Although the advent of digital photography has made it easier to take amazing photos with stunning colors and exquisite detail – many people actually seek out the ‘vintage’ aesthetic of photography’s distant past. Often it is to evoke nostalgia and create photos that stand out and look more unique.
It is certainly possible to edit photos and turn back their clock to make them look as if they were taken long ago. However, if you want to make photos look vintage – you first need to understand the aesthetic you’re trying to foster when you edit them.
“What Makes Photos Look Vintage?”
While you can probably identify a ‘vintage-looking’ photo – have you ever actually considered why some photos look vintage? In other words: What characteristics do photos with a vintage aesthetic have in common?
In general, the vintage aesthetic is the byproduct of its imperfections. The imperfections that old photos have is mostly due to the limitations of camera technology in those days and some of the more common ways in which it manifested were with:
- Yellowish tints were often caused because the photos were printed on paper that ‘aged’ over time, eventually making it appear yellow. The poor quality of the paper often contributed to that and made the tint uneven.
- Low contrast in the photos was a result of the limitations of the sensors that were used. Typically they were unable to capture as much light, resulting in less vibrant colors as well.
- Vignetting and darker or shadowy-looking corners in the photos was due to the lens imperfections causing light to fall off around it.
- Film grain in old photos is predominantly due to the material used to manufacture older films (or plates before them). The material itself was uneven and resulted in imperfections appearing throughout it.
With a bit of editing, it is possible to emulate most of the characteristics listed above. It is easy enough to add tints with color filters, reduce the contrast of your photos, and adjust the vignette setting. In most editors, you can add film grain as well using a noise filter.
Making Vintage-Looking Photos in PhotoWorks
One easy way to make vintage-looking photos is by using PhotoWorks.
It has several features that are perfect for the task and will let you create photos that mimic the genuine vintage aesthetic to the tee.
Undoubtedly the easiest way to make a vintage looking photo is to apply one of PhotoWorks’ vintage photo filters. Under the ‘Effects’ tab, you’ll find several different types of filters designed to produce slightly different types of vintage aesthetics from different eras of photography.
If you want more control over the vignette in your photos you can use PhotoWork’s Vignette tool under the Composition tab. It will let you darken (or brighten) the edges of your photos, adjust the amount of blurriness near the edges, and control the size and shape of its effect.
Last but not least you could use the intriguing Tone Map feature that is in the Composition tab as well.
It will let you add a texture to your photo to really make it look like it was captured in a bygone age, and there are several options you can choose from under the Vintage category in the Texture type.
Make no mistake the other features in PhotoWorks can help to truly complete the effect as you can adjust decrease the contrast and saturation, remove unwanted objects, and alter it in other ways. By the time you’re done, you’ll have transformed your photo into a vintage looking picture that looks truly authentic.