The Making of an Aged Tin Photo

Ever wanted to make one of your favorite pictures into an old time photo? This tutorial will show you how to merge a few images, to create an aged tin photo.

Here are the images I will be working with, obtained from Stock.xchng.

Step 1: Making the Photo Look Older

Sepia tone, a slightly browned looking photo, is a great way to “age” any picture. I am actually working with a couple examples, so I kind of know where I am headed with the coloration on the picture, and eventually the end style.

After opening the picture of the girl, we will Desaturate it, or remove all of the color from it – Image>Adjustments>Desaturate (CTRL+Shift+U). Once black and white, we want it to have that brown sepia-tone-photo look to it, so we’ll Colorize it – Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation (CTRL+U). In my example, I have the other two examples open in the background so I can get a color that’s somewhat close to them.

Now, the picture still looks a little “soft”, so we’re going to make some of the shadows harsher, with the Burn Tool. After change the opacity to about 25%, and using a Soft Round brush so everything blends well.

I darkened a lot of the shadows, but not too dramatically. Also, if you look in the background, I also got rid of the window on the house. This was just a personal preference, certainly not anything that had to be done. I used the Healing Brush for this.

Step 2: Merging the Photo and the Tin Plate

After cutting the tin plate out of its background, I did the same process with it that I did with the photo. Desaturate and Colorize. I wanted the metal plate to be pretty dark, so I opened up the Levels – Image>Adjustments>Levels (CTRL+L). I moved the sliders around a little until I got the look I wanted. I then copied and pasted the photo in a layer above the tin plate.

Step 3: Adding More Dramatic Effects

Old photos, in particular tin ones, tend to have a lot of scratches on them from wear and tear, and let’s face it… they are old. So, naturally, we want this photo to look even older.

This is where those textures come in handy. To start, I pasted the color one with the white background over top of the photo, then chose the Blending option of “Darken”. This will eliminate all of the white space you see, and all of the color will be there. After that, resize it to fit around the photo, a little way in from the sides. Once positioned, select the layer of your photo, and erase around the edges.

Now, to add the other texture. This one goes below the previous texture in the layers. This one is already black and white, so we don’t need to desaturate it. Changing the blending option to Darken makes all the white go away, and then colorizing it and sliding the Lightness down on it makes it match a little better. I then erased the edges so the texture is only on the photo/tin and not in the whites space around it.

Here’s some detail of what this looks like up-close.


Now you can add a couple extra touches to it if you want. Make some of the colors blend a little more, add some more details here and there, and create even darker areas. It’s all about preference at this point.

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial!

By Kirin Knapp

Kirin Knapp is a graphic designer for the iEntry Network, publishing company of FlashNewz. A flash animator and illustrator, she is the creator of her home site,

Leave a comment