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Digital Photography Simulating Antique Postcards

Updated on February 27, 2014
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Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0 | Source

Have you ever seen samples of the postcards that were popular in the early 1920's, 30's or maybe even earlier? Most were hand drawn by artistic individuals, some were early photographs when photography was just an "infant".

A large portion of them were just simple recordings of a family or of an individual and yet some were issued by companies in an attempt to get the message or advertisement regarding their products or services to the consumers of the day.

Yet these still remain beautiful examples of a by gone era when attention to the smallest of details was paramount and when workmen took great pride in producing anything that may bear their names.

"The first American postcard was developed in 1873 by the Morgan Envelope Factory of Springfield, Massachusetts. [9][10] Later in 1873, Post Master John Creswell introduced the first pre-stamped "penny postcards". These first postcards depicted Interstate Industrial Exposition that took place in Chicago.[11] Postcards were made because people were looking for an easier way to send quick notes. The first postcard to be printed as a souvenir in the United States was created in 1893 to advertise the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago." Wikipedia

This photographic project is one which is fun and worthy simply because it renders tribute to a lost art and reminds us of how far we have technologically advanced.

Some things that are to be weight before starting or even considering doing the shoot are the amount of props that will be needed, including the backdrops. Especial attention must be paid upon the costumes of the era which you eventually choose to be represented in your final images.

Don't forget that you will probably need era speific hats, shoes, hair styles and authentic looking smaller props and other fine details.

However, if you are able to devote a lot of time and dedicate a lot of effort to the theme, then by all means do not pass up the opportunity of doing such a project.

You will also need to use a digital editing software to "age" your images as many of the colors used back then were rather dull in their tonalities. Remember to use a digital program to mute some of the colors if they do not approach your chosen theme and if they look too "new' as opposed to the inspiration for the image. Digitally "damaging" the edges may be appropriate too.

Keep in mind that some of these postcards were done in black and white, again a digital program can render your color images into monochromes as well.

Take as samples and inspirations several of these postcards and examine their style, their coloration, their message and other details. Then recreate them as faithfully as you can.

Use drawn samples or photographs, this doesn't really matter because what you are trying to do is to recreate the style, but instead of drawing it you will do so with photographs.

The Internet is full of such samples from the common ones to the very odd and from the simple ones to the extravagant, therefore offering you a plethora of ideas.

Depending on the chosen theme, you should use a softening filter to add an air of nostalgia to the images as well as using diffused light.


The images that will be done as a result of the theme can be included in a book whether in print form or as an e book.

They can be used by greeting card companies and by other publications including some poster publishers.

After you are finished takign all your shots, digiatlly manipulating them, cropping and antyhing else that you deem necessary.

Consider printing them in the same type of cardboard material or paper as the originals were.

For an extra touch which "ages" the images better than any digital program can, leave your finished printed samples out in the Sun for about one to two days, just don't let them get wet.

This adds another charming element to the entire theme and it seems more natural.

Do you think that this is a fun project?

See results

© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      thertastore: Thank you

    • thertastore profile image

      thertastore 5 years ago from Oakland, NJ 07436

      I like the historical thing.. thanks for post..

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Lynn S Murphy; Thank you very much

    • profile image

      Lynn S. Murphy 5 years ago

      I love old time post cards. I love old time photos too. They just have that something.