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How To Get The Perfect Vintage Effect

By Nikki | Inspiration

In the past 10 years or so, the allure of the vintage aesthetic has basically blown up. Clothing is vintage. Hairstyles are vintage. Picture frames are vintage. Do you know why this aesthetic has become so popular? Because it’s freakin’ adorable, that's why.

Another reason why this look is so appealing is because it's simple, yet elegant, which is why vintage-style photographs have become increasingly popular. I have a friend who collects vintage photographs of strangers and old architecture from yard sales and repurposes them into different forms of extremely funky art. While having pictures of strangers up on your walls is cool and all, wouldn’t it be much cooler to take your own pictures and give them that classy, vintage look?

Lucky for you, person on the internet, it’s easier than you may think, and you don’t even have to buy fancy film and steal your mom’s old Nikon from the 80’s! With the help of BeFunky’s online photo editor, you can give the perfect vintage feel—whether you want soft and muted, or bold and dramatic—to any photo. I'll show you how BeFunky’s excellent vintage-inspired filters and editing tools will help turn your modern photos into vintage masterpieces.

Step 1: Finding the Perfect Subject

If you’re picky like I am, this is sometimes easier said than done. For vintage edits, it’s not necessary to have vintage-style objects in the photograph, but, for this “How-To,” I have chosen a photo of a really cool vintage panel van and Airstream trailer to emphasize the authenticity of BeFunky’s vintage editing options.

Well, aren’t you pretty?
Well, aren’t you pretty?

Step 2: Sharpen the Image with Editing Tools

BeFunky’s editing tools are great for adding that little extra oomph to a photo before adding filters, frames, and the like. The great thing about these tools is that you can adjust them to taste, which cuts the fear of your photos looking over edited. First, I go with beautify to liven up the picture, and then I hit it with the sharpen tool to give it some nice definition:

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Next, I move over to vignette to give the edges of my picture some fade. My goal for this picture is to present a softened version of the vintage look, so I choose white to color the edges of the photo instead of the usual black. If you’re looking to make your photo more dramatic, then the black vignette is a great tool to add that depth and mystery.

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Step 3: Find the Right Filter

I am a no frills kind of girl, so the fact that BeFunky allows you to adjust the strength of their filters is very exciting for me. Because vintage style can mean so many different things to so many people, there are various filters that can be used to achieve several unique vintage looks. BeFunky has a number of variations of black and white filters that fit the vintage aesthetic, as well as good ol’ sepia. They also have filters called “Old Photo” which give a very nice vintage feel as well. It’s truly dealer’s choice, and after funking around with all of them, I landed on the “Vintage Colors” category.

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As I am going for a warmer effect, I choose Vintage Colors 2 as my filter:

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After adjusting it according to my liking, I’m feeling pretty confident in my photo.

Step 4: Framing

Choosing a frame for photos is often thrown in as an afterthought, but I feel that selecting the right frame could either make or break a picture. Because I am going for a clean, simple look, I go to “Frames” then select “Drop Shadow”:

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Because of its rounded edges, the Drop Shadow frame gives the picture a bit of a softer feel to it, and the shadows beneath the border give it depth.

Step 5: Add Texture

So far, I’m pretty happy with my picture, but I think that it’s missing just that little extra spark to qualify as a vintage masterpiece. I go to the “Textures” category and choose “Paper 6”:

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​Aww, yeeaahhh!

Step 6: Save Your Photo and Prosper

I know that I probably don’t need to say this, but SAVE YOUR PHOTO. I have lost so many pictures that I had spent hours editing all because I just forgot to hit save. It’s easy; it’s literally only three clicks.

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After all this, I can happily say that I have achieved the vintage look I was going for and will proudly display my photo on all of my social media profiles to brag about how I found a time machine, went back to the 1940’s, and took this picture of a super cool panel van and airstream, even though I’m probably way off on the dates.

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