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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Photoshop Tip: Create an Old Fashioned Postcard Look in Just a Few Clicks

I love the look of old travel photos and especially those old sepia postcards that you find at flea markets and yard sales. It's amazing how those images bring back the feeling of another era in time and a more adventurous vision of travel. But you don't have to visit antique sales to find those kinds of images, you can create them in Photoshop from "new" photos with only a few quick clicks. I shot the photo here a few winters ago in Florida and you can see that just adding a slight sepia tint gave it that antique postcard look.

Creating the effect only took a few minutes and here's how I did it:
  • First, choose a photo that has a sort of old-fashioned look to it. In this case by selecting a scene of a dirt road and palm trees, the picture really captures the feeling of "old" Florida.
  • Next, do a quick curves (or levels) adjustment just to get the exposure right, but keep the contrast somewhat flat. I didn't do any other editing to this image--it's not even cropped. In particular, I didn't sharpen the image because I wanted it to have that soft, aged look.
  • In either the adjustments menu (Image>Adjustments) or at the bottom of the layers palette (I always choose the latter because you can turn off adjustments made as a layer) select the photo filter option. Then select a warming filter and crank up the warmth and use a high density. In this case I chose a #85 warming filter and ran the density up to 97. The higher the density number, the more filtering you get.
  • Finally, I opened the hue/saturation tool (also in the layers palette) and, using the "master" setting, I desaturated the image until the setting was about -67.
That's it. There are probably a few dozen other ways to create a good sepia tone from a color image, but this one was really quick and easy. If you know how to use the photo filter and hue/saturation tools, you can make these adjustments in about 20 seconds. If you're new to editing, don't let the instructions make it sound complex, it's really not. Once you get used to poking around the menus a bit and learn to always use the layers palette for editing your images, you'll find adjustments like this are a breeze. If you'd like to see other Photoshop tips, or have questions about this one, just leave a comment or send me an email and I'll post more of them.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Jeff, I'm finally getting caught up on your posts. You have been busy here. I like this and thanks for the tips on how you did it. I'm going to try it with some of my photos too