How Can I Make a Photo Look Antique?


Staff member
To make a modern photo appear as though it's an antique, there are only a few different things you'll need to do to it. You can perform these functions in many photo editors, such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, but I chose to "antique" a recent photo using Adobe Camera Raw, which, if you aren't aware, is a plugin for Photoshop. To me, it seems like a standalone application, so I call it as such.

Anyway, to make an image look like it's an antique one, some grain needs to be added, the color needs to be altered in such a way as to strip out the vibrance of today's photos and it needs to be replaced by either a duotone or a more bland version of what once existed. In most of the photos I try to make appear older than they are, I warm the image, which almost has the same effect as converting it to duotone. And finally, a nice rounded border needs to be added. If you think back to the photos your grandparents used to show you, I think you'll remember a white edge to them. Each of these areas can be easily accomplished using Camera Raw.

If you're interested in the specifics of how to accomplish something like this, please click through to read my recent post that describes how to make a photograph look like an antique. In that post, I cover the steps for completing this task in much more detail than I will here. Below, I'll offer you some very brief steps.

Adding Some Grain

To add grain in Camera Raw, you'll need to open the Effects panel. The first section in this panel is labeled Grain. Adjust the Amount, Size and Roughness to your liking.

Adding a Border

To add a rounded border to the image, move to the section directly below the Grain section in the Effects panel. This next section is called Post Crop Vignetting. In this section, adjust the Style, Amount, Midpoint, Roundness and Feather attributes.

Warming the Image

To warm the image, you'll need to return to the Basic panel. There, you can adjust the Temperature slider to the right for heat. You may also want to add some contrast via the sliders below to give it an extra antique appearance. That's up to you. Again, please read through my previous post I wrote as I offered many more details and even the slider values I used for a recent project.

Have you ever antiqued an image? Do you have anything you'd like to share? Any tips or techniques? If so, please let us know below. Thanks!