Jill here and I’m going to show you a quick and fun way to age a photograph. I know … we usually are spending a lot of time making an old photo look new again, but sometimes you have a special layout where you need a new photo to look old. Case in point, a wonderful photo of the cousin gang (my grandkids). Now, this was definitely taken a while back … the youngest in this photo graduated from High School last year … but that’s what makes this photo so precious.
Enough about grandkids, let’s get started. By the way, this method will work in both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. I just happen to be using Photoshop to do the screenshots. However, I did make a YouTube video using Photoshop Elements since there are some differences in the menus and dialogs.
The first thing you’re going to need is a photo and make sure you’ve download my freebie pack of Daguerreotype Overlays available until October 27, 2019 (
click here to download). These overlays were made using daguerreotype images (cleaned up a bit). For an explanation of what a daguerreotype is, see my collection of Daguerreotype Overlays in my store. While the photo can be any size you want, I recommend that the pixels per inch be set to 300 and make sure the box next to Resample (Resample Image in PSE). So after opening the photo in Photoshop, use Image > Image Size (Image > Resize > Image Size in PSE) to make the change.
The next thing you want to do is double click on the Background Layer to unlock it. Then you want to place one of the overlays above the photo (File > Place or just drag and drop it). Yes, it’s probably not the right size, but that can be fixed by resizing it before you accept it or accepting it, then transforming it.
When resizing, you can adjust the overlay anyway you want as long as you cover the image. This means you can extend it beyond the photo’s canvas. It also doesn’t need to keep it’s proportions … just pull one little box at a time.
Now begins the fun part. Holding down the CMD/CTL keys, click on the icon of the overlay in the layers panel to load in the overlay.
Now select your Background (Layer 0) and click the mask icon.
You’ll notice that your photo disappears and you basically just see the overlay layer. Don’t panic, we’re going to fix things in a minute.
Select the mask and do a CMD/CTL I to inverse the mask (turn black to white and white to black).
While you can now see your photo, it looks rather bad, right?
Easy fix. Just turn off or delete the layer containing the overlay. But now you’ll notice some of your photo is gone (transparent).
Here’s how to fix it. Create a new layer underneath the Background layer (Layer 0) by selecting the Background layer (Layer 0) and while holding down the CMD/CTL key, click the new layer icon in the Layers panel.
Now all you need to do now is select the Paint Bucket tool and, while holding down the OPT/ALT keys, position your cursor over the photo and select a background color (cursor should look like a dropper) and fill the new layer with your color.
OK … no transparency left, but I wasn’t too happy with the color I chose. Not a problem … just pick a new color and fill the layer again.
Now that’s the way I like it. All you need to do now is flatten your file and save things out as a jpg.
If you enjoyed this, I have actually created an action that not only does this, but it does a whole lot more. It recolors your full color photo to look aged but it also will help you to create distressed papers. It’s called (appropriately) Age and Distress It Action and is on sale for 30% off. I also released some additional Daguerreotype Overlays also 30% off and created a bundle of the overlays for 50% off. BUT WAIT … THERE’S MORE … I have also done an Age and Distress it Super Bundle where you can get not only the bundle of overlays, but also the action for 50% off. Also, if it’s after October 27th and you missed downloading the freebie pack of overlays, the pack is available with the Super Bundle. That makes the total value of the Super Bundle $30 which are getting for $12 … 60% off … great deal, right?
That’s it for today. Hope you have hours of fun aging you photos. HUGS!!!
Wow, thanks for the great tut Jill. I can’t wait to try it!
Thanks, Jill! Definitely going to try this.
Wonderful tutorial … you have the perfect photo to use for this technique! Thanks for the overlays, Jill. Will give it a try … just need to find a good photo!
Thank you so much
Wow! Love the overlays, thank you so much Jill!
Thank you so much!!
Neat trick! Now to convince myself to use this “damaged” photo in a layout :-). Thanks for the goodies!
I had a feeling I’d be hearing from you. You are one of the folks I know that does a lot of work repairing old photos … LOL!!!
Thank you so very much Jill, I hope my program can do this, I HOPE I can do it! I love the look, so cool. Thanks so much honey. xoxo
Thank you Jill for your generous free set of overlays and the great turtorial!
Oh wow once again another great useful idea to age photos. Can you tell me please what/why do you flatten your work & can it still be saved as a PSD OR do you only flatten once the page or whatever is finally finished. I just love all the hints,tips and new ideas – thank you
You can most definitely save it as a PSD or in a layered format. Then flatten it later when your done and save it as a JPG. Personally, I like to save both a layered file and a JPG but I have a lot of hard drive space. But if I want to do something similar later and have forgotten how I did it, I have the layered file to sort of jog my memory.
Thank you for explaining