Going Retro

Retro photos are all the rage these days. At least according to my 17-year-old cousin, who recently set a date to take her senior pictures. The professional photographer she is working with convinced her to include some “nostalgic” photos in her portrait package.

Does anyone else think it’s strange that a 17-year-old is posing for nostalgic type photos? What exactly is retro for a high school senior? Baggy pants and denim overalls? My understanding is that nostalgic photography tries to evoke feelings associated with a long forgotten era. The 1990s seem not so far removed from the 21st century, but I grew up in the 70s, so my perspective may be a bit skewed.

I did some research on nostalgic photography and while there are differing opinions about setting, poses and props, I did find one thing that most people agree on: filters. Apparently, having a few specialty filters on hand during the shoot will drastically reduce the amount of post-production time you will need to log to enhance your retro photos.

Popular filters include: Sepia, which gives the photos an aged look; warming filters, which make photos appear sun-damaged or weathered; and softening filters, which simulate diffused lighting and add a bit of romanticism to the image.

Of course, you don’t need to invest in expensive filters to achieve a diffused look. A more affordable option is to simply diffuse a natural light source with window treatments or place sheer, colored fabric over artificial lights to create an antique look.

If you want to forgo the filters and other diffusing methods, then rely on photo-editing software to give your photos a retro look. Adobe Photoshop and Corel Paint Shop Pro offer dozens of effects and filters that can be used to make your pictures look more nostalgic. If you need more help trying to age your photos, then check out Photoshop’s Nostalgic Image Tutorials.

Related Articles:

Basic Photo Tips for Digital Camera Owners

Cameras: Knowing When To Upgrade

Telling A Story With Your Shots

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.