There are lots of "vintage photo" tutorials out there, but I wasnt happy with any single one. So I took a few elements from some of the best and combined it to make this action.
You can Download the action here. (it is on a free file storage so you may be asked to wait 10 to 30 seconds before downloading.)
just download it to a file thats easy to find. Then go into Photoshop and open WINDOW>ACTIONS. A small box will pop up and in the top right corner is a tiny down arrow. Click on this and go to LOAD ATIONS. Just choose your file and voila.
Open a picture of your choosing. Go to WINDOW>ACTIONS and click on the little arrow next to Vintage Effect. Click on Vintage photo and press the play button at the bottom of the actions box.
At the end of your completed action you can go to IMAGE>ADJUSTMENTS>BRIGHTNESS/CONTRAST and play with the sliders until you get it to just the right proportions.
I dont think that this will work on Photoshop Elements. You can try. If you dont have photoshop you can download a free 30 day trial here. (you willneed to create a free ccount with Adobe. It is their new CS4 version too!)
this makes a great action for retro style digital scrapbooks.