How to Make a Photo Look Old - Create a Retro Effect in 3 Min

How to Make a Photo Look Old and Scratched?

Age It in Five Different Ways with PhotoWorks!

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How to Make a Picture Look Old - 5 Ways to Age Your Photos

Took a seemingly perfect photo but now it seems to be too boring? Don't worry, you can still funk it up by applying artistic filters. To give your pictures a really interesting look, try the aged photo effect to travel back in time to a whole different world of retro photographs. Get started with PhotoWorks and follow along this tutorial on how to make a picture look old.


Already chosen a photograph that will look better after digital aging? Now you probably want to know what 'retro' options you have: simply turn its colors yellowish or make more complex changes to the texture, use ready-made filters or take everything into your own hands. Be patient and we'll answer all of your questions! Follow the steps below and apply all these changes to your own photo - a stunning effect is guaranteed. Let's get this show on the road!


What Do We Mean by 'Old' Photos?

As a rule, when we hear "an old photo" we imagine a picture that is well-scratched or crumpled with washed out colors and torn-off corners. In digital photography, images are given a retro look with special filters and effects. Their bright colors are getting replaced with sepia hues, and corners look rounded due to the vignette effect.

Trick #1. Decrease Saturation for an Older Look

To turn the chosen photo into an old-time postcard, deprive it of bright colors. On the Enhancement tab, drag the Saturation slider to the left until the pic becomes duller. If you want to get a truly monochrome image, set saturation at -100 or tick the Black & White box in the Treatment settings, and the photo will lose all its colors in a flash.

How to make a photo look old

Make the colors of your photo look faded

Trick #2. Add Sepia Colors with Tone Mapping

How to achieve the sepia and washed-out look? You can get the desired effect through changing the photo tone. To do that, switch to the Tools tab. It's better to choose tinges of yellow and orange to lay over the picture. Once you've picked the right hue, set the blend type. Use 'Soft light', 'Hard light' or 'Overlay', and don't forget to adjust the amount of that effect for a natural look.

Adjust the saturation of your photo

Use the Tone Mapping tool for creating an old picture effect

Trick #3. Go for a Retro Grainy Film Effect

While on the Tools tab, apply the film grain effect to the whole image - this way you'll give it the texture of a picture developed years ago. Control the effect amount and size to preserve the quality of your picture. To gracefully age your photo and leave the main subject untouched, increase the film grain effect in midtones.

Play with the Tone Mapping settings

Recreate the film grain effect without Photoshop

Trick #4. Make an Old-Fashioned Photo with a Vignette

On the Tools tab you'll also find the Vignette effect. Drag the Amount slider to the left or to the right and the image corners will become darker or brighter. If needed, adjust the vignette shape and intensity with the Roundness and Feather sliders, correspondingly. The transition from the white corners to the photo center should be soft and subtle.

Apply the vignette effect

Apply the vignette effect in the photo editor

Trick #5. Apply Instant Filters to Make Photos Look Old

Another way of making photos look old is to use one-click filters. PhotoWorks software is equipped with dozens of artistic filters and effects that can be applied to any picture in a single click. Move to the Effects tab. Click on Popular effects or Vintage effects and you will find many options to make your digital image look as it was shot years ago.

Try an Authentic Retro Effect

Like sepia-toned photographs from the past? The 'Retro' effect will help you age you picture in a flash.

This artistic filter automatically subdues all the colors in the photo and makes it look as if it faded over the years. At the same time it leaves the image texture nice and clean without any additional scratches.

How to make a photo look old and scratched

Stylize Your Image in a More Complex Way

One instant photo filter can combine several effects that cannot be manually recreated in a single click.

With this 'Old Photo' effect, you don't have to do multi-stage editing to get the desired result. Once you apply it to your photo, it will desaturate the image, add a vignette and nicely age its texture.

How to stylize your photo to look old

Go Retro with the 'Worn Photo' Effect

How to make a photo look old and worn? Cover its surface with a few digital cracked lines and scratches.

Now you can create a believably old photo out of any image by using a special aging overlay! This 'worn photo' effect makes the texture of the initial photo rather well-used and worn out, sending it back in time for several decades.

How to get a retro look with one-click effects

With PhotoWorks software, it's easy to make pictures look old and evoke the sense of nostalgia, sharpen a blurry photo, retouch a glaring face on the portrait shot, apply dozens of artistic filters in just one click, straighten crooked lines, and edit your images in more creative ways. Download the trial version of the program and edit your images with minimum efforts!

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