Easy Way to Make Cool Retro-Looking Photos

Do you want to create photos that have that distinct cool ‘retro’ look? It is definitely one of the more popular aesthetics nowadays, and your photos will stand out and look more unique if you use it.

Although it may seem difficult to turn back the clock and artificially age your photos so that they look retro, it actually isn’t all that complicated. In fact as long as you know what to do you should be able to make a photo look old without any difficulty.

Make Sure the Setting is Retro

The first thing that you should do if you want your photos to look authentically retro is check that the setting is in line with the aesthetic. In other words you should pick a period that you want the photo to resemble (i.e. 60s, 70s, 80s, etc.) and make sure all the elements match it.

As you can imagine the exact elements that you need to pay attention to will vary from photo to photo depending on their composition. That being said, some of the more common ones that you should look into are the:

  • Fashion

Fashion styles change rapidly from year to year, so be sure your subjects are dressed appropriately. That includes not only their clothes, but any accessories – including spectacles, necklaces, earrings, belts, and so on.

  • Furniture

All the furniture in your shot should also reflect the time period accurately. For example old wood desks, cupboards, picture frames, and other furniture can definitely make your photo look older.

  • Vehicles

Try to make sure that there are no recent models of vehicles in your photo that would be a dead giveaway. Instead, if you happen to be able to include a vintage car as a prop it will add several points of authenticity.

If you cover all these areas, you should end up with a photo with a great retro-looking composition. Suffice to say the more careful you are about the setting, the more authentic your photo will look.

Edit the Photo To Look Retro in PhotoWorks

Making the setting look retro is a good start, but if you want your photo to really look retro it will require a bit of editing. One of the easiest editors that you can use to get the job done is definitely PhotoWorks.

In PhotoWorks there are several tools that can help you to make your photos achieve the exact type of retro-look that you want. After you launch the software and load your photo, you should:

  • Decrease the saturation by opening up the Enhancement tab and adjusting the Saturation slider. It will make the colors look more faded and much less vivid.
  • Make the photo look sepia by opening the Tools tab and selecting the Tone Mapping tool. It will let you choose shades of orange or yellow and to overlay and blend into your photo so that it looks washed out.
  • Add film grain by selecting the Tools tab and clicking on the Film Grain tool. If you want you can adjust the Amount and Size settings to control exactly how the grain looks.
  • Apply a vignette effect by selecting the Vignette tool in the Tools tab. It will make the corners of the photos look darker or brighter, depending on how you adjust the settings – and you can control the shape and intensity too.
  • Try the retro or old filters in the Effects tab. The selection in PhotoWorks will give you lots of options to choose from, including the Retro, Old Photo or Worn Photo filters.

Depending on the style of retro-look that you’re going for, you can select which tools to use. Rest assured all the tools in PhotoWorks are extremely intuitive, and you shouldn’t have any issues applying them to your photos.

Final Words

Starting to see how you can easily make retro-looking photos? If you have a bit of free time you should try it out for yourself, and get a taste of what’s involved.

As long as you’re careful and thorough, you should definitely be able to come up with a photo that not only looks retro on the surface – but has an authentic vibe to it as well. Be sure to try to aim for that, as it will make the effect much more compelling.