Lightroom Instagram Filters – Vintage Photo Filters Without Presets or Plugins
| by Dawn Danko | Pictures By Mom | Where Moms Learn Photography |
We recently did an engagement photography session for one of our wedding clients who requested a vintage style photo filter effect on their engagement photos.
Of course, when you think of vintage style photo filters, you’re probably thinking about that quintessential Instagram filter style that is so popular.
But what you might not know is that many of the popular Instagram filter styles mimic actual vintage photography processing techniques, and some natural film photograph aging characteristics too.
To make my own Lightroom Instagram filter effect, I used a mix of a traditional cross processed photograph, an aged vintage photograph and some vintage camera effects. I did everything in Lightroom from scratch, without using any pre-made Lighroom Instagram filter presets or Lightroom Instagram filter plugins.
Vintage Film Processing Techniques
One of the film processing techniques that Instagram appropriated is called cross processing.
Essentially, film that was cross processed was developed using developing chemistry meant for a different type of film.
This resulted in different color tints and contrasts in the shadow and highlight areas of cross processed film prints.
A classic vintage cross processed look is to have a dark blue tint to the shadows and a yellowish orange tint to the highlights. This is the cross processed vintage film look that I applied to these engagement photos using the cross processing feature in Lightroom.
Aged Photo Filter
Along with a cross processed look, I wanted to give the finished photos the look of an aged photo.
When photograph prints age naturally, they tend to fade, resulting in reduced contrast. The paper can also yellow to varying degrees.
Our normal processing style results in photos that are very vibrant and sharp, so I didn’t go too heavy on making these images look too faded and old in Lightroom.
Vintage Camera Effects
To complete the Lighroom Instagram filter effect, I added a few features common to old, vintage cameras.
Because vintage cameras don’t have as good optics as modern cameras, many older photos tend to have a heavy vignette around the edges. A dark vignette is also common to many Instagram filters, so I applied the same Instagram filter vignette look in Lightroom.
Finally, when exposed film is stored in a camera for a long time, or if it is left rolled up in a film canister, you often get what is called light leaks that show up as orange, red or magenta flares when the film is eventually developed.
As the name implies, light leaks are from a small amount of light leaking into the vintage camera body or film canister, which then inadvertently exposes parts of the film inside. Light leaks tend to be constrained to the edges of photos, because when a roll of film is stored in a camera body or canister, it is rolled up with only the edges exposed.
So, to complete the Lightroom Instagram filter effect, I added some random light leak flares around the edges of the photos by using a colorized gradient with Lightroom’s gradient tool.
What Do You Think?
Do you think these photos have that trendy Instagram filter look? Any questions on how you can make Lightroom Instagram filters yourself?