Photography has a long and vivid history–and one that’s, sometimes, worth repeating. Thanks to Photoshop, it’s easy to mimic old photographic techniques and styles without actually building your own darkroom. Adding vintage flair can be perfect for portraits and a variety of other shots. Here’s a few techniques from around the web that put Instagram filters to shame and are well-worth repeating.

1950s pin up

The 1950s pin-up look starts with the makeup, hair and clothing–but needs some finish work in Photoshop. There are a few techniques that can be adapted to the needs of a particular photo, like extracting the background and adding a more aged version. If you’re working with a portrait client that likes to add elements of the 50s into their own personal style, imagine their reaction when you add that flair into their overall image.

1920s sepia

Sure, it’s fairly simple to switch an image to sepia mode in Photoshop. But the 1920s era look is a bit more complex than just adding a digital filter. The look is more subtle and can work well with a variety of different shots. As an added bonus, you can use this technique with different colors–like blue for a cyanotype look.


While things like light leaks are often edited out when rescuing and old image, the combined effects can change the mood in an perfectly fine digital image. With this technique, you can make a brand new image look like it’s been sitting on old photographic paper for decades.

Aged Snapshot

Old Polaroid-type images have a certain nostalgic feel to them that sometimes photographers want to replicate. If you start with both an old photo and a new one, you can combine elements of the two to give that new image a retro makeover.

Vintage photo effects add a nostalgic feel to even modern day images, but one-click filters can only get you so far. Using Photoshop to age a new photo gives the photographer more control than an Instagram filter, making it possible to customize the effect to the image.

What’s your favorite vintage photo effect?

About The Author

When Hillary Grigonis isn't writing, she's shooting—with her camera that is. A freelance writer and photographer, she's always keeping track of the latest photography news and gadgets. Follow her on Facebook or Google+.

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