Thursday, October 25, 2012

Vintage Photography (Without Instagram)

It’s hard to miss some trends when they happen, especially ones that envelope everything – they start small, then evolve into a way of life for some and stay forever. Then there’s the ones all over social media and you just can’t miss them. One of the biggest trends like this right now is “vintage.” Vintage what? Everything! Vintage clothes, furniture, cars, bicycles, home appliances, and even vintage-themed weddings are all popular.

Photograph of Beatrice Kerr wearing an Austral...
With the internet aflutter with all things vintage and plenty of old-time photos for inspiration, it’s no surprise there’s a revival of vintage-style photography. What’s not to love about photos with a beautiful nostalgic quality? There’s muted tones, people wearing gorgeous vintage clothes, and a feeling of sitting on grandma’s couch, flipping through old family albums.
So, you want to use this fantastic effect in your own photography, but you don’t want to be one of those annoying people who just use Instagram? Here are three ways to get vintage-looking photos (without an iPhone) and the one big rule to always remember.

1. Edit photos you already have

Instagram’s instant filters aren’t the only ways to doctor a photo for a vintage feel. Even if you don’t have Photoshop, there’s plenty of free online photo-editing software available. For a vintage feel, play with the hue and saturation for a muted look and add filters and effects that make the photo slightly fuzzy, oddly exposed, a little scratchy, or even a bit dirty.

2. Make your digital camera seem old

There are several things you can do to even the best digital cameras to cancel out that perfectly crisp, bright look that you don’t want when you’re going for vintage. One popular trick is to smear Vaseline on the edges of your lens – your photos will have that out-of-focus vignette you get from old film cameras. (You may want to put it on a clear filter instead if you’re afraid of damaging your camera.) For a similar effect, you can shoot through almost anything transparent – cellophane, clear paper, wax paper. You can even stretch a nylon stocking over your lens and experiment with different colors.

3. Use a camera that actually IS old

Break out that old film camera! For added effect, grab that expired film in the back of the closet and
you’ll get photos with strange or faded colors that look old as soon as they develop.
Polaroid's Land Camera Model J66 camera
Polaroid's Land Camera Model J66 camera
Have a Polaroid camera? Polaroid Impossible’s Silver Shade film makes beautiful monochromatic images with a perfect retro feel.
When using any of these methods, remember the number one rule to avoid being that person on Instagram: take photos of things that actually LOOK vintage. Nothing screams “imposter!” like a smart phone or a laptop in the background. Hit up a classic car show, or find old furniture at a local thrift store. Make sure your model is properly dressed in vintage clothes, and get the right props.
Now get out there and take some great photos!


Guest Author: Patrick Whalen is a part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites. Follow him @2patwhalen.

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