Still life photography ideas: how to instantly age props

Still life photography: how to instantly age props

Fine tune your aged props in Photoshop

Careful and creative digital darkroom work is probably the most important aspect of a fine art image like this. Obviously, it’s crucial here that only the thread retains its colour, to reinforce that it’s been cut.

The overall grain-like texture adds atmosphere and the perfectly square and symmetrical crop boosts that classic fine art look.

Fine tune your aged props in Photoshop: step 1

1 Crop
Open the image in Photoshop and select the Crop tool by pressing C. Hold down the Shift key to constrain the crop to a square and drag the crop over the image. Leave equal spacing around the image.

Fine tune your aged props in Photoshop: step 2

2 Mono
Select a new Black and White Adjustment Layer by clicking the icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette. Use the colour sliders to get the best mono effect. Red and orange have the most dramatic effects.

Fine tune your aged props in Photoshop: step 3

3 Pull back
Paint the red back into the thread by selecting a thin black brush. Zoom into the image at 100% and, making sure the Black and White Adjustment Layer is selected, use small strokes to return the colour.

Fine tune your aged props in Photoshop: step 4

4 Grain
To add grain, select a new Adjustment Layer and choose Solid Colour from the menu. Fill the whole Layer with light grey, then select Filter>Noise>Add Noise. Click OK and change the Blending Mode Overlay for a subtle effect.

Fine tune your aged props in Photoshop: step 5

5 Levels
Finally, to add the dramatic impact, choose a new Adjustment Layer and select Levels from the menu. Drag the Shadows and Highlights sliders towards the centre for the maximum level of impact.

PAGE 1: How to age props for still life photography
PAGE 2: How to fine-tune your aged props in Photoshop

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