Friday, February 3, 2012

How to make a photo look like an old photograph by adding textures

Last week I showed you how to make an ordinary photo look contemporary, this week my goal is to show you how to make it look like an old photo, printed on canvas.

I will start by showing you the original image:

As you probably see the image is flat and lacks detail. Keep in mind that most of the time the camera doesn't show the exact colors, especially if your camera isn't top notch. What I would suggest you do is shoot your images in RAW, because this way you would have much more information to work with.

Usually the first thing I do when start working on a image is to check on the Levels. This is how I corrected them for this image:

Here it is the image after the correction done:

Then, what I usually do is adjusting the Hue/Saturation, but this time I'll skip that, because I know I'm going to use texture, and color tone that does not require color correction.

Next step is adding texture. This one I downloaded from a great web site primarily for textures. I got it for free, all I had to do was to subscribe for their newsletters. I get a lot of valuable info from them:

I'll use this particular texture with Linear Burn Blending Option and opacity 61%.

I like its detail, but I'll change that yellowish color for this project. I'm going to do that by adding Gradient Map adjustment layer...

Click where's shown on the image above, and it will open this window. Choose a solid Gradient type that starts with dark color and ends with white, not transparent but white:

Then follow the two steps as shown, click on 1 until the color indicator 2 becomes active, then click on it and it will open a new window: can choose any color you like. In this particular example I used (R:53, G:26, B:2):

Now, this is how the image looks like after adding the Gradient Map adjustment layer:

We are almost finished. The only thing that still needs to be done here is to add more light to the picture. Currently, it is a little dark for my taste, so I will fix that by adjusting the Curves like that:

...and is the final look of the image:

Thank you for visiting my Blog, and expressing interest in my tutorials. Please, leave your comments and suggestions bellow, I will appreciate it. See you next time! :)


  1. Thanks Milena! I used your technique to edit a photo for the 'Hack This Photo' page on Google+. It was the first time trying this for me and I learned quite a lot about Photoshop Elements. Here is the picture I created:

    Keep up the good work with these techniques!

    1. Hi Michael, Thanks a lot for stopping by and reading my tutorial :). It makes me happy that you find it useful. I visited the link you provided and really like what I saw. You did a great job by making the photo look like an old photograph. Very well done. I will be posting more tutorials on how to work with textures every Friday (at least for now this is the plan :))), so please feel free to stop by and check on them, if you are interested. Have a great day :)

  2. Thanks so much for the link for the textures!

    1. Hi Diana, you are very Welcome...Glad I could help :) Have a Nice day :)

  3. Thank you very much Milena !! I would like to share this with my friends on FB !!

    1. Hi Mohan, of course...please do so :). I hope you liked it :) Another one coming on Friday, so please fell free to stop by and check on it. Have a great day :)

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