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Forums > Digital Art and Retouching > Trying to replicate 90-130 year old portraits Search   Reply
Photographer
Tom Nardi
Posts: 9
Hermosa Beach, California, US


A friend recently bought a house that was built in the 1880’s.  I’m going to take some family portraits for him to hang inside the house.  My goal is to replicate photo’s from the 1880-1920’s.  I’ve been searching around on google and I haven’t come across any tutorials that capture what I am trying to do.  Although I’ve found plenty of images that reflect what I want to do.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to process the images in post? 
I’m almost going for a sepia meets instagram type of look.  I want the right shadings, colors, texture to the paper etc.  I want the portraits to appear like they are 90-130 years old.

Thanks

Tom
Mar 23 13 09:23 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Srefis Limited
Posts: 960
Asheville, North Carolina, US


I highly suggest getting a 4x5 camera and getting some outdated film and shoot like it should be shot and process normally. And when you develop do some negative contrast so they are somewhat faint.
Mar 23 13 09:35 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Schlake
Posts: 2,342
Socorro, New Mexico, US


I made a camera out of a box, a blanket, a lens, and some parchment paper.  I shoot the image projected onto the parchment paper with a regular digital camera.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-cMTe1UWPd7U/US7uCJH-iPI/AAAAAAAAUvk/UTA9yfvdby0/s640/2013-02-27-8962.jpg

No fakery needed!
Mar 23 13 09:41 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
pellepiano
Posts: 2,268
Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden


The most important thing is to style the family. Hair and clothes. That is what gives the feeling of the time.
And also test to use natural light and long shutter times to replicate how things was shot then.
Although I’ve found plenty of images that reflect what I want to do.

II would advise you to post one instead of trying to describe it, to avoid confusion/interpretation.

Mar 24 13 01:45 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Will Snizek Photography
Posts: 1,387
Beckley, West Virginia, US


Depends on how easy you want things to be.  If you want the easy route, there are plenty of Photoshop actions that will do this for you, but they might not be perfect.  I'd suggest building your own camera.  Pinhole photography was used a lot in those days and even a small child can build a pinhole camera.  If you're using digital, you can even just use a lens cover with a pinhole in it.

You can take it further and build a camera that doesn't need any modern film processing.   You can print photos on a variety of materials they used then..just depends how deep and authentic you want to take it.
Mar 24 13 04:09 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ThomasBlanchardFineArt
Posts: 219
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US


Tom Nardi wrote:
A friend recently bought a house that was built in the 1880’s.  I’m going to take some family portraits for him to hang inside the house.  My goal is to replicate photo’s from the 1880-1920’s.  I’ve been searching around on google and I haven’t come across any tutorials that capture what I am trying to do.  Although I’ve found plenty of images that reflect what I want to do.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to process the images in post? 
I’m almost going for a sepia meets instagram type of look.  I want the right shadings, colors, texture to the paper etc.  I want the portraits to appear like they are 90-130 years old.

Thanks

Tom

To answer your initial software question for post.   I'd highly recommend trying out the trial versions of both Alienskin Exposure 4 and onOne Perfect Effects 4 if you are looking for an easy way to get some great effects.   Sepias ... Paper textures ... Grunge ... Borders etc. 

Tom

Mar 24 13 06:47 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Peano
Posts: 4,106
Lynchburg, Virginia, US


pellepiano wrote:
I would advise you to post one instead of trying to describe it, to avoid confusion/interpretation.

+1

Mar 24 13 07:46 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Virtual Studio
Posts: 5,617
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Take your finished prints and then physically artificially age them.

Professional fakers commonly use techniques like slow baking in a low heat oven, rubbing with used tea bags, lightly rubbing with wire wool.
Mar 24 13 07:56 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DigitalWorldNY
Posts: 36
Coxsackie, New York, US


you could also try making a pinhole camera using a digitl camera and a body cap. No lens needed
Mar 24 13 08:02 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Looknsee Photography
Posts: 21,153
Portland, Oregon, US


Tom Nardi wrote:
A friend recently bought a house that was built in the 1880’s.  I’m going to take some family portraits for him to hang inside the house.  My goal is to replicate photo’s from the 1880-1920’s.  I’ve been searching around on google and I haven’t come across any tutorials that capture what I am trying to do.  Although I’ve found plenty of images that reflect what I want to do.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to process the images in post? 
I’m almost going for a sepia meets instagram type of look.  I want the right shadings, colors, texture to the paper etc.  I want the portraits to appear like they are 90-130 years old.

1)  The easy way:  Get this free download add-on:  Virtual Photographer.  It has tons of enhancements for digital images, including a few "aging" effects.  Try these.

2)  The hard way:
...  Use outdated B&W film.
...  Get your subjects to dress in period clothing.
...  Set up a setting with period furniture & accessories.
...  Use bright light.  Window light is good.
...  Use a deep brown (or orange) filter, to get those weird light brown eyes.
...  Process normally.  Scan the negative or print.
...  Rev up the contrast a bit.
...  Apply heavy sepia toning.

Good luck.

Mar 24 13 08:26 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Gabby57
Posts: 401
Coppell, Texas, US


Since you asked specifically about post processing, I'll forgo discussion of wardrobe, paper negatives, salt prints etc. (though I'm really getting interested in the later items).

After taking the image covert it to black and white, I suggest getting the 30 day trial of Topaz B&W Effects to play with. 

Then take a look at this tutorial; http://www.digitalimagemagazine.com/blo … l-painter/  it may be adaptable to Photoshop with some smudging involved in the final step, (or maybe Topaz Simplify?), even though it's written for painter.

This is what I did on my current avatar.

Another idea is to search for some free Daguerreotype textures, there are several floating around.  Convert to B&W, put the texture over it in overlay or soft light (or a layer of each), gently erase or otherwise vignette to see the details and daub some purple and orange around the edges with a charcoal type brush in PS.  You can also do some colorizing with this technique.  Here are a couple of examples I did.

http://photocamel.com/gallery/data/500/TheMinstrelBoy.jpg
http://photocamel.com/gallery/data/500/medium/Q-P_SittingLadies.jpg
Mar 24 13 11:00 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
NothingIsRealButTheGirl
Posts: 32,809
Los Angeles, California, US


Shoot everything in without artificial light.

Don't shoot anything with a shutter speed faster than 10 - 20 seconds. Make your subjects hold that pose.

Reds are dark. Blues are bright.
Mar 24 13 12:26 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Tom Nardi
Posts: 9
Hermosa Beach, California, US


Wow, so many great thoughts and ideas. 

The outfits, hair styles and accessories will be taken care of.  They are getting finalized / fitted this week.  I don’t know yet what exact time period they picked as in 1880s vs. 1920s.  It was going to depend in part on what they could find that fits their children.
 
I do like the idea of a pinhole camera.  I haven’t used one since I was a kid in summer camp.  I might make one and if there is time at the end of the shoot use it.  But right now I’m most comfortable shooting digitally and I figure this would be a great way to enhance my PS skills.

I have onOne Perfect Effects.  I have to play around with it more.  I feel my results still look a little too digitally manipulated.  I’m hoping this will change with practice.  I will also check out some of the other plugins.

I haven’t decided on a specific look I’m trying to recreate.  I’m fairly flexible and it part it will be decided by which specific time period they get outfits from.  I'm probably going to try looks from too time periods.   

I’m looking at these for inspiration.


http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=htt … Dg&dur=382

http://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=i … 8876262741

http://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=i … 9510917537

Thanks again for all the great suggestions.
Mar 24 13 12:27 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Tom Nardi
Posts: 9
Hermosa Beach, California, US


Tom Nardi wrote:
Wow, so many great thoughts and ideas. 

The outfits, hair styles and accessories will be taken care of.  They are getting finalized / fitted this week.  I don’t know yet what exact time period they picked as in 1880s vs. 1920s.  It was going to depend in part on what they could find that fits their children.
 
I do like the idea of a pinhole camera.  I haven’t used one since I was a kid in summer camp.  I might make one and if there is time at the end of the shoot use it.  But right now I’m most comfortable shooting digitally and I figure this would be a great way to enhance my PS skills.

I have onOne Perfect Effects.  I have to play around with it more.  I feel my results still look a little too digitally manipulated.  I’m hoping this will change with practice.  I will also check out some of the other plugins.

I haven’t decided on a specific look I’m trying to recreate.  I’m fairly flexible and it part it will be decided by which specific time period they get outfits from.  I'm probably going to try looks from too time periods.   

I’m looking at these for inspiration.


http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=htt … Dg&dur=382

http://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=i … 8876262741

http://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=i … 9510917537

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=htt … g&dur=4614

Thanks again for all the great suggestions.

Sorry if this is a double post, I'm still trying to figure out how to properly post images.  I guess that should be my first goal./  Thanks again.
Mar 24 13 12:34 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Schlake
Posts: 2,342
Socorro, New Mexico, US


Tom Nardi wrote:
Sorry if this is a double post, I'm still trying to figure out how to properly post images.  I guess that should be my first goal./  Thanks again.

You can just link them, which I think is more polite if there are lots of them or it is one really large one, or you put them in BBcodes  (http://www.bbcode.org/) like this:

[img]url-to-image[/img]

And looking at your links, I'd suggest not hot-linking them.  None of the ones I checked appear to be images you own/host, and hotlinking is rude.  So the clickable links you provided are probably best.

Mar 24 13 01:07 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JOEL McDONALD
Posts: 608
Portland, Oregon, US


If you really want to be authentic and unique then,

....Make a simple pin-hole camera with old 4x5 b/w sheet film or photo paper, develop, print and scan them, then go to post.

http://www.kodak.com/ek/US/en/Pinhole_Camera.htm
Mar 24 13 02:48 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kevin Connery
Posts: 16,789
El Segundo, California, US


Why a pinhole? They had multi-element lenses.

By 1890, Kodak was thriving, with roll-film cameras as well as glass plate-based cameras.

http://www.infomercantile.com/images/9/9e/Father-and-Two-Daughters-1890s.jpg
1890's. Is everything within depth of field and diffraction limited? (No. Thus, not a pinhole.)

Here is a slideshow from the Duchess of Devonshire's Ball in 1897; it's one of the best recorded/documented costume parties of the era because it was so heavily photographed.

(Non-video from someone else here, showing a few dozen of the photographs taken at the event.)

http://rbkclocalstudies.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/lady-margaret-villiers-as-madame-henriette-duchess-dorleans-page-65-copy1.jpg
Mar 25 13 03:14 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Tom Nardi
Posts: 9
Hermosa Beach, California, US


Schlake wrote:

You can just link them, which I think is more polite if there are lots of them or it is one really large one, or you put them in BBcodes  (http://www.bbcode.org/) like this:

[img]url-to-image[/img]

And looking at your links, I'd suggest not hot-linking them.  None of the ones I checked appear to be images you own/host, and hotlinking is rude.  So the clickable links you provided are probably best.

That's why I was hesitant to post anything in the first place. Thanks for the tips.  Much appreciated  - Tom

Mar 25 13 07:19 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Phantasmal Images
Posts: 587
Boston, Massachusetts, US


The Space Cowboy wrote:
Shoot everything in without artificial light.

Don't shoot anything with a shutter speed faster than 10 - 20 seconds. Make your subjects hold that pose.

Reds are dark. Blues are bright.

Yellow will also appear dark.

Mar 26 13 12:23 am  Link  Quote 
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