7 Tips for Vintage Photography that Every Photographer Needs to Know

The popularity of vintage photography is not a recent trend, but it’s never too late to jump on the bandwagon. Forget about modern tricks or gear and take photography back to its roots with nothing more than what was available in the earlier years – film cameras that produce amazing grainy images!


When it comes to photography, the past is in again. Every photo editing app has a selection of vintage filters and these looks are more likely than ever to get likes from social media users.

It’s been more than a decade since the digital photography boom, but what if I told you that film is making an unexpected comeback? Kodak has released some classics like Ektachrome and Katacchrome back on shelves just this year. If you still have your old school camera with those lovely 35mm slides or negatives then it might be time to dust them off! And don’t worry about not taking any pictures; we’ve compiled enough tips for beginners below so all of our helpful hints should get even seasoned pros up to date in no time flat.

What do you mean by vintage photography?


How do you define a “vintage” photograph? Is it one that was taken in the 1970s, or 1900’s…or is there another definition for this word.

The term vintage photography has been used to describe many things: from photographs of scenes and people during specific time periods to images captured on film before digital cameras were commonplace. In some cases, it can be hard to know exactly what we mean when we say “a photo should look like something out of an old magazine” because everyone interprets photos differently–one person may think this means they need sepia tones while someone else might want bright colors with lots of vivid detail instead.

I’ve always loved the beautiful, imperfect textures and tones of old photographs. I’m sure you know this feeling too! But how do we re-create that vintage look? In this article, I’ll give you some tips on how to make vintage-style images and from there you can experiment to reach your own conclusions.

What can I do to make my photos look vintage?


Creating a vintage or vintage-style photo is all about two important things: the aesthetic look of the picture (colors, textures), and what you’re actually showing us.

The first part has to do with colors, texture — it’s really up to how you want your photos to feel. The second part involves making sure that content in each one shows something different than every other photo on social media at any given time!

Having a photo on your phone is great, but with the right filters and editing skills you can really turn it into something special. Snapseed has some amazing vintage flair that will make any picture look like an old-timey family portrait to bring back memories of simpler times. You can also choose from Grunge or Grainy Film for those pictures taken in nature so they don’t end up looking too clean cut, which would take away their authenticity.

7 Vintage Photography Tips


1. Add noise

There are many aspects to consider when choosing film. One of the most important factors is ISO, or how sensitive your camera’s sensor will be to light. Films varied in sensitivity (or “speed”) from 100-800 ISO and each could have different effects on images based on their graininess levels.

The higher a rating for sensitivity/grain level you chose, the more noticeable noise would appear in the final product due to overexposure during shooting; at lower ratings less grain was present but there might not be clear details if it were too low rated.

The grain of vintage photography is often noticeable, and can be replicated by adding digital noise in Photoshop or other programs.

2. The best way to make a model look old is to use fake dust and scratches. 

The older your photograph, the more it will show signs of wear and tear. In a sense, these tell the viewer that they are looking at something from another time. You can add manipulation to an image by adding dust or scratches in Lightroom presets (or light editing software like Photoshop) if you want this effect for your photos as well!

3. By manipulating the colors, you can create a lot of different effects.

In the days of film photography, each type of color film had its own characteristic tone which is why retro photographs have a certain nostalgic quality. However as time goes on and these films deteriorate they start to lose some saturation or get biased towards one side due to photochemical changes in the emulsion. You can recreate this look by lowering your photo’s overall brightness level along with reducing any colors that are too saturated for best results!

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Color is so important for photographs because it can convey mood, story, and emotion. When taking pictures,

4. Add borders to the image.

There are all sorts of borders to choose from for vintage prints. It could be a film border if the photo was taken as part of an 8×10 contact sheet, or it can have extra paper around its edges for aesthetics purposes or fixing into albums when you get them developed at your local drugstore with their easy-peasy in and out service.

Polaroids were famous because they had frames that contained chemicals necessary to develop photos – but these days we take digital pictures without needing any physical frames!

5. Use special software to edit

Once you get serious about vintage photography, software gives you many more options. You can do everything customized by yourself with an amazing amount of control or take advantage of Instagram filters and Lightroom presets which are great for beginners!

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6. A little blur

Whether your photos are meant to be Instagram-worthy or not, it’s always important to remember that the lens of an old camera was less sharp and rendered much less detail. We have come a long way since then with our modern cameras today having lenses sharper than ever before but you don’t need all this perfectness for every single photo! It actually looks better if you add some blur on top so they look more authentic and vintage – just as though they were taken by a delicate film instead of being digitally doctored up in Photoshop like many people do nowadays.

7. Vintage objects

Shooting a photo with a vintage feel is not as difficult as you may think. You don’t have to shoot in black and white or capture the blurriness of yesteryear, but instead take your subject matter into consideration: Think rotary phones, compasses, old cameras – these items are still around us today!


As you can see, vintage photography is a style that has many variations. Whether it’s the era of your choice or technique, there are so many ways to create gorgeous photos with an old-fashioned feel. Try some out and share them with us on social media! We would love to feature our favorites in this article for everyone to enjoy.



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