The Vintage Look

I see a lot of photographers post-process their digital photos to make them look “vintage”, so I thought I’d experiment a bit to see how it’s done. But first, I needed some photos to play with, so I dragged Kathy out this afternoon to be my model.

Once I had the photos, I looked around online for tutorials. Somewhat frustratingly, a lot of search hits took me to sites that were trying to sell Photoshop Actions, but I found this site that offered free Actions — but more importantly, breakdowns of what the actions were doing. I played around with some of the Actions on the site and settled on a modified version of Johnna’s Tea Party. I basically followed steps 1-5, then jumped straight to step 10, except I used Overlay instead of Soft Light for step 10. I set all of the adjustment layers to 35% opacity except for the Saturation layer in step 1.

Here’s the result:

To get a better idea of what’s going on, here’s a before/after comparison — before is on the left and after is on the right.

I also tried the Action on a couple of photos from the last post, just to see how they’d turn out. I think it works pretty well, but the effect is more subtle.

Engagement Photos

Kathy loves to browse wedding blogs and wedding photographers’ blogs for inspiration. They make everything look so easy. Maybe it’s just because we’ve been engaged for so long, so we’ve had a lot of time to over-think things, but our engagement photos were like planning for a mini-wedding.

It all started when Kathy won a free engagement photo session on a blog that she reads. As the date of our session got closer, Kathy started researching makeup. A few weeks before the shoot, we started scouting locations and picking outfits.

The location was the easy part. We decided on Laguna Beach, because it had a nice intimate-feeling shopping area right next to the beach. We went down one weekend and scouted out specific spots where we would go. Here’s Kathy taking notes.

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Picking something to wear was a lot harder. We didn’t want it to be too casual or too formal; we wanted to complement each other without matching completely. It took us two afternoons in our living room trying on outfits and posing for the camera before we finally settled on our outfits.

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When the day came, we arrived a little early. Jon brought his camera and we took some test shots on our own before we met our photographer. Good thing we did — we realized that what we thought was a smile barely registers as a smirk on camera. You have to smile REALLY BIG for it to look good in pictures.

At 4:00, we met up with Sean, our photographer. Sean was easy-going and fun to work with. He had lots of ideas for poses, and the pictures turned out great!

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Towards the end, we had a little extra time, so we stopped by Johnny Rockets. Sean loves shakes, so we bought him one as a “thank you” present. We also had him take a modern version of this “famous” high school photo.


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Taking Engagement Photos

Kathy and I took engagement photos today. Update: The first few photos are up on Sean’s blog — thanks Sean, they look great! As with most things, I totally underestimated the amount of effort involved. We had to scout a location, find things to wear, Kathy had to test makeup… it’s not just showing up and getting your photo taken.

We chose Laguna Beach for our engagement photo site. The first four photos in this post are from a few weeks back when we went to scout the location. We were kind of messing around when I took this one, but I liked how it came out.

The next photo was taken on our porch. Kathy was testing her makeup and wanted to see how it looked through the camera. It was raining outside, so I used the reflector to bounce some light back from the darker (inner) side of the porch.

The last two were taken today while we were waiting for our photographer to arrive. Since I got my 5D MkII, I have been using my 24-105mm almost exclusively, so today I made it a point to use my 50mm 1.4 prime. I love how this one turned out.