Vintage Photos – How To Download or Create Your Own

Last Updated on Mar. 8, 2024 – by David Morgan
Add to My Favorites
How to Create Aesthetic Pictures

Recreating the visual elements of vintage photos can be a valuable skill for photographers. The imperfections of old-school film (analog) photography have a unique appeal that helps to convey a specific mood or establish a connection with the past.

However, in the era of digital photography, reproducing vintage photo effects can be challenging. With the right software, you can edit your images and create a realistic vintage aesthetic.

In this guide, we discuss several methods to create and download vintage photos. These methods involve effects, templates, filters, and professional edits, such as color grading.

We’ll use PhotoDirector photo-editing software to demonstrate these techniques, as it is the best software for vintage photo creation.

What Are Vintage Photos?

Vintage Photos Example

Traditionally, vintage photography is the production of photographs using an analog (film) camera. This type of photography covers the range of methods and equipment that developed over nearly two centuries, which is why the term “vintage photography” is challenging to define.

Two decades ago, “vintage photography” meant the practice of analog shooting using equipment such as the 19th-century daguerreotype camera, Kodachrome camera, or Polaroid camera.

Today, vintage photography also includes the use of modern film cameras, such as the Pentax K1000 or Canon AE-1. Digital photographers can also create a vintage aesthetic style through editing techniques rather than shooting on film.

Modern image-editing software is integral in today’s approach to vintage photography. Instead of capturing images using old-school equipment, most photographers today prefer utilizing a digital editing process to reproduce the vintage photo effects.

The Best Software To Create Vintage Photos

PhotoDirector Logo

PhotoDirector is a feature-packed image-editing software with optimal functionality and a straightforward user interface. PhotoDirector offers precision layer editing, AI sky replacement, color customization, and support for all professional file formats.

PhotoDirector also offers an extensive range of effects, filters, and other tools, making it the perfect software for creating “vintage” photos. If you need vintage photos but don’t want to create them, you can download some from the PhotoDirector royalty-free stock library. It includes millions of images from iStock.

How To Create Vintage Photos

Below, we provide step-by-step instructions on how to create vintage photos. First, you’ll need to download PhotoDirector, then launch the software on your computer.

Before applying a vintage effect, filters, or edits, you’ll need to import the image into the PhotoDirector editing platform. Open the Library tab, then click on Import in the library panel. Select an import option.

You can now access your image in the PhotoDirector browser panel and start editing.

Use Textures

With PhotoDirector’s Photo Composer tool and layer editing functionality, you can give some texture to your images using a template. Your image texture can be of a paper bag, rug, or wooden surface.

  1. Download and install PhotoDirector, then launch the software on your computer.
  2. Import the photo and image texture you want to edit, then select it from the photo browser panel.
  3. Open Photo Composer.
    Select the Guided tab, then select Photo Composer under the Extract and Compose drop-down menu.
  4. PhotoDirector - Guided, Textures
  5. Add your texture image.
    Once the Photo Composer tool is open, click Add Images and select your texture image as an overlay. If your texture image has a different size than your photo, resize it to cover your photo.
  6. Adjust your texture image opacity.
    Use the Opacity slider to make your texture transparent. As you drag the Opacity slider to the right, your photo will become visible with a textured appearance, which will likely look vintage.
  7. PhotoDirector - guided, texture opacity
  8. Complete the final edits.
  9. Adjust your textured photo’s temperature, contrast, and exposure until you are satisfied with the result. Then, save your image and open the Adjustment tab. Add subtle vignetting to achieve an authentic vintage look.

    PhotoDirector - Texture adjustments

Add Effects

PhotoDirector offers many effects, including dozens of built-in overlay templates.

  1. Download and install PhotoDirector, then launch the software on your computer.
  2. Import the image you want to edit, then select it from the photo browser panel.
  3. Open Photo Effects.
  4. Select the Guided tab, then open the Photo Effects drop-down menu. You can choose from Color Effects, Blur Tools, and Grain Effects.

    PhotoDirector - Photo Effects
  5. Apply a vintage effect.
  6. When you click on the effect categories, the effect options appear in the photo browser panel. To apply a filter, click on one of these options. Each of these effect categories includes unique vintage effects, and you should spend some time experimenting with the different options.

  7. Create an authentic look with Overlay Effects.
  8. Under Decorations, you will see the Overlay option. These effects use PhotoDirector’s layer editing functionality to create a specific atmosphere or mood.

    PhotoDirector - Overlay Effects

    The Overlay Effect option includes Light Leak, Grunge, Scratch, Lens Flare, etc. The Light Leak and Lens Flare effects mimic the appearance of film camera photos. The Grunge and Scratch effects let you recreate the effects of photo aging.

Polaroid Templates

The Polaroid Express Template is a popular feature for creating vintage effects. You also combine this feature with other layer editing elements, such as text, stickers, and more.

  1. Download and install PhotoDirector, then launch the software on your computer.
  2. Import the image you want to edit, then select it from the photo browser panel.
  3. Open Edit.
  4. Open the Edit tab and ensure the Layer Manager panel is open to the left of your screen.

  5. Add a polaroid frame as an Express Template.
  6. Click on the Add New Layer icon at the top of the Layer Manager panel. This icon looks like a rectangle with a plus icon. Select Add Express Template from the menu that appears.

  7. Select a Polaroid Express Template.
  8. You can choose Polaroid Express Templates from the Add Express Template dialog box. The Polaroid Express Layer Pack offers a selection of 15 styles, and you can edit them to fit your project requirements.

    PhotoDirector - Polaroid Express Template

    If the Polaroid Express Templates don’t appear in the dialog box, you’ll need to download them from the Application Manager.

Make Black and White

Converting a photo to black and white is the traditional way to give it a vintage appearance.

  1. Download and install PhotoDirector, then launch the software on your computer.
  2. Import the image you want to edit, then select it from the photo browser panel.
  3. Open Black & White Effects.
  4. Select the Adjustment tab, then click on the Presets tab. The Black & White effects appear under the Default drop-down menu. Click on the folder to view the preview thumbnails for each effect.

  5. Select a Black & White preset.
  6. PhotoDirector - Black & White

    The Black & White presets appearing under the Default folder include Cool, High Contrast, Low Contrast, Platinum, and more. Click on each thumbnail, and view the black-and-white effect on your image. When you find a preset you like, use the Strength slider to adjust the amount of color in your image.

  7. Add a Color Splash.
  8. With a color splash, you can give choose one color. Then, when you convert your photo to black and white, you will retain the color you chose. This step doesn’t necessarily add to a photo’s vintage appearance, but it is a popular effect among photographers.

    Select the Guided tab, then open the Color Effects drop-down menu. Select Color splash, and click on the dropper tool below the effect selection.

    PhotoDirector - Color splash

    Using the dropper tool, select the color you want to reserve. Then, adjust the Tolerance slider to make the rest of the photo black and white.

Color Grade

Applying vintage filters is a quick way to convert a regular image into a vintage photo.

  1. Download and install PhotoDirector, then launch the software on your computer.
  2. Import the image you want to edit, then select it from the photo browser panel.
  3. Open the radial filter.
  4. PhotoDirector - Radial filter

    Select the Adjustment tab, then open the Regional Adjustment Tools drop-down menu. Select the Radial filter, the circle icon to the right of the tool selection.

  5. Select the area of your image where your want to apply the filter.
  6. Using your mouse cursor, draw a circle over the part of the image where you want to apply the filter. In vintage photo creation, most content creators select the entire image.

  7. Color grade the area where you apply the radial filter.
  8. The radial filter lets you make various image adjustments under the White Balance and Tone categories. You can experiment with different adjustment combinations to create a vintage photo.

    Some adjustments you can consider include a low contrast with a slight increase in brightness to create a faded highlight look. You can also reduce the color saturation to create an aging effect. Under the White Balance adjustments, you can give your photo a yellow, blue, or green tint to recreate the effect of chemical deterioration or give your photo a Victorian vintage look.

    PhotoDirector - White Balance
  9. Adjust the strength of the adjustments:
  10. Use the Gradient slider to increase the intensity of the tonal adjustments.

    PhotoDirector - tonal adjustments

How To Download Vintage Photos

If you would rather download a vintage photo, you can do so from within PhotoDirector.

  1. Open PhotoDirector, and under the Library tab, click on Stock Photos in the bottom right corner.
  2. Use the search bar to type in “vintage” and then check the iStock Library to find photos you like.
  3. Click on an image to select it. You can select as many as you would like to download at one time.
  4. PhotoDirector - Download Vintage Stock Photos
  5. When you have found all the photos you want, click Download to import them into PhotoDirector.
  6. Now edit the vintage photos and save them to your computer.

Tips To Create Vintage Photos

Follow the tips below to create engaging and authentic vintage photos:

Tip 1: Research the different eras of photography.

If you regularly want to create vintage photos, it can be helpful to understand the film photography trends, characteristics, and effects of each era. For example, photographs from the 1960s tend to be grainy with low contrast. During the 1920s, single-lens reflex technology was the norm, and photographers experimented with atypical angles and closeups.

Tip 2: Understand the reasons for a photo’s vintage look.

Find out why vintage photographs look the way they do. For example, exposure to certain environmental factors, such as the sun’s UV rays, can cause photographs to fade. This information lets you recreate realistic effects.

Tip 3: Use examples when recreating specific vintage effects.

When creating a vintage photo, use an actual photo from the era you want to emulate as an example. Experiment with effects and color grading adjustments until you find a combination that resembles your example.

Download the Best Software To Create Vintage Photos for Free

Creating vintage photos is a valuable skill for photographers and image content creators. However, cameras and other equipment might be expensive or difficult to find.

With professional software, such as PhotoDirector, you can easily create digital images with the same effects as photos that a camera captured on film.

PhotoDirector offers a wide range of features for old-school image creation, including effects, layer editing, and color grading. This software also allows professional AI image editing with tools such as sky and color replacement, and it is the only photo editing software you will ever need.

Download PhotoDirector today.

Vintage Photos FAQ

1. Where can I find old vintage photos?

Various platforms are available to get vintage photos, including Getty Images Archival Photos, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, and CriticalPast. Some websites offer these images for free and without copyright restrictions. You can even use PhotoDirector to download vintage photos directly in the program, thanks to its built-in royalty-free stock library with millions of images.

2. What are vintage photos called?

Vintage photographs go by several names, depending on their capturing dates. 19th-century photographs include daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and cabinet cards. Carte de visite photos are classic antique photographs on thin paper.

3. How do I take photos of vintage photos?

Before capturing a vintage photo, position it flat on a table or against a wall. Instead of electric light, use indirect natural light to illuminate the photo, as it will minimize glare. Hold your camera as close as possible to the photo so that it fills your camera’s frame.

4. What are printed photos called?

The different types of printed photos include:

  • Platinum prints: These prints consist of a platinum salt layer over paper.
  • Gelatin silver prints: Creating these prints involves exposing an image on paper with a gelatin coating.
  • Chromogenic prints: 35-mm film photographers started developing c-prints in darkrooms during the 1960s.

5. How do I take vintage aesthetic photos?

You can capture vintage aesthetic photos using a large aperture that blurs the background. Taking the photo in black and white mode or creating a light leak with a colored object can also help you achieve a vintage aesthetic.

6. How can I make a picture look like 2000?

You can give your photos a Y2K aesthetic by slightly increasing the graininess and reducing the contrast. Increase the black levels while reducing the white levels, and give the photo’s highlights a warmer tone.

7. How do you get the 1990s effect on pictures?

By reducing saturation, you can make a photo look like it dates back to the 90s. If you are using PhotoDirector, use the Temperature adjustment to make your photo’s tone warmer.

8. How do I get vintage filters?

You can get vintage filters by downloading PhotoDirector for Windows and Mac. This software offers an extensive library containing vintage effects that you can apply in seconds.

9. How do you make a photo look old?

If you are using your phone or another mobile device to create vintage photos, download the PhotoDirector app. PhotoDirector offers several high-quality filters, such as Vintage FilmReel, Light Leak, and VHS Effect.

10. How do you make photos look like they’re from the Sixties?

Photographs from the early 1960s generally have a grainy appearance with low contrast. Color photos became more common during this decade, but many home photographs were black and white.

11. What app can I use to make my pictures look vintage?

The PhotoDirector app is a feature-packed app that you can use to make your photos look vintage.

12. How can I make my photos look like film?

The PhotoDirector app features a Film filter that you can apply to enhance the hues and tones of your vintage photos.

Was this article helpful?

You May Also Like:

Recommended Products: