I'd like to get a similar vintage/retro blur look shown in these images below, using Adobe Photoshop.

What would be the best strategy to use to mimic these images effectively?

first example second example

  • 4
    You mean other than it was saved at such low jpg quality that there's more artefact than picture? It's pretty hard to tell what the original may have looked like behind all that noise, but tbh, if you're hunting some generic 'type' try 'polaroid' - it kind of has that overcooked intensity & low-res soft edges. – Tetsujin Oct 3 '18 at 18:20
  • Look at some Camera Raw presets like VSCO, which emulate different types of film including polaroid and expired film, which may give you this "feel" with little effort. – Lucian Oct 4 '18 at 12:06

I see no blur. There's more going on here I think.

This is a quick and easy vintage photo effect for the most recent version of Photoshop CC. Convert the image layer to a Smart Object, and apply the Camera RAW Filter. Click on the Presets tab, and under the Creative presets choose Vintage Instant, and under the Grain presets choose Heavy. Or go wild and try out as many presets as you want!

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  • That's actually a nice 'insta-tweak' & definitely in the right direction. I do like the warming & the grain does give a hint - but it doesn't scream polaroid like the OP's pics do, even ignoring the 'jpegginess'. I do think the blur is just soft-focus which is a polaroid 'classic' trait, more so as they age & the dyes bleed. – Tetsujin Oct 3 '18 at 19:27
  • @Tetsujin well, yes but I'm not going to do a full tutorial, but more could be done like putting it in a polaroid frame, and adding some vignetting perhaps - there are also vignette presets in the Camera RAW Filter. – Billy Kerr Oct 3 '18 at 19:32
  • Yeah, sorry - I'm getting all nostalgic... 'back in the day' when everybody had a Polaroid cassette for the back of the Hasselblad.... whereas these days you just look at the screen ;-)) – Tetsujin Oct 3 '18 at 19:34
  • & some of the 'chic/retro/schlock' of the OP's pics is the single hand-held fill-flash look. It's not all in the colour gamut/lack of definition. – Tetsujin Oct 3 '18 at 19:40
  • @Tetsujin I have collection of film cameras, some of which I still use, none are instant, but I'm very proud of a 1960's Kodak Retinette Ib I rescued from a neighbour's bucket. c2.staticflickr.com/4/3940/15524144871_bf359f4444_b.jpg - there really is nothing to beat a real old camera. – Billy Kerr Oct 3 '18 at 19:41

Grain, Gaussian Blur and LUT

The images you have provided have a slight blur because they are photos of photos which are slightly out of focus. The grain you see and some of the discolouration is from the printing process and natural ageing of the materials used.

To mimic this and produce a retro look do the following.

This is best done with smart filters.

  • Add some grain - Adjust to your preferences.
  • Ad some lens blur - Adjust to your preferences.
  • Add a LUT via the LUT adjustment layer

If you have no LUTs that work well, you can use a top layer of colours then use blend modes and opacity to create similar effects.

In the below example, I painted green orange and blue on the screen, then gaussian blurred it, then applied the Multiple blend mode and reduced the opacity to 52%

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*In this final version, I prefer my own retro colour adjustment over the Photoshop LUDs. However, some plugins are very good at this and would do a better job.

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