Today I’ll talk a little bit about the so popular 90s photo filter, that emulate the style of the pictures of that decade. Yes, they were on paper, and yes, they were not great. I remember vividly (who else???) going to the photo shop with my 24 or 32 pics movie roll to get them printed, praying that at least one would’ve come out okayish. The struggle! hahahaha 😅💖😅💖
However, like everything in this life that has to do with aesthetics, the nostalgia of this look is back, and many people, myself included, are loving 90’s style photography again, no matter how grainy, low resolution or distorted.
Why use a 90s style filter in photos?
Here’s what I think. We get a little tired of consuming aesthetic perfection. It’s overwhelming. And retro style photos feel more real life.
For me, when I see a photo with those flaws – lack of focus, grain, not aligned or ordered, it evokes reality so much, that this connection with the emotion of the moment speaks louder. Feels like the image has more soul.
And as we have a high tendency to romanticize everything from the past, photos that imitate the 90s visuals have this feeling of purity. As if what happened in the past was so much more simple, true, easy… and COOL! Sweet illusion! hehe
How I do 90s effect on my photos
I know that there are a million apps that make 90s style photos, some paid, some free. And unfortunately it’s hard to find the time to follow all the apps that come up and test everything. I want to keep updated but it’s a huge challenge.
That being said, here’s 3 options I use and recommend: Polarr, Huji and, of course, my fav of all time: Meitu 💜😍
Polarr has a paid version that allows you to travel in the filter possibilities, with many options with this 90s analog photo footprint. But the free version has good enough features in my opinion. You can add glitch, grain, blur, and more. I do it like this:
90s effect on Polarr app
On Meitu, there’s two main ways I do 90s effect:
90s photo filter on Meitu app
But there are several Meitu filters with a 90s feel. Go ahead and give them a try, and see which one works best for each pic 🌺
I’m very into the blur effect 90’s filter lately, and Meitu has a few options like that!
There’s even an option with a date in the corner! Look at this beautiful example below:
I used the filter VM4 (movie) which is what makes it blurry, and adds the date. Then I used the VF4 to add the effect of the burnt stripe
Huji app is also big in the 90’s filter app scene.The super stylish date in the corner became the app’s trademark. The downside of Huji is that it only works for photos taken by the app itself. You can’t use Huji to edit photos saved on the camera roll.
90s filter with Huji app
A bonus to give an even more vintage look to everything is to add polaroid frames. I made a whole post here about it!
You can also work with grain, or noise or whatever you call it on your aesthetic edits. There’s also a post about it here on the blog as well, in fact it’s our third most read blog post of all time. If you’re curious to know which are the first ones, I’ll tell you! This one about selfies, and this one about photo editing apps 😉 [update feb. 2020: this post with Instagram Bios tip took over and is the champion right now!]
So I’ve just posted a selection of photo ideas for Fall, and thought it’d be only fair to make a similar post with Spring pics. After all, half the world gets Autumn in September, but the other half celebrates the beginning of Spring at the same time, correct? So this one goes for the Southern hemisphere… 🌻🌻🌻
September is here, and fall is just around the corner. On social media we’ve already started seeing beautiful orange tone images with dry leaves, hot cocoa and cozy sweaters to let us know we’re collectively ready and in the mood for the season to begin!
I’ve selected some images from free image banks like Pexels and Unsplash to inspire our Autumn themed photography. You can use the images below if you want to, they’re all royalty free 🙂
As a graphic designer, there is no doubt Photoshop (software, I don’t use the app) is a super important editing tool in my life 💖💗 But I use it mostly for advanced work, or more complicated photo editings, like whenever I want to change the background, edit the color of a specific element, or do some specific photo manipulation.
So what about apps? They offer cute filters, are fast and easy to use, and are super convenient, because they’re right there in the palm of our hands already! 😂😂
My favorite? VSCO. I’m a huge fan!
I use it daily, and I know that my top blogger clients Lalá Noleto, Claudia Bartelle, Helena Lunardelli, Sophia Abrahão and others are also frequent users. And I can guarantee that it is the darling photo editing app of several international influencers and it girls too!
VSCO is free, has simple and efficient tools and it’s easy to use. There’s also a proversion that I’ve never used, but I’m aware it’s even better, with many more filters and a huge fanbase (vsco girls, anyone?).
Of course VSCO is an app specifically to apply filters and effects. To change the structure of the image (smoother skin, retouching, face shape changing, etc, there are special apps, like Facetune and Meitu.
But back to VSCO. Using the app is SO easy! You can pick one of the premade filters, or create your own with the tools offered, like brightness, sharpness, contrast, etc.
I’ve seen people getting a little bit lost with that many editing options, and getting the feeling that it’s too much to think and too time consuming. I don’t feel that way at all, I actually think VSCO is as simple and easy as any editing tool can be haha, but I understand the strugle. So I came up with a quick guide with the fundamental steps to edit your pics.
So here we go!
How to edit photos for Instagram?
✨ The first thing to do is straighten it out. Notice if there are “lines” in the photo that are crooked. Usually they are the horizon, like the sidewalk, the street or the see, or buildings, trees, pilasters, or even your body.
To make life easier, it is best to try to make these lines as straight as possible already when taking the picture. Try to take the picture in the correct perspective, and keep the correct alignment of the elements, by holding the phone straight before you click. Except for photos with intentionally distorted angles, like selfies from bottom to top, etc, of course.
But hey! The strightening thing isn’t necessary in every single pic. Your gut will tell you what to do in each case, but when you start paying attention, you get the hang of it.
In addition to straightening, I also define the crop I like, in order to highlight the main element of the photo and give harmony to the image. Of course, that alignment and cutting can be done directly on Instagram, but me, I’d rather do it before so I can edit the photo in VSCO knowing exactly how it’ll look. So I basically just make the crop with the phone image editing tool, easy peasy.
Okay, now we open the VSCO! Choose the photo and let’s move on.
✨ First, choose the filter you are going to use. I’ve read many times that the cooler filters, that is, the ones with a bluish undertone, get more likes. I don’t know about that, and actually use a super warm filter myself.
Afterwards, you can calibrate the filter for more or less intensity.
✨ Sometimes the filter alone is enough to make the perfect photo. Mainly photos made outdoors, with lots of lighting are perfect. Usually, I like to brighten up the pic, give it some contrast and clarity and to tinker a bit in the fading too, so black parts are not too dark. This fading trick I think gives a more professional aesthetic to the pictures, so it’s a good trick if that’s what you’re aiming for.
I searched for a place lit by natural light, chose an interesting background, straightened the object and clicked the photo. In VSCO I just needed to add the HB1 filter and that was it. Loved the result!
That’s basically it, guys. Oh, I almost forgot! On VSCO you can simply copy the edits you made on the picture and paste it to as many others as you want. That’s, let’s say… the best thing that has ever happened in my life, basically hahaha!
I’ll keep posting photo editing tips and tools here on the blog. Remember to check my ultimate VSCO filter collection with all the presets I’ve ever made. Here’s a sneak a peak…
Tumblr is a frequent topic here on the blog, right guys?
I wrote a post explaining what is a tumblr photo, and it is one of the most accessed every day here. Good to know that you like it and want to know more about the theme ☺️ ♥ ️
In that first post, I even explained my story with tumblr, which comes from aaayears ago. I have always LOVED and used tumblr a lot, and I can say that I understand the aesthetic that is attributed to it. So you can trust what you read here. It’s from experience ♥ ️
My plan is to make + 3 posts from the tumblr series here on the blog: How to make images with a tumblr style phrase, How to make tumblr collages and What is the difference between photo tumblr and photo Pinterest. Stay tuned!
In today’s post, I’m going to bring you an easy, objective, explanatory MEGA tutorial to learn once and for all how to make a tumblr photo. I was dying to do this, and now that I’m at the hairdresser waiting for the product to take effect on the hair, it couldn’t be a better time 😜
Important: There are all kinds of tumblr pictures. Some don’t fit what I’m going to talk about here, I know … But I’m talking about the style in general, okay? Plissss take this into account 🙂 But the conception that any spontaneous photo is tumblr does not proceed either. It is an incorrect generalization!
In addition, there are the VSCO photos, which are just cool and beautiful young foreigners, especially girls (VSCO girls, who are the new tumblr girls – play on google) in cool situations, with a VSCO filter. Then there is not much to teach … The most you can do, if you haven’t done it yet, is to download VSCO and start using the blessed filters hahaha. Being beautiful and cool is a differentiator! But this is also a personal concept 🤷🏽♀️
Anyway, let’s get to the tips, shall we?
How to take Tumblr photos?
1. Spontaneity in the pose is more important than anything
Most of the most beautiful tumblr photos capture a scene. Have you noticed that? They tell a mini story, a vibe … They don’t feel like a click. So the first thing to keep in mind is this!
But calm down, don’t be intimidated by the complexity of what I said no. Keep reading that you will see that it is simpler than it looks. I will talk more in point 3 about this issue of having a meaning and feeling in the photo. At this point here we will focus only on the act of bringing naturalness to your pose and expression.
How to do it: The most common thing is to look at the camera and smile, it’s almost our natural instinct. But because it is what we are conditioned to do, it ends up being very obvious and becomes dull, lifeless.
So: Turn to the side, on your back, cover your face with charm, make a face, do a little dance, grab an object near you and play with it, look at your nail, give a kiss on the cheek of the classmate on the side (only if you have intimacy plmdds !!), give a laugh … Put an action on the pose, as if they had clicked without you realizing it, the tumblrometer on your photo will go up a lot 🌡
Even if you don’t have this habit yet, and until you find yourself super difficult, you can learnit. And get used to it until it’s natural. Your photos will be sooo much more special, I promise!
“damn Lu, these photos are beautiful, I’ll never be able to get anything like this.” Guys, all the time friends show me photo and go “oh, too bad I closed my eyes , or” fuck, it’s blurry!”, or “omg why is it so dark” ” or the freaking light got in the way “…. And I think to myself: mannn just VSCO filter that photo and it’ll look sooooo cute!!
That’s it folks. If you want to have a tumblr photo, learn how to see the potential in a pic that looks bad, but really isn’t 😉
And that’s exactly what I’m going to talk about now…
2. The quality MUST be bad. Of course, because.. Wait, “bad” ??? WTF?? 😂
This little secret always shocks people hahaha! If you think that to make an amazing photo in a tumblr style you need a professional camera, professional model, direction and professional editing, you are sadly mistaken, my friend. It is just the opposite.
What characterizes the true tumblr photo is that it looks natural, real, spontaneous. And with a young and free spirit. This has always been the great differentiator of tumblr, so photos in this style need to be like this. And professional photo doesn’t have that real effect.
Ultra sharp images, with fantastic resolution and perfect people with professional looks and impeccable makeup are not tumblr. They have their value, combine with fashion editorials, with commercial photos for brands, etc. But the tumblr photo is made with a cell phone. If it’s a bad camera, it has a chance to get even better. And if you complain I open it in an editing app and make the quality even worse !! 😂😂
Then you will question me: ‘that’s weird, Lu. All my photos would be tumblr if that was the case. Thy’re all spontaneous and with poor quality. All my photos are like that! Why doesn’t it have the beautiful effect of those that go viral? ‘ Come on!
How to do it? Full disclosure, I don’t really think it’s a case of giving preference to cameras of lower quality, or lower resolution. Use the best you have. But I would eventually try to put some deliberate mistake in the composition, if “tumblr photo” is the aesthetic you’re going for. Sometimes an on the way, some shadow overlaying, bursting light “disturbing”, something more crooked or misaligned, an unusual angle, something out of focus … You know when you’re going to take a photo and someone says: oh, but it’s against light , it will be very dark … Sometimes that dark tone is makes the photo beautiful. You have to try it!
And if, even so, the photo is in excellent quality, you can leave it to make the adjustment when editing. You can follow a more natural photo path, with less contrast and less vivid colors. Or if you prefer, pop the colors well and bet on a very urban aesthetic too. The important thing is to run away from anything that seems too perfect ✨
For you to have a notion, technological evolution has reached a level of perfect quality for the photos so great, that the human eye rejects all this perfection. And even big editorials, fashion essays and the like give a way to decrease the quality of the images produced in some way. Of course, in their case the resolution itself remains TOPISSIMA, they are not actually doing anything in bad quality. In fact, that’s not what I’m teaching here, I overplay it. The idea is to simulate something more real, so that there is a greater identification of those who look.
I give this little secre that name, because it is the best way I found to explain that “something” certain images have that is difficult to explain. It’s the abstract content, the sentiment. It can be a nice little heat. It can be a surprising identification (sometimes hilarious hahah), it can be a tenderness, a charm. It is often just a well being. An intense desire to be living that. For being both incredible and kind of familiar …
How to do it: Difficult to teach this point. But I will try.
We usually like to photograph moments that are special. If you can capture why he is special, the most interesting thing that situation provides you, you capture her soul. You can feel the photo.
One way I like to do this is by getting out of the obvious, out of the comfort zone. There is a table full of people having dinner and you want to register the moment? Instead of that bland picture in front of the table with everyone turning sideways, with an uncomfortable expression, he climbs on the chair, tells everyone to continue talking, asks someone to pass a pot to another, says something funny for everyone to laugh about. .. and don’t let anyone look at the camera! 😂😂 I made up a situation here, it may be absurd, but it’s just an idea .. no hate and no shade please haha!
Update: I created this filter for my Official VSCO Filter Collection, especially with the Tumblr face. Hence an important detail is that I used only night photos with burst flash, which gives the look of an amateur and spontaneous photo that is what we are looking for, right? 😜So take this into account pls 🙂
How does this work on the Instagram feed?
‘Ok, Lu. I understood how you make a tumblr photo. Now how do I make my entire insta feed tumblr?’ Well, my love, my first recommendation would be to read my special with 5 posts about organized and beautiful feeds. I teach in detail how to create a feed with consistent aesthetics, and without a doubt you will learn a lot about it there. Hence the essential is to follow those 5 steps, to define the style of your feed and plan it. And take these tips into account here with regard to the photos themselves.
One thing I find very interesting is that, in some cases, a photo in a tumblr style, alone, is ok, cool, beauty. But you take several, put them all with the same aesthetic, same filter, and neatly distributed in a feed (or collage, or layout), everything is cooler. Super union is strength 👊🏼👊🏼🦋🥰
Some feed I created with a tumblrish type aesthetic:
I will close this post with the TUMBLREST photo that has ever existed:
Ps. My hair looks amazing, the 2h in the salon was worth it haha - photos on insta soon.
I know, family photo ideas are easy to find online. It turns out though that the vast majority of the references we find are not very cool and “posed” photoshoots… And that’s not quite what we’re looking for, right?
When I went to research images to make this post, I spent so much time hunting for more natural and creative options without being overly posed to inspire our future pics with our parents, uncles, cousins, siblings, grandparents… 🌸 💖🌷
And this is what I got!
Beyond this issue of having a lot of professional photo essay photography posed, almost always, regardless of the search terms I use, the results are a super young couple with young children, in most cases babies. I wanted something more real, with real parents, adult children, people like us in the real world, living real life! hahahaha
Flatlays, going straight to the point, are pictures taken from the top angle, usually from a flat surface such as a table, floor, etc. The purpose of this type of photo is to focus on objects on the surface, usually arranged in a very aesthetic way and causing a positive visual impact.
Okay, now you know! Now let’s elaborate, shall we?
One practical way to understand what a flatlay is to check the Cool Flatlays Instagram profile (@coolflatlay) by the amazing and wonderful Fashion Coolture. She is the master queen of the subject, in my opinion (and I’ve been in love with her blog posts and Lookbook.nu long before she even created this profile). And yes, my loves, she’s Brazilian! 🇧🇷💚💛
Aren’t they perfect? You should definitely follow her on Insta, guys!
The success of flatlay photos has everything to do with the popularization of Instagram, and the sharing of cool images of random and nice objects that we have at home. And also, in the case of business accounts, it has become a visually beautiful way to advertise products to customers.
An example of how Glow Recipe uses flat lay photos in their Instagram, up there!
And for personal projects like blogs, websites and Instagram, photos like that are also a great resource to showcase favorite products, personal objects we love, and to record our daily lifestyle. Bloggers and influencers love to create flatlays on the bathroom counter, on the bed, on the rug. Not to mention flatlays displaying shoes, nails and of course, a beautiful meal! hahhahaha
No doubt the flat lays that rock online are those neatly ordered, photographed with incredible lighting, and containing beautiful objects. So you might think – of course producing photos like this is just for professionals, right? But I can assure you that’s not true (here comes the crazy DIY lady haha). Let’s get straight to the tips!
Wow, I’m so objective right now! hehe
How to Make Flatlay Photos at Home
1. NATURAL LIGHT! No wonder my name is Luciana, sweethearts! Haha ha! I am a faithful supporter of the light, preferably natural and very abundant in photographs. Actually this is a consensus among all professional photographers (something I, as a matter of fact, am not), but I think it is important to divulge and insist about this with my amateur fellas.
2. Decide what your background surface will be, do not ignore the importance of this !! Seriously, paying attention only to prominent objects can ruin your flatlay. It is essential to set whether the background will be all white (classic, I loooove) or whether it will be a nice wood pattern, a soft fabric, your duvet, the floor, that false marble made with contact paper…
Choose your background matching the main subject of your flatlay, take the camera and test whether the photo will be filled with that background, or if you need to adjust it in Photoshop, etc.
Tip – Here is a post I made about the importance of working well with negative spaces, in order to popup the main object or objects. It has everything to do with this topic!
3. Followers love to see neatly organized objects. Of course you can not generalize, but often a well organized and beautiful arrangement of elements is the greatest charm of flatlay. So don’t feel weird if you waste more time organizing the little things than shooting the pic. But hey, the order I’m suggesting doesn’t necessarily mean everything will be aligned, okay? You can simulate a disorder as long as there is a visual logic, and the result can be aesthetically pleasing. You’ll get used to it (and good at it) with practice!
4. Last but not least, choose your favorite shot, and edit it like a pro! If you know how to use Photoshop, better. Because you can make several adjustments and even modify parts of the photo you want. If not, my recommendation will always be VSCO, my favorite photo editing app. I posted about it here on the blog, with useful editing tips!
Cool, now you know what a flatlay is. And how to make it at home, easy peasy
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