Creating Vintage Style Fine Art Photography With Romance

by Catherine Jeltes in Inside My Artwork


Traditional Photography Or Digital?

When I studied fine art photography in college, it was traditional:  darkrooms, film, and chemicals.  As technology advanced, I swore I would remain a purist–no digital for me.  Uh uh.  No way.  My honeymoon trip to Italy convinced me otherwise.  Not wishing to track rolls and rolls of film through customs, I caved and bought a digital camera.  Oh…My…God.  Suddenly, I no longer needed to be patient.  Instant gratification was mine–all mine.  No more wondering (“Did I get the shot”?)  I could immediately check and see, know, and move on.  Or shoot again until I was satisfied.  Perfect.  And no locking myself in dark closets for hours on end to line up holes on a steel reel to develop my film, only to chance ruining my perfect shot if I loaded the film onto the reel incorrectly.  I was easily seduced.  Quite happily I tossed tradition aside to embrace my new love.
Because technology has made it so much easier for inexperienced photographers to shoot better images, the web is chock full of photography:  some fabulous, some good, and some….well, not so good.  Regardless of the quality of the camera, the technological skills learned in the darkroom still apply to create great fine art photography–digital or not.  Combine that with a proficiency in Photo Shop and the creative range is limitless. 

Vintage Style…With Romance

Aged, battered, weathered, sun faded…I adore the look of old photographs.  Applying this vintage style to modern images adds a bit of romance and instant connection–dragging memories to surface.  The layer tool in PhotoShop is key to achieving a vintage quality
to digital photographs. 
Sometimes it is as simple as adding a torn and aged border to a photograph as I’ve done here with Winter Asters. 
Another way to unearth that vintage appeal is to add a sun faded photo layer to an image as in The Blue Window. 
Warm tones (think sepia) go a long way to giving an aged antique quality to photographs.  When just a hint of color is allowed to peek through, the photo acquires the appearance of a traditional hand colored photograph.  Adding a smudged black frame edge to border the image also adds a nice retro touch.
Perhaps my most favorite way to add a vintage quality to an image is to use PhotoShop’s “Old Photo” effect, which gives a lovely textural appeal.  Look closely at Mockingbird and you will see faded vertical and horizontal lines throughout that create an almost woven type of fabric texture. 
Play around with the opaqueness of the layer to get the range of the effect desired.
Adding vintage style effects to images allows me to shape my fine art photography into a style more in tune with me, shaping it into my own unique art vision.