Creating a Hazy, Dreamy Image Effect in Photoshop
4 Simple Steps to Creating a Hazy-Dreamy Image Effect in Photoshop using two different methods
Many of you have creating this effect down already either manually or using a preset but I thought I would share this for those of you who don't.
Step 1: Duplicate your image layer and add a gaussian blur of approx 4 pixels (choose a blur level that works with your image), then change the blending mode to overlay
Step 2: Create a white fill layer above your last layer (or pick a color from your image that works for you). Then change the layer blending mode to color - I took my opacity to 20% but again choose what works with your image.
Step 3: Create another fill layer above your last one and again fill with white, then change the blending mode to screen. I took the opacity level to 40% on this layer.
Step 4: Create a vignette or soft black edging around the outside borders of your image. Several ways to do this, you can create a fill layer of black and using a large, soft brush erase the center area until you achieve the look you want and then change the blending mode to overlay and choose the opacity level that works with your image. The 2nd way to do this is to take a soft, large brush and brush around the border of your image until you achieve the look you want and again change the blending mode to overlay.
The 2nd Method is quick and easy, it all depends on what you're looking for in your final image. The difference between the two methods is pretty subtle but personally, I like the first method better, I think it gives the colors a bit more pop while still achieving the lovely dreamy look but that's just me.
These are two down and dirty methods of achieving a beautiful, dreamy image by adding a bit of a haze with Photoshop. Have fun playing around with these methods.