Aging a color photo with coffee (or tea if you are British)

Aging a color photo with coffee

Aging a color photo is obviously more challenging than making a black and white or sepia tone image look old – a bit tricky, but definitely not impossible.
Here is how you can do it with… Coffee. yes, really.

1) The first step is to bring color saturation of the image down so it doesn’t look too vivid. You can do this during scanning or in your image editor by reducing the highlights, saturation, and contrast. Or you can just go for one of your unsuccessful washed-out photos (as you see, unsuccessful doesn’t necessarily mean failed).

This tutorial is part of the TEXTURES AND LAYERS TUTORIAL

Coffee and tea stains2) The next step is to create an aged looking paper, which you can do by using the leftovers of your morning coffee. All you need to do is crumble any type of heavy paper (heavyweight watercolor or bristol paper will be perfect for the job ), unfold the paper and soak it in a tray of cold coffee for an hour. Take the paper out of the tray and let it dry in the sun.
Now the paper looks like it has seen many years of hardship.

3) Scan the stained paper, open your favorite photo editor and blend it on another layer with your washed out image. You will need to play around with the blending and transparency settings until you like what you see. (More about this process in Photoshop coming up soon in another post)
As a final touch, you can darken the edges of the photo by using the darken or burn tool in your photo editor.

>>Incidentally, if you are not a coffee drinker and prefer tea, no worries; you can do the same process using cold black tea instead of coffee.
>>There are many other ways to age paper such as burning, ink stains, distressed ink, antique solutions, or simply use an actual piece of aged paper from an old book.

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