Altering Vintage Photos


What was old is new again…

A guest post by David Hayes

Apps used: PS Express, Paint FX, Scratchcam, and Repix



I’m sure you all have seen historical images that have been “colorized” to make them look more “realistic.” Some of these have been done well while others…well should have been left alone. In any case, I thought it might be fun to take a vintage image and see what I could do with it! So, with my wife’s permission, I went to one of her photo albums of “ancient and revered” ancestors, gently removed this page from the album and took several shots with my iPhone camera. This done…and the page safely returned…the fun begins!



First stop was PS Express where I square cropped the image and did some gentle adjustments on exposure and contrast.



Time to colorize. I have several apps that would be perfect to use for this purpose but decided to use Paint FX to quickly add color to the background. Loading my squared image, I clicked on the FX tab to bring up the app’s menus.



Going to “Filter” (A), I chose “Blend Blue” (B) as my background color.



I also adjusted the “brush” opacity to allow the background texture to come through as I painted the color.



Starting in the top left corner, I “painted” my color over the entire background. I wasn’t too careful about my edges, as I knew I’d be doing more to this image before I was done!



Here’s what my image looks like at this point. Time to add some Scratchcam!



First stop in Scratchcam would be “Colours.”



In “Colours” I chose the indicated filter. (Scratchcam doesn’t name its filters so this is the best I can do to show you which one I used.)



Onto “Textures + Borders” where I picked this folded pattern.



Last stop in Scratchcam …”Scratches” (A) where I went for this one (B). I also did a bit of adjustment to the intensity of my filter pack (C) before saving this to my Camera Roll.



Final touches in Repix! I thought some “Hatching” would give my image more of a painterly look so I activated this stamp and went to work!



What I like about Repix’s “Hatching” stamp is it subtle quality…sometimes you have to zoom in to see its effects…which I did so you can take a closer look. With “Hatching” done, I clicked on the double circle icon to bring up the app’s presets.



After trying them all out, I settled on “Vivid” (A) that helped pop the image’s colors out…as well as the hatch marks. I then clicked on the Adjustments tab (B) to do a last bit of touch ups.



While my screenshot doesn’t show it, I did some light adjustments to brightness, contrast and vignette to finish up…and the saved my final version to my Camera Roll.


Made with Repix (

Here’s the final version, “Elegant.” I was quite pleased with this…and even more so when my wife said she liked it. I hope you do as well!
David Hayes is a photographer, mixed-media artist, painter and explorer of life. Visit his blog at

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