Here is a quick way to age your photos in Lightroom.
Find the image you want to use and then press D to go to the Develop Module.
In the Preset menus on the left go to the Lightroom Color Preset menu and click on the first one called oddly enough… Â Â Â “Aged Photo.”
Now you could finish here if it looks ok, but one of the things about presets is that they can work wonderfully on one image and then look like crap on another, so even if you like the look, you will probably have to tweak it a little to get the best results. (Some factors that can affect the presets outcomeÂ are resolution and contrast and tone of the image. For instance, a lower resolution image will show more Grain effect than a higher resolution with the same settings applied.)
You mayÂ want to have a preset that is your own special sauce and not follow the rest of the world by using a default setting. Or it could be you have control issues… like me and feel less empowered if you use theÂ default settings 😀 Â So let’s make our own.
With the Aged Photo preset applied, go to the Basic panel and start playing. I tried to think about what makes an image old and weathered… lack of saturation and possibly a little yellowing or Sepia toning. Aged Photo preset did a pretty good job with that, but I want to tweak it a bit more. (Side note… As we discovered last week, I am color-blind, so don’t focus on my coloring but pay attention to the technique, just in case this should look a little weird. However I did have Corey Barker come in and check my colors… so if it is wrong… blame him. :D)
Here is a list of tweaks… The goal is to replicate the lower tonal range of yesteryearÂ along with the effects of fading. This is why the Shadows should get lighter and the Contrast gets flatter.
Increased: Warmth, Shadows and Clarity (Didn’t really need to tweak Clarity, but I think I did it out of habit.)
Decreased: Highlights, Contrast, Whites, Blacks, Vibrance and Saturation
An extra step that doesn’t seem that important, but can have a very positive effect is to add Grain, and like I mentioned earlier, these settings will need to be adjusted according to resolution.
Once you have all the settings how you like it, then you will want to save that Preset by going to the Preset menu on the left and clicking on the plus sign… make sure that all of the effects that you have applied are checked, including Grain. Name your preset… I called mine “ye old” to help remember what it is. You may find that this preset works great on darker images, but on lighter images is too much… so then you could make a second one that lowers some settings and call it “ye old light.” In other words, you can make a group of presets that take into account your different needs as far as exposure etc… and have them just one click away.
Here is the final result of “ye old” preset…
Now you can go to any other image and apply ‘ye old” and hopefully not have to do too much tweaking… however,Â you know how to tweak it and then make your own… and that is no bull! Sorry I couldn’t resist. Hope this inspires you to have fun.