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Over the past few months, I’ve been testing out the features of Luminar. I’ve looked at the time-saving features that can help reduce your editing headaches. I’ve also played around with the AI filter to see how it holds up in quickly editing holiday photos and now it’s time to check Luminar’s capabilities when it comes to creating a retro look for your photos.
I wanted to know if Luminar would be quick, easy to use and create a look that tastefully gave my photos the look and feel of shooting with film.
To embark on this experiment, I studied some famous older photographs. My goal was to shoot a few images that paid tribute to the look and feel of old-school Hollywood. I saw this first image of Sophia Loren from the 1960’s and knew it was perfect. I love the style of dress from past eras and thought this would be a suitable project.
The goal was to create an image with a similar look and feel. I borrowed my friend Nahleen, she has some similar features to Sophia Loren. Once she agreed we set out to capture an image and then process for that 1960’s film look. Here’s the original image we took.
It was shot outdoors on a cold and frosty December afternoon. Nahleen has some similar features to Sophia Loren but is by no means a carbon copy. Instead, I was more interested in attaining a photo in which the fur hood framed her face.
So now that we had captured the image, it was time to bring it into Luminar. I tried to make to make the conversion as simple and quick to complete as possible. I will admit that I tried several times with different settings, etc. until I found a look that I felt was similar to the Sophia Loren image.
The AI Filter was used to bring out some contrast in the image. The photo of Sophia Loren was quite sharp and also had a fairly contrasty look, so my first goal was to pull out the dark tones and brighten my lighter tones to match more closely.
I then used the B&W Workspace to guide my editing of the photo. I adjusted several sliders. The intention was to increase the contrast and create some fairly strong blacks.
My final step was to add film grain. At first, I cranked up the amount of film grain. In this screenshot, you can see how strongly I adjusted it. I always like to adjust a setting by purposely using too much. Then I back off the amount until I find a nice balance.
The whole process was pretty quick. Once I found the right settings it didn’t take too long to recreate this retro look. The final photograph is dark and contrasty but also a little different from the original Sophia Loren shot.
In this second shot, I used a photo from a recent photo shoot in which I was working with a young lady to create a portfolio of modeling images. The 10-hour photo session was created using a very basic budget, but we made sure to utilize a retro outfit for this article.
The bell bottoms and the fur jacket were both found at the thrift store, as was the backdrop. We were working a tight space with limited materials.
For this shot, I decided to take advantage of Luminar’s free presets. There are lots of free presets available for download, and I was lucky enough to find a set of free analog-film looks.
The look of this image was very easy to create with just a few simple adjustments. I chose a cross-processing look and then tweaked it to my liking. The accompanying texture was applied pretty heavily. I found that it was overwhelming the image. So I chose to back off the strength of the texture.
I also cropped the image slightly and applied the Orton Effect filter. It quickly smoothed the model’s skin, and I didn’t need to go in and do any retouching on her face. This saved me quite a lot of time.
Finally, I took the image into Photoshop, where I cloned and added a layer to fill in the areas around the outside where you could see my living room in the original shot.
Luminar also has the capability to clone and add layers, but I’ll be honest there’s a part of me that will forever remain loyal to Photoshop for completing these parts of the editing process. This is partly why I really like Luminar – it works as a plug-in for Photoshop as well. I can move back and forth between the two programs pretty seamlessly.
For this final shot, I decided to edit the image fully in Luminar. I started from scratch with a RAW file. The goal was to experiment with the full editing capabilities of Luminar. The intention was to create a sepia look image that felt like an older faded photograph.
To start, I opened the B&W Workspace. It contains all the tools I needed for this conversion. That means I didn’t have to search through the list of filters to find anything.
Next, I applied the orange filter, cropped the image and adjusted contrast. I also adjusted the black and white sliders and played around with the strength of this first filter. I did consider creating a color image with a faded look but decided to go with full black and white.
After making these adjustments, I started to experiment with the Split Toning sliders. I gave the image a more brownish tone. This step took some experimentation with saturation and various colors.
After adding the split toning, it was time to add a vignette and film grain. Again I adjusted the grain so it was very heavy and then backed it off to a more suitable amount. The longest part of this whole process was finding a texture that I liked which I felt fit with the feel of the image I wanted to create. I tried several. Luminar comes with lots of free textures you can download. They all seemed to work quite nicely.
In the end, I chose a weathered-looking texture and used the brush tool to apply it to the image in varying amounts. I didn’t want a lot of heavy texture over her face. Here are the final results of my editing and experimentation. The image has a heavier texture application along with film grain and a stronger vignette. The B&W Workspace worked perfectly. It placed all the necessary tools right at my fingertips.
The final image includes the texture you see in the image above, but I backed it off quite a bit. Here are the results of the experiment. The application of the texture was reduced down to about 14. I didn’t want the effect to be as heavy-handed as in the image above.
In this final finished image, you can see the texture is most obvious around the edges. It’s a subtle texture called tattered that was available in the free downloads section of the Luminar webpage.
Luminar comes equipped with a full array of filters that can help you to create a retro look for your images in both black and white and color. Give it a try, they have a 14-day free trial.
Disclaimer: Macphun, soon to be Skylum, is a dPS advertising partner.
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