Antiquing Techniques for Photoshop

Old Shiloh School Photomatix copy

Lately I’ve been very impressed with the work of Flickr photographer K. Deslandes. She has been capturing some unique images of our state, particularly old farm houses and images of the disappearing South. She has been applying some interesting post-processing techniques in Photoshop/LightRoom that I wanted to replicate. Here’s one photo of hers that had caught my eye…

There are several elements contributing to the antique feel here. First, the photo uses square framing instead of rectangular. There is also the desaturated sepia tonal palette. The sepia doesn’t look overdone, as I’ve seen in some processed photos, but looks like a natural fading from the original black and white.

While these two elements contribute to the antique look, there are two others that really make this shot stand out. Deslandes has used a selective blur to mimic lens abberations in an older camera. On top of that she has added other image defects, such as spotting and scratching. What’s nice about this shot is that the image defects are in sharp focus, even in the areas that have selective blur, such as can be seen in the top corners of the photo. This makes the defects look like they occurred over time, after years of abuse to the photo.

I’ve worked with antiquing before, following a tutorial on the Digital Photography School blog. The tutorial suggests using a Gaussian blur, but it also suggests introducing some noise into the background. That tends to detract from the blur effect a bit, so I hadn’t really focused on the blurring technique. Deslandes photo reminded me how effective a good selective blur can be. Continue reading “Antiquing Techniques for Photoshop”