9 min. to read
Digital photography has changed the way we take photos. It’s easy to pull out a camera from your pocket, frame your shot on the bright screen, turn some dials to change your settings, and press a button to take the photo. This same process would have taken much longer before digital photography came around, and the time required to actually develop the image as a print was even longer.
Digital cameras are also able to resolve much more detail and reproduce colors much more accurately than old film cameras could, but we still see many people trying to give a vintage look to their photos. Maybe it’s because they wish to stand out from the sea of detailed, bright and vivid photos on the internet, or maybe they just prefer the aesthetic of film photography but don’t want to give up the ease of digital photography.
Whatever the reason, there are multiple things you can do to make a photo look old. But first, let’s understand what we mean by a vintage look.
Vintage photographs, mainly due to the limitations of cameras at the time, had certain imperfections which people try to replicate these days. Some characteristics of older photos are:
Most old photos had visible grain in them because of the uneven size of halide crystals in the photo films and plates. This is one of the most common characteristics that make photos look old.
Older camera sensors weren’t able to capture the amount of detail or color that today’s cameras are capable of, so photos usually has less contrast and were softer.
Since film photography was printed on paper as opposed to being stored digitally on computers, photos would appear to yellow over time due to the quality of the paper. This yellowish tint has become a common way to induce a feeling of nostalgia in photography.
Light falloff around the lens was the reason for the darker corners in photos that we know as vignetting.
Other than these, elements like dust spots, scratches, and other types of damage are also associated with older photos. Now that you’re familiar with these common characteristics of vintage photos, let’s take a look at how to make photos look vintage in the modern age.
Essentially, all you need to do to achieve a vintage look is to incorporate the above-mentioned characteristics into your photos. You can do this very simply with something like Luminar’s photo filters if you’re in a hurry, but we’ll discuss some other methods as well in a little more detail.
There are two kinds of methods you can use to achieve your desired effects: automatic or manual.
One of the best things about digital photography today is how easy it is to automatically process your images the way you want. There are many different photo editing software that provide excellent filters and presets to help you achieve that vintage look you want.
If you want to control every aspect of your photo while making it look retro, you should really go about the process manually.
These are just some of the ways in which you can change the way your photos look, either automatically or manually. Each of the processes mentioned here differs in a few ways. Some take less time and create more basic results while others make more convincing photos but require more time. Whichever method you choose, you now know how to make a photo look vintage in multiple ways and can start polishing your editing skills right away.
A final word of advice: If you truly want to create convincing results, do go with manual editing. We realize that it may be difficult to start manually adjusting everything in your photos though, which is why Luminar might just be the best of both worlds. With presets specifically created to give a vintage feel to photos alongside the ability to manually adjust different aspects of these presets, Luminar has something both for new and seasoned photo editors.