The holidays are coming! A traditional time of year to reminisce, look at old photos, remember our loved ones and cherish old memories. And hopefully, to create some new memories and great photos to carry on through the years!

How about adding a bit of a vintage look to your “annual photo”?

We all take so many photos with our smart phones these days that it can sometimes seem like a chore to break out “the big camera”, put it on a tripod and take the time to actually capture a really nice image. But if not now, then when? Your house is at its prettiest, the decorations are up, and everyone is in a festive mood. And it’s a great time to do an “annual photo”, so you and your family do have those yearly images to look back on for generations to come.

So, what makes a great holiday photo? There’s the obvious things like getting good lighting, making sure everyone is smiling, having a festive background, and so-on.

But even the most perfect photo can feel a little ho-hum if it’s no different looking than every other photo you’ve snapped all year. So how about adding a bit of a vintage look to it? 

This can be particularly effective if you’re going to print the photo and put it on a wall or in an album. Having a print of a family portrait can be such a wonderful thing. And honestly, it’s really inexpensive. You can get an 8×10 photo printed for less than ten bucks (and an inexpensive frame can be just as affordable), which is a small price to pay for a memory on the wall. 

Applying and customizing a designer preset with DxO FilmPack

OK, let’s assume you’re buying into this crazy idea of mine, and you’re going to actually do it. How do you decide, and create, that look? A super easy and effective way to do that is with DxO FilmPack. The software/plug-in (it works as both) is not only adds a vintage look, but it adds an accurate vintage look. See, DxO FilmPack is all about replicating actual film stocks, from the color saturation and emphasis to the exposure/gamma curve to the film grain! For those of us who shot film, seeing an photo represented in Kodachrome 25 or Velvia or T-Max 100 can be a real treat. And for those who don’t know what any of those are, they’re still really pretty and cool looking!

If you know what you want, you’d an easily search and apply a specific look. But maybe you really don’t have any idea what will look best. In which case, you can just scroll through the presets previews, and click on any that grab your attention!

I’m going to chose one that I think works pretty well for this photo, called Arkadia.

With the Arkadia preset, we’re already off to a great start

When you expose the Image Settings in DxO FilmPack, you’ll see a lot of control. The best way to get to know it is to simply start dragging sliders around, to see what changes. Some will be really huge and obvious, while others might be more subtle. So let’s see what we can change on this photo to make it look even cooler.
Here I added a light leak called “Color Leak 1”, a texture overlay called “Stains 1”, added some vignetting and changed the Frame to “Slide 2”. OK maybe it’s a little bit of overkill, but it’s fun!
Do you like making your new photos look old? It’s a lot of fun to play with, and who cares if it’s not “real” by the time you’re done with it! Whether you’re looking to make an authentic film look, or do something totally wild, the choice is yours. Enjoy!
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