor of, who is passionate for app-based startup solutions and on-demand business ideas. He believes in spreading tech trends. He is an avid reader and loves thinking out of the box to promote new technologies.