Art, Fine Art Photography, Fine Art Portraits, Photography

Trying the Old New on Old Images

Confusing title, I know, but I didn’t know what else to call it. Since I have been trying to antique images, I wanted to apply some of the techniques to my portraits, but I didn’t want to just straight out antique them.  I wanted to be able to use the technique, but also have them still have some colour.  So I went through some photos I took a couple of months ago and found one to experiment on.

LeanneCole-emelia-5037I was enjoying this image, until I did something I didn’t like, but I couldn’t just delete it, so decided to see if I could live with it.  I was trying to imagine 15th and 16th century paintings and the look of them for these.  I don’t think I quite achieved what I was hoping for, but I do like some parts of it.

LeanneCole-emelia-5040So instead of redoing the whole image, I decided to get another image and copy all the layers onto it.  It worked to a certain extent but I had to delete some of the layers.

I like that the images are not straight black and white, or very colourful images.  I like that you can tell her hair is red, for instance, but it isn’t in your face.  I like to think that you focus on her face and the look and then look where she is looking.

There are aspects I really like, but I wonder if this technique would work better if I had a clear idea of what I was going to do when I was taking the images.  I think I am getting to the stage where I need to start considering these sorts of things.


  1. The thing that blows the first image for me is how white her face is. I suppose that might be a plus if you want the eye drawn to it and stay there, but she still looks kind of sickly. The second one is a lot closer to what I suspect you’re going for. Can’t help but wonder how it might look if the entire second image was a wee bit faded.

    • Yeah the face is the bit I stuffed up and couldn’t change. I hadn’t thought of fading, maybe I should consider it, thanks Gunta.

  2. Love your work. Starting a photoshop course next month I hope I can understand layers and start working with them. Thanks for sharing and the videos I find very helpful.

    • That is great, learning new things is always brilliant. You will know a lot when you are finished, good luck, and thank you.

  3. Absolutely beautiful! I love the antiquing you did with it! It adds softness, romance, a gorgeous color and feel to the photos! These are absolutely stunning and she is absolutely gorgeous! I love the way you captured her! She glows, she just looks like she is in love and glows from it! I am in love with these photos!! The antiquing color completely compliments her and really bring her out! I could look at these for hours!

    • I believe when I put her into this position I got her to think about her boyfriend, which would explain the glow. Thank you so much, what you have said is wonderful.

  4. I really like the second image, I’m not sure you achieved the look you were after, but it is beautiful none-the-less. The first looks too “processed”, but, like you, I like the faded image that hints at it’s colours.

    • It is a good beginning, but I need to work on the ideas some more. Glad you like them, thank you. The first one didn’t really work, but that is okay, that is how we learn.

  5. How lovely this is .
    From the effect .. the pose .. your model .. the focus as you say .. it got me thinking .
    .. with a new babe in arms I would have loved to have had an timeless image of motherhood created for me like this Leanne .

  6. Sonel says

    Just absolutely beautiful Leanne and yes, you are right…when you want to apply techniques like this one photo’s you must keep in mind what is going to be the best for it and think ahead. The second shot is my favourite. :D *big hugs*

    • Thank you Sonel. It is interesting working out which images I can use, and how to process them. I am getting a much better idea of what works and what doesn’t. I love that. I think the second image works better as well. :)

    • I like that Marie, interesting. No, it doesn’t have the same look as a 15 16th century painting, but I like what you have said.

  7. Really liked images. Felt second was better as subject seems more composed and as you say, the eye finds her face, then looks down (eye more jumpy in first). Bit like contemp Pre-Raph with dress n flowers n red hair. I Like the subdued colours. V interesting.

  8. i love the way you do post process on the 2nd image. the color was good, it conform with the mood of the subject.

    • That is fantastic to hear, it is interesting trying different things, I think the second worked better. Thank you.

  9. maybe lightening the background so outline of the subject stands out a little more….? what i would do, and just blur any sharp line it causes with smudge tool.

    • Maybe, I don’t know, it was an experiment, and I think to do images with this kind of processing, I would need to use a completely different type of image. Interesting experiment. Thank you.

  10. The second image is lovely. It has a richness in tone that the first one lacks.

    • Thank you John, I stuffed up her face in the first one, I was trying to give it a special highlight and went to far, not great, but I did learn.

  11. I usually have an idea of where I am going with an image, but then somewhere during the post processing the image “speaks” to me and I rarely end up where I thought I would be. I do like the warm flesh face in the second image. For me the first image face has the pallor of death – which conflicts the happy face…

    • I love that Robert, I have the same problem. I have these ideas in my head of what I want, and then it all goes elsewhere. I was trying something on the face in the first one, and it went to far and when I tried to go back, I couldn’t go back far enough, so I had to start again,and I thought instead of starting again on the same image, I thought I would try a different one. It is something I would like to try doing more of though. Thank you Robert.

  12. I think the second one is the best, the warmer tone helps more to create a vintage tone. It certainly helps to have an idea of what you want the image to look like before you start editing but sometimes just experimenting and trying stuff might positively surprise you also.

    • I think the second one did work a lot better. When I took these images, I had a whole other thing planned for them, but I wanted to see if I did a cross between two types of processing if it would work. It did in some ways, not in others. Experimenting is great, and yes, you do get some lovely surprises sometimes. Thank you.

    • Thank you Jessica, there are things in the first one that I really like, but I don’t like her face. I might have to try it again.

  13. I love the direction you’re heading. You aren’t quite there yet but I have no doubt you will get there. You photographs are so wonderfully painterly … quite magical … Maybe it’s an angle of light??

    • Thank you, I agree, I still have some things to iron out, but I do like where I am going. Thank you so much for those lovely words.

  14. You said: “There are aspects I really like, but I wonder if this technique would work better if I had a clear idea of what I was going to do when I was taking the images.”

    I strongly recommended you having a clear idea of what you want to express before pressing the shutter of your camera. This makes it easier for you to plan both the photographic session and the editing process.

    I always carry a notebook in which I draw sketches or write down ideas for my projects.

    • I am pretty sure I also said that I didn’t take these images for this processing, they were taken for something else, and I wanted to see how they would work with this technique., The more shoots I do the better I get at it. I used to hate having a preconceived idea of what I wanted first, as then I always seemed to get disappointed, but I am getting better at it.

      Of course we all work differently, take different shots, and think differently. I do always have a notebook with me to write things down, have done that for many, many, many years.

  15. The first still seems to have a lot of potential – you don’t have a ‘starting’ file to revert back to for another try?

    • I always have the start file, so to speak. The original image is always left in it’s original state. I don’t know about starting again, they were experiments and think at this stage that is what they should stay at, but I may try some of the techniques with other images, see how they go. Thanks Colonialist.

  16. I love the overall feel of the second image. I can see where you’re coming from, but I really like the fact that you are not slavishly following the look of the period – the tension between past and present is a really nice one.

    • Thank you Richard, no I am not trying to copy it completely, just getting ideas really. I like that tension too, that idea that the image looks old, but it is not as it exists now, if that makes any sense. Interesting idea, I like playing with them.

  17. The second image is quite beautiful, Leanne, and does have that ‘old’ look of many aged images…don’t know exactly how you achieved it, but it certainly was worth the experiment!

    • Thank you 1000, I wonder if it is a little too dark though and wonder whether I should have lightened it up a bit, then again, I wanted that old time dark background look. Still more experimenting needs to be done.

      • Yes, the tweaking begins, and never really stops, :) I love tweaking and I know you do too. How is the new computer going?

      • Working well except…the graphics driver is only 8 bit (!?), so I have some screen res problems. My computer guy and I worked Fri night for about 3 hours, trying to download a new driver, but Microsoft wouldn’t let the 8 bit go. We tried everything, as I had been doing, and both became frustrated. I DO have an HDMI cable from the monitor (which the system finally recognized–THAT was another problem!), so he ordered a graphics card for HDMI and will install later this week. He says everything will improve and get corrected. We’ll see, as I don’t understand that much yet about HDMI.

      • That is a bit frustrating, I hope you can get it worked out. Nothing more frustrating than not being able to work the way you to for any reason. Good luck with it all.

      • I bet you are looking forward to that. I love my set up, wouldn’t mind a faster computer, but what I Have now is okay.

      • When my guy replaced the CPU, he also added another Gig of RAM, so now I have 8! Really fast, Photoshop loads in under a second! Just can’t wait for this driver situation to be ironed out though, as I do a lot of my cropping using Transform/Distort…it’s really tough when the visual is horizontally elongated, so I’m having to go by numbers…and plain old luck!

      • Nice, it is nice when the computer starts working faster. Sometimes you have to work like that. Good luck with it all.

      • Don’t worry about me, I’ve been a bit the same, so much happening around here right now. I am so behind, but will catch up eventually.

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