How to Make Your Pictures Look Vintage; Tips for a Vintage Edit

A vintage edit can be achieved by either taking a photo on a film camera, or editing your photos with apps. In this post, I’m going to show you how to give your iPhone photos a vintage/film edit with just a few editing apps! Afterwards, you will be able to create a vintage looking aesthetic to your Instagram feed, which creates a cohesive grid that people tend to appreciate.

Lately, I’ve been receiving questions about how I edit my photos and people have been sending me their photos to edit as well. As a result of some of these inquiries, I’m going to show you exactly how to perfect that vintage edit to any photo.

Disclosure: These tips are targeted towards those of you who shoot content with your iPhone and utilize apps within the app store to edit. If you are shooting on a DSLR, the quality is better and may require a slightly different editing approach.

Shoot in Natural Light

First and foremost, if you’re going to be editing your photos using multiple photo editing apps, your image is going to diminish in quality along the way. But wait; before you start freaking out, let me share a tip with you.

Tip: Shoot as much content as possible in NATURAL LIGHT!

We can thank the sun for providing the most amazing filter, lighting, and shadows to our images naturally. On top of this, less editing and distortion is required because the quality is typically already amazing, especially if you are shooting at golden hour (i.e. right before sunset or right after sunrise).

example of the shadows taken at golden hour

Photo Editing Apps


  • First, start right on your iPhone. In order to achieve warm tones without losing the image quality of your photo, use the “dramatic warm” filter. Similarly, if this is too dark for your liking, you can use the “dramatic” filter instead.


Next, head to VSCO and put the filter G8 on your photo. Unfortunately, you need VSCOx (the premium membership) for this filter. But, fortunately for you, there is a hack!

You can also adjust the filter strength accordingly!

HACK: after the filter is on, adjust other settings on the photo and screenshot, then crop the image. This way, you do NOT have to purchase the VSCOx membership!

Next, increase the skin tone to about +1.5 – +2, increase the sharpness of the image to about +1.0, and increase the grain to +1.0 as well. Lastly, screenshot the image and crop out the black borders.


This app you DO have to pay for, but I think it’s only $1.99 and it’s so worth it! First, import your photo and make any color changes that you deem necessary.

For instance, you can navigate to the “selective saturation” tool and either increase or decrease the colors in your photo. Depending on your color profile or theme, you may want to decrease the greens and increase the orange tones, etc. But, that is totally up to you.

Selective Saturation Tool on Afterlight2

In order to make my photo appear even more vintage, I add some dust to the image.

Tip: by clicking on the dust image, you can rotate where the dust is on the image! This helps to ensure your outfit doesn’t look like it has stains all over it.

Lastly, you can make the outer edges of the image darker by using the “vignette” tool.

Afterlight2 actually has touch tools now as well! This is super helpful for if you’d like to sharpen certain parts of the photo and not others. For example, if after all the editing, your shirt appears super dark, you can swipe your finger over the shirt to brighten it up.

To sum up, you only need two apps to create a cohesive theme on your Instagram without breaking the bank on a preset! With just your iPhone, VSCO, and Afterlight2, you are able to create that dreamy, ’70s aesthetic.

Finally, if you’re ever starting to feel uninspired, but know that you love this editing style, check out these accounts below for inspiration!

Vintage Edit Inspiration

Vintage inspired Instagram Account, Whiskyouth
IG Account: @whiskyouth

If you enjoyed this post, head over to my blog post that covers my all-time favorite photo editing apps.

Thanks so much for reading! I appreciate you.

XoXo, Tori

Published By: Tori

I'm a digital marketer with a background in social media marketing, especially Instagram marketing! I want to help others kill that social media game, while being authentic and true to self.

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