What is it about vintage photos that makes us feel nostalgic for the good old days? Maybe it’s because they remind us of a simpler time. Or maybe we just like their old-school aesthetic. Either way, sometimes a retro effect can really jazz up an average photo. Think about the romantic and timeless look of a black-and-white photograph taken on a film camera. The texture of the film grain and the imperfections and glitches captured by the analog machine give digital photos a dreamy haze. There’s a reason why so many of our social media posts from the early days are bathed in a warm sepia glow. We were all just trying to recreate the beauty of a bygone era!

Photo editing apps have come a long way since those days, and there are tons of vintage filters and features on the PicsArt app that can help you capture the vintage effect with masks, layers, and other special effects to take your photos back in time. Find all of the information you need and step-by-step instructions below to get started on creating your vintage aesthetic masterpiece!

What Is a Vintage Photo Filter?

Vintage photo effects

A vintage photo filter is the ultimate effect for applying a retro look to a digital photo. Vintage photo filters recreate the retro feel to mimic the classic style of a film camera. Whether you’re trying to recall the golden age of film by making your photo black and white, capture the glory days of the 1960s and ‘70s, create a totally tubular 1980s-inspired image, or grab onto the grunge vibe of the 1990s, the great thing about vintage filters is how easily they transform a digital photo from modern to retro. You can, of course, play around with different effects and masks to customize the vintage photo of your dreams. But even if you want to simply add a vintage touch to a photo in an instant, a vintage filter can quickly take your photo from ordinary to out of this world!

How Do You Add Vintage Photo Effects?

Vintage photo effect on guy

Follow the step-by-step instructions below to learn how to use PicsArt’s extensive photo editing tools to get started on adding vintage photo effects to your images. Check out PicsArt’s Free-to-Edit images tagged #vintageaesthetic to explore thousands of images, stickers, and gifs created by the PicsArt community for some vintage filter inspiration!

  • Upload Your Photo

Upload your image file to PicsArt using your usual editing process. You can also choose an image from PicsArt’s #FreeToEdit library to play around with different images as much as you’d like before diving into your own creation!

  • Find Your Favorite Vintage Filters

Scroll through the editor panel at the bottom of your screen and tap on Effects. You will find dozens of effects and filters that will give you a vintage look no matter which decade you’re hoping to recall. In fact, many of PicsArt’s filters are made to enhance your photos with a vintage aesthetic. As you scroll through the options, pay close attention to the type of vintage photo effect you’re going for. 

For the classic vintage vibe, find the Vintage and Warm Amber filters for the perfect Summer of Love haze. 

For a grainy, film camera look, experiment with Film1, Film2, and Film3 filters which will give your photo that classic vintage camera look. Tap again on your favorite filter to play around with the noise, blur, and fade sliders to keep customizing your look. 

Experiment with vintage filters through the decades! If you’re looking to transport your modern photo to the 1990s, PicsArt had just the filter for you, from 1991 to 1996. And who doesn’t love the look of a Polaroid picture? If you’re going for more of a 1980s retro look, tap on the PLRD, PLRD2, and PLRD3 filters for the iconic look of an instant photo. If the 1970s are more your thing, try the VNYL filter options for that vinyl record sleeve aesthetic. 

Are you into the Lomo effect? Lomo or lomography cameras were the instant cameras of the early 1980s that featured oversaturated colors, funky distortions, prismatic effects, and other qualities that most photographers try to avoid. Scroll to the Lomo effect at the bottom of your screen to capture the high-contrast, heavily vignetted effect that you would get on a traditional lomo camera.

How Do You Add Film Grain?

Vintage film grain effect

Over the years, with the advent of digital cameras, photographers have eliminated excess noise or film grain from professional photographs. While a clean, crisp image is often preferred for more mainstream, traditional photography, many photographers and designers add grain to their photos to give them an edgy, vintage look! 

  1. After you’ve applied your Effects to your photo, tap on Apply to be taken to the main menu screen. Scroll to find Mask and tap on the icon to see a variety of mask options to decorate your vintage photo.
  2. Select the Dust option at the bottom of your screen and scroll through the different overlays to give your vintage photo your desired film grain effect. You can increase or decrease the opacity and hue of your Dust overlay and even decide on which orientation the overlay should be applied to your photo.
  • Save Your Changes

Click Apply at the top right of your screen to make sure your changes are made to your image. Now you’re ready to save your image file to your device or share your unique creation with the PicsArt community! 

How Can You Make Old Photos Look HD?

Vintage HDR photo effect with girl

Do you have an old, grainy photo that needs some sprucing up? Sometimes it can be daunting to figure out how to revive a low-quality or “noisy” photo. PicsArt has the perfect tools to help you do just that!

  • Upload Your Photo

Upload your image file to PicsArt using your usual editing process. 

  • Apply the HDR Effect

Scroll through the editor panel at the bottom of your screen and tap on Effects. Tap on the HDR effect icon. You will notice your retro photo will immediately look sharper and crisper. Tap on the HDR icon again to reveal additional editing tools to bring your vintage photo to the new age. You will see four editing tools that will increase or decrease blur, sharpness, saturation, and fade. Play around with the sliders in each category to apply the perfect amount of HDR photo effects to your vintage photo

Where Can You Get Vintage Aesthetic Wallpapers?

Does your cell phone wallpaper reflect who you are? For many of us, our cell phone wallpaper backgrounds allow us to express ourselves and are accurate representations of our moods, lifestyles, and personal aesthetics. Did you know how easy it was to design your own custom cell phone wallpaper? If you’re aiming for a vintage look, PicsArt has all of the best features, filters, masks, and stickers to design the vintage aesthetic wallpaper of your dreams by following the step-by-step instructions below! 

  1. Select a photo from your photo library or choose a premade background from PicsArt’s #vintageaesthetic image library.
  2. It’s important to know the dimensions of your phone’s screen, so be sure to know what they are before making changes to your background. Once you’ve determined the ideal dimensions for your phone’s lock screen, start editing your background. After you’ve selected the background photo, click on Tools at the bottom of your editing panel.
  3. Select Crop to begin customizing the dimensions of your background. You will see a drop-down menu at the top of your screen in the center with preset dimensions. Tap on the down arrow to change those dimensions to your ideal width and height pixels. Tap on Apply to proceed to the next step.
  4. Select as many filters, effects, masks, and stickers to customize your wallpaper keeping in mind some of the techniques you used to create your vintage photos above. At this step, you can also add text with a font that captures the perfect vintage aesthetic
  5. Tap on Apply at the top right of your screen to make sure your changes are made to your wallpaper image. Then, tap on Next to save or share your vintage aesthetic wallpaper!

What App Makes Your Photos Look Vintage?

PicsArt is the ultimate destination for effects and filters to give your photos a retro, vintage aesthetic! From a wide selection of filters with varying intensity and effect to masks that let you customize the film grain effect of your dreams, you will find countless ways to give your modern photo a vintage look.

Create and Save Your Mobile Presets

Vintage photo effects with neon

Can’t remember which combination of effects and filters you used to create the perfect vintage effect photo last time? Want to save your look as a preset so you can keep coming back to it over and over? Follow the steps below to create and save your vintage effect preset!

  1. Open the PicsArt app and upload the photo you want to work with. You can also choose an image from PicsArt’s #FreeToEdit library or pick from premade themed Backgrounds or Color Backgrounds. 
  2. After you’ve combined your desired effects and filters to create your vintage effect photo, tap to apply the edits. 
  3. Save your final creation by tapping on Next at the top right of your screen. 
  4. Switch the “Replay” toggle to the on position to create your custom preset that will be there every time you want to add the perfect retro effect to your photos without having to manually edit them. 

You can also edit your Replays at any time following the steps below!

  1. Go to your saved Replays and tap on Replay on My Image. 
  2. Select the photo you want to apply the Replay to and apply the replay steps you’d like to recreate. You can also skip the replay steps you don’t want to include on this particular photo. 
  3. Tap next to apply any additional edits in Editor mode. 
  4. Tap next to save and share your latest edit!

Make Awesome

PicsArt all-in-one Photo and Video Editor, Collage, and Sticker Maker is the world’s largest creative platform with over 150 million monthly active creators and influencers. PicsArt has collaborated with major artists and brands like Taylor Swift, The Jonas Brothers, Gwen Stefani, Maroon 5, Lizzo, Meghan Trainor, One Direction, MONSTA X, Warner Bros. Entertainment, iHeartMedia, Condé Nast, and more. Download the app today to level-up your photos and videos with thousands of quick & easy editing tools, trendy filters, fun stickers, and brilliant backgrounds. Unleash your creativity with PicsArt and upgrade to Gold for awesome premium perks!