Vintage photograph tutorial

So, I felt like doing a little bit of Photoshopping, so having been playing around with Hipstamatic on my iPhone latety, I thought I would give it a try, and do my own take on a “vintage” photograph.

I ran to my hallway to get a reasonably clear background (note to self: remove stuff on the wall next time), and I snapped this picture handheld with no flash or anything:

The original image
The original image

After importing I noticed quite a few problems with the image, but didn’t really feel like posing again, so I fixed them using couple of Photoshop techniques:

  • I fixed the background using the Lasso Tool and content-aware fill (had to do it a couple of times).
  • Then I fixed the skin highlights, by:
    • Adding an empty layer above the background and set the blend mode to Darken
    • Then using a Healing Brush Tool with Sample set to All Layers and the source set to a nice clean piece of skin I drew over the highlights.
  • Used the Clone Stamp Tool to remove the red spot in the right eye.
    • I fixed the iris using a Dodge Tool: mid-tones, exposure 50% and doing a couple of twirls on the irises.
    • I rounded the pupils using a black Brush Tool (50% hardness).
    • I added a new highlight to the pupils using a white Brush Tool (10px, 25% hardness).

    This was the result:

    The cleaned up image
    The cleaned up image

    Then I needed a nice “grungy” border, so I went Googling until I found this site that had 5 interesting free borders. I picked one, resized it to my pictures dimensions and copied it to the top layer.

    The last thing I needed was to make the actual image vintage, so I fired up Alienskin Exposure and looked through the different films, finally deciding on “Kodachrome II” which also included dust and scratches. I turned up the dust and scratch parameters, and almost turned the vignette to the maximum.

    The final result:

    The finished image
    The finished image

    I am sure there are 100’s of ways to make a picture look vintage. This was my way. I’d probably do something different another time, but I think it looks pretty good.

    Getting aquinted with Lightroom 3.0

    Over time, I seem to be taking more and more pictures when I have a photo session. It is great to have a lot of different images to choose from, even if they might be close in look. You might get that “special” one where everything comes together like you wanted it, instead of sitting there going: “I like the eyes on this, but the mouth on that”.

    I have to admit, it was getting increasingly cumbersome to manage a huge number of photos, selecting the shots, doing standard editing like white-balance, contrast, color matching and so on.

    It is not really possible to load all 300 shots in Photoshop at a time, so you have to load 10 or so, maybe perform the same things, so for me the obvious that I needed something that could help me do that.

    I have been using Picasa for a number of years as my photographic organizer and importer and I have actually been quite happy with it. You cannot argue with the price tag, and it is very fast and has some nice features.

    Since I am already a happy user of Adobe Photoshop; Lightroom seemed like the choice for me. I had a look at it at version 2.7, and actually felt quite confused with the work flow, but I decided to give it another go.

    I picked an old photo session with my daughter a few years back. The quality of the pictures is actually pretty low, since I did not own a flash gun at the time, and I really hated the look of the built-in flash, they were taken using high ISO, but there were a number of shots that had to be sorted, selected, and processed.

    I also wanted to make sure that the pictures had the same overall color tone, which I had not achieved during my first processing of the pictures.

    I worked out a pretty nice work flow. One of the pictures required a little bit of clone brushing to remove some stray hairs so that got worked in as well. All in all, I have to say, that I think Lightroom will make my life a lot easier, when it comes to processing a large amount of pictures at the same time.

    Here are the 5 shots that I picked from 86: