Learn How to Color Old Photos from Different Fashion Eras

Reviving Photos of Classic Fashion Styles from Bygone Eras

Although digital photography is available for everyone to create and use, there are not many professionals in the field. If you’re a photographer or you prefer to be in the editing part of this art, I’m sure you’re familiar with how often regular people call themselves photographers.
And that is true – everyone is free to take and create various photos thanks to their gadgets or different pieces of software, but only the rare among them are true artists. Being part of this unique group means that you invest your time, effort and funds into developing your skills.
I’m trying to say that your status here doesn’t depend on how many followers you have on Instagram or friends on Facebook who “like” or “heart” your work, but on how far you’re willing to go to understand photography and its history.
Why Fashion Photography?
If you’d go back in time, and no further than a hundred years is necessary, you’d be able to understand just what kind of role fashion had in people’s everyday life. Today, fashion is a form of expression in most cases, but then it was a symbol of a particular status. Each social circle had their etiquette of behavior, and many of the points included were about dressing appropriately on a daily basis and for different occasions.
Putting so much effort into how you look and behave symbolized how much respect you have for yourself and others around you. With this attitude, getting dressed each day wasn’t only about quickly putting your clothes on and rushing to tend to your responsibilities – it was about telling a story.
Start with a Creating a Vision

Therefore, when you have a black and white photo in front of you, you should have all of the above mentioned points in mind, so that you can actually revive it in color. You should pay special attention to people in it, the occasion for which they had gathered and the social status of each of them.
The chances are that the photo you want to bring back to life is from a specific era in the previous century, so it would be best for you to try and determine which decade it was taken in. That will enable you to go over the fashion trends which were popular back then so that you can get a precise idea about the materials, patterns, and accessories used to understand the overall texture in front of you.
I know these sounds like a lot of work already, but fashion photography is demanding, and that didn’t really change over time. If you want to do a good job here, it’s quite necessary to be extremely thorough when it comes to your research.
Dig Deeper than Just Learning about Fashion
If you’re anything like me, your curiosity and desire to really go back in time would be very difficult to indulge at this point. The previous century was all about amazing global events, terrible wars and outstanding advancements in technology.
Therefore, when you establish the precise decade during which that piece of history in front of you was taken, you’ll get a pretty good picture of what was going on at that time. Going to this amount of details will enable you to understand the whole setting on your black and white photo more clearly.
Get to Work

No matter which piece of software you intend on using – it’s a matter of your preference, really – you need to go through the next four stages if you want to do a good job of making your black and white photo pop with colors.
• Remove damaged pieces
Because you have a photo in front of you that was taken sometime in the past, you may encounter various types of problems – the photo may be sun damaged, the conditions which it’s kept in could ruin its texture, there could be pieces missing, etc. Therefore, after you have it scanned and turned it into a digital version, you have to clean it up first, and then start coloring.
• Select pieces precisely
This part depends on how many details you’re dealing with, but the chances are it will be quite time-consuming. Each of the pieces presented in the photo in front of you will require your special attention. Naturally, you should select each of them individually and make sure to be very precise with them, because otherwise, your final result will look like you have crayons in your hands and that you find staying within your lines troubling.
• Explore different shades
We already discussed that you need to harmonize your selection of colors with a certain era, so when you finally come to the part where you can select a particular color, you should be very careful about your selection of shades.
• Try different textures and filters
The knowledge you gathered about the material used for the fashion era you’re dealing with will be quite helpful when it comes to determining the textures of different outfits and to finally put together an image that tells a believable story.
You’re Reviving Pieces of History
Each piece you decide to work on, whether its modern photo editing by smart photo-editors or a project such as this one, should speak about your skills and credibility. If you’re in any doubt and you find a part of your work to be problematic, my sincere suggestion is to consult experts in the area and make sure you’re headed in the right direction. Projects like this require you to go through a steep learning curve, and if you want to make a piece of history truly alive, you will have to be persistent and dedicated.

One last piece of advice – make sure to be properly inspired during this project, so it’s a good idea not to do this project all at once, but when you feel you have the proper motivation to do it. After all, completing work like this successfully will have a very positive effect on your skill development.                              Written by Isabella Forman.


Isabella’s Bio: http://snapshotphoto.net/2017/04/05/isabella-formans-bio


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