Restoring Vintage Photography


Over time vintage photography loses its original state, stains, scratches and therefore cracks appear on them; they lose their former colors and become pale. To preserve the images and improve their quality, it is good to digitize the photo album and process the images on a computer.

For retouching frames and removing defects, you need a program to restore old photos. There are many specialized applications. You can use any software you are familiar with.

When processing old frames, it is often necessary to correct certain defects, remove scratches and cracks, correct an underexposed or overexposed picture, add clarity, make a black and white frame in color, and place an inscription.

Digitization of a photo album. To start correcting frames, you need to transfer paper photographs to your computer. This can be done in several ways, using a home scanner, a special program for digitizing, taking the photo to a copy center, or taking pictures with a camera. Each method has its pros and cons:

  • The scanner will allow you to save images of high quality. It will not create geometric distortions and will not add glare. Also, this method is free.
  • Android or iPhone apps allow you to take pictures and customize saving options. The quality of the file depends on the smartphone’s camera, and for the best result, it is necessary to fix the device, for example, on a tripod.
  • Copy centers will ensure the high quality of the digitized material. The only disadvantage of this option is the price.
  • The camera will give a good result if you consider a few points. Shooting should occur in good lighting conditions, but the light source should be positioned so that it does not create glare in the pictures. Also, the camera needs to be fixed, so use a tripod.

After digitizing, photographs can be processed in a special program and improve their quality.

How to eliminate vintage photography defects

Retouching tools allow you to hide small flaws and unwanted objects. They are easy to use and do not require special skills. All that needs to be done is to highlight the problem area.

Photo editors usually offer a standard set of functions:

  • Defects and damages such as cracks and stains can be corrected with the Patch. To use it, you need to isolate the problem and replace it with a texture from another location.
  • The Clone Stamp tool is suitable for removing unwanted objects. To apply, you need to select a scratch or abrasion with the mouse. Then specify the texture donor in the image to copy the pixels.
  • The Healing Brush will automatically hide small imperfections. The tool independently selects a new material to hide the problem area. It is suitable for the gradual and gentle removal of scratches, dust particles, and small imperfections.

Dark and overexposed frame. If the vintage photography looks too bright or dark, you can use the exposure, highlights, and shadows correction tools. They will allow you to hide overexposed areas, add volume to the image and adjust the color balance.

Most photo editors offer the necessary tools. Use the sliders to increase or decrease saturation, temperature, hue, exposure, highlights, and shadows. And "Curves" will allow you to adjust the brightness and contrast, blue, green, and red channels.

Besides lighting fixes, these functions are suitable for restoring old photos. With their help, you can restore volume and shadow to faded pictures and add color to color frames.

You can sign up for a photography course to learn how to process pictures in any style and of any quality correctly.

Blurred photo. Sometimes, digitized vintage photography lacks detail and clarity. To fix this, you can sharpen the entire photo or specific areas. It is important to keep an eye on the parameters of the effect, all the contours must be well defined, but at the same time, it is necessary to avoid the appearance of artifacts. Adjust the intensity of the sharpness first, and then adjust the threshold and radius; these possibilities are in all good software for working with old photos.

Colorization. You can manually select shades and colorize each element to colorize black and white vintage photography look or use automatic colorization. In the first case, you will get more control over the process, and in the second, a high-quality option in a shorter time frame. Try to choose the most natural shades, avoid colors with maximum saturation. It is better to make the brush smaller so as not to go beyond the contours of objects.

Color processing of old photos, you can continue to perform color correction, apply filters and retro effects, tone the picture, or use ready-made styles.

Image decoration. Sometimes you need to add an inscription; this is useful when creating a family tree or decorating a photo. You can place a text layer anywhere, adjust its size, font, fill, display shadow and outline, or apply a predefined style. Also, the inscription can be placed on a beautiful substrate.

vintage look

 Tips to Achieve the Vintage Photography Look

Vintage photography look is becoming more and more popular among people who have chosen pictures as their hobby. And thanks to social media photography, sharing your vintage photography look is easier than ever before.

These services also share their methods and post-processing techniques that can help you achieve vintage photography.

What should you learn to achieve vintage photography?


Vintage photography is directly related to the color and saturation of a photograph. Old photographs do not differ in brightness. There are many ways to change levels in post-production to create a vintage feel.


By decreasing the contrast, you can make the image appear flattered. In the graphics editor Photoshop, there are various ways to change the contrast. 

Another way to refine your photo is with the Enhance> Adjust color> Color variations menu. In this window, you will see a set of options to change your vintage photography. This will add a transparent adjustment layer to the project and allow you to change the brightness and contrast settings until you get the result you are interested in. The biggest advantage of using adjustment layers in comparison with changing the original image itself is that you have the opportunity to apply an effect to a specific part of the image (while certain areas can be left without applying the effect) and, if necessary, simultaneously remove all changes.

Color saturation

Decrease the color saturation of your vintage photography look. Brightness is not typical for old photographs. Like the previous tip about adjusting the contrast layer, you can create an adjustment layer to change the hue and saturation.

Black and white 

Creating a black and white retro picture isn't just about pressing the desaturate button. The resulting black and white image is a good place to start, but remember to tweak the blue, red, green, and contrast behind the photo to make the photo more convincing.

Before you begin to achieve vintage photography, look at some old images in real life and on the Internet to understand ​​what black and white image look like. There are standard ways to desaturate an image, but the black and white image that was taken this way is not very convincing.


You can use styles as a springboard to create your vintage photography.


Another way to get a retro image is to use texture layers. Do you have any old photos from your grandmother's attic or antique shop? Examine their texture. Look for edges, watermarks, stains, and dust marks. Old photographs hold history not only in the form of an image.

Maybe your grandfather accidentally put a cup of coffee in the family photo. 


A brand new Ford car photo won't look retro no matter what you do in production. No need to explain why. Make sure the photographs you want to process show what matches the meaning of the word vintage.

Look for the following subjects: old cars, your kids' old clothes, places in villages, antique furniture, and recognizable vintage items like old Coca-Cola bottles.


Don't you have photos that you want to vintage? Why not just scan real images from the past and give them vintage photography look?

vintage photography

Ideas for vintage photography look

Retro-style photo sessions are incredibly popular today. This is not surprising because the exciting era of the 20th century still excites the imagination with its elegance, sophistication, standards of beauty, and luxury. Surely every girl dreams of presenting herself in the image of a sophisticated lady of the 20s or 50s.

Retro is an abstract concept that combines various trends of the 20th century, from the 20s to the 80s. Such a wide period allows you to choose the most suitable epoch in character. Achieve the vintage photography great idea for those who love musicals, jazz, legendary actors and actresses, and the unusual and adventurous spirit of the time.

The highlight of the photographs is the play with light and shadows, which allows you to convey the smallest details. Black and white and sepia images are especially favored because they retain a stunning vintage vibe.

To create a luxurious image for a vintage photography look, you need to think over and recreate the style and choose the wardrobe and attributes for shooting correctly. It is equally important to feel the era’s atmosphere and convey it as much as possible, using facial expressions, postures, and demeanor. You can also sign up for a photography course to learn how to take great pictures quickly and beautifully.


  • Retro photo of the 20s. One of the favorite images of modern girls, mysterious and filled with special energy. The ideal of the 20s is a slender brunette with short wavy hair in a slightly tight dress with a low waist and a revealing neckline on the back.

For many, the 20s are associated with the famous Coco Chanel, who turned the time’s fashion. As a wardrobe for retro image, you can use a men's trouser suit, a white shirt, a hat with a veil, a pencil skirt, etc. A fan, a string of pearls, a fluffy boa, a mouthpiece, a cloche hat, dark lipstick can become props.

  • Retro photo in 50s style. The ideal of the 50s is radically different from the image of the 20s. Now the model of beauty is a blonde with scarlet lips, big eyes, fluffy eyelashes, and sizes 90-60-90. The girls of the 50s are characterized by sophistication, sexuality, femininity, and a kind of naivety.

Fitted dresses with wide belts, year skirts, wide-brimmed hats, gloves, small satchels, scarves, glasses, etc., are suitable for creating retro images. The design of the clothes is done in bright sunny colors using simple patterns such as peas, squares, flowers, etc.

The image of girls at this time is actively used on the covers of magazines and posters. This era (although the phenomenon itself appeared much earlier) gave us such a direction as Pinup.

  • 60s and hippie style. Simple and comfortable clothes with unusual ethnic ornaments, jeans, massive accessories, and voluminous bijouterie are all inherent in the Hippie style, which has fallen in love with many. By the way, even today, the trend does not lose its popularity. First, the concept of culture is close to many. Secondly, it is in this style that many see freedom from the shackles of social standards. Find the matching unisex wardrobe and accessories for the retro image. You can create an entourage with a guitar, a small van, wildflowers, wreaths, holi paints, etc. It is recommended to take a photo session in nature, for example, in a forest, park, or while traveling.
  • Disco 70-the 80s. An extravagant style that will allow you to create unforgettable images. The main idea of ​​a retro photoshoot is to show all the originality and brightness of the personality. The main attributes are colorful leggings, sportswear, stretch jeans, colored glasses, shiny jewelry.

The style can combine incongruous; the main thing is that everything is bright and catchy. Filming can be carried out in a gym, in a disco, in nature. Nor should we forget the mood that the photo should convey: impudent, slightly eccentric, mischievous.

  • Photo in the style of Chicago. Chicago is a shocking option for shooting in a retro style. You can afford bold outfits and poses. The girl's elegant dress will be complemented by beads, elbow-length gloves, and a fur cape. A tough guy with a revolver in his hands was a popular male image of the time. A Chicago-style photoshoot is usually done in a studio. Vintage interiors, antique furniture, weapons, cigars, and wine glasses are used as decorations.
  • Informal subcultures. An original idea for vintage photography looks to try yourself as representatives of subcultures from the past. Photoshoots in the retro look of unformals are best done with friends. The photographer will be able to capture how you walk down the street, lie on the grass, sit on the steps, play musical instruments. Try not to repeat outfits; every person in your company should be an individual.

In the hippie style, a thematic photo session is best done in nature. Colored blankets, pillows, rugs, and stringed musical instruments are suitable as props. Clothing should be as simple as possible but with a touch of ethnicity.

To create a punk image, use ripped jeans, stretched T-shirts, leather jackets. A bright make-up (including male) is allowed without observing any canons. To complete the look, make a mohawk on your head. For the background, the wall of an abandoned house with graffiti is ideal.

  • A scene from a favorite movie. If you like a movie or book from the last century, try to act out a scene from there. This photoshoot idea is suitable for couples in love. You can depict a famous love story in the photo to make beautiful and romantic vintage photography.
  • Photo at home. Those who still have antique furniture, wall hangings, and paintings from the last century at home can have a thematic photoset. The idea of ​​a retro photo will depend on the surroundings. If you inherited a wooden dresser, old chairs, and curtains from your great-grandmother, try to depict an episode from the 20s. By choosing a solid wall for the background, you can get good. If you are going to do a retro-style photoset on the street, try not to get into the frame of modern houses, signs, and cars. You should not combine images from different decades in one photo. Study in detail the photographs of the last century, sign up for the photography course, carefully prepare. Then vintage photography look will turn out to be successful and as realistic as possible.

Retro-style photoshoots and image creation should be taken seriously and prepared in advance. It is necessary to think over every detail, from wardrobe and props to technique. Instant cameras will allow you to maximize the atmosphere of the chosen era, with the help of which you can create cozy photographs. Such pictures can charge you with a special mood.


  • How to take a vintage photo?

The fastest way to make a retro photo out of a regular photo is to use a pre-prepared set of effects.

  • How to take pictures in retro style?
  1. Look for old cameras in thrift stores and markets
  2. Use cross-processing for an instant retro look
  3. Try a matte look while decreasing contrast
  4. Use expired film in an old film camera
  • What is vintage style?

Vintage is a stylized trend in fashion, especially in clothing and household items, focused on the revival of past generations’ fashion trends.

  • How to make the effect of an old photo?

Use newspaper clippings to create an old photo effect Simulate black and white film by completely decreasing color saturation and increasing the contrast. Add some grain for an old photo effect and use a film in the background.

  • In what style can you hold a photo session?
  1. Portrait photography is a one-stop solution that always works
  2. Photo session in casual style naturalness and openness
  3. Retro style photoshoot back to the 50s
  4. Disco and 80s style sequins, spotlights, and party mood
  5. Photoshoot in the style of glamor luxury and more luxury
  • How can a vintage photograph be made in color?

You can check out guides for coloring and processing photos. Also on the Internet, you can find special programs that will make a photo in color.

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