Postcards From Europe – Have Fun Creating Retro-Style Postcard Images Using The Nik Collection

Looking upstream from Charles Bridge over the Vlatava in Prague

Creating retro-style postcard images is a lot of fun. You can let your imagination run wild to a certain extent, and given all the great photo-processing applications there are available, it can be a pretty easy thing to do.

On my About Me page I say “for me it is the final picture that matters” and for that reason, I don’t do tutorials about how to do this, do that, get a particular effect and so on.

I do, however, from time to time share brief outlines of how I reach some of the outcomes you see here. This story is along those lines, and outlines my basic process for creating retro-style postcard images, specifically using the Nik Collection.

I enjoyed creating retro-style postcard images from the North Island published here about a year ago. They were all produced using On1 Photo RAW.

So this time around I thought I’d have a crack at creating something similar using only Nik Color Efex Pro as an add-on to Photolab 6.

Creating retro-style postcard images

There is no fixed recipe for creating retro-style images.

Although I guess there is just one thing that is fixed and must be at the start of the recipe – and that is that not every photo works. By that I mean the subject of the image itself must be relatively timeless.

In my view, there is no point for example in taking a photograph of a Tesla EV and giving it a retro look.

A photo of a restored 1957 Chev will work fine treated retro-style – yes!

Back to the recipe that I said doesn’t exist. I say that because your interpretation of creating retro-syle postcard images may well differ from mine.

I created a preset in Nik Color Efex Pro using the following filters:

  • Old Photo;
  • Film Efex: Nostalgic;
  • Film Efex: Faded;
  • Polaroid Transfer;
  • PhotoStylizer;
  • Film Efex: Modern Branded; and
  • Image Borders.

Strangely enough, I called the preset Retro-Style Postcard Effect.

Then I applied it to my “starter” photo – one selected from photographs taken on a 2005 trip to the UK and Europe (using a 3MP Lumix point-and-shoot camera!)

This is the result.

a boatshed on the banks of the river at caernarfon wales - creating retro-style postcard images

After all these years the old boathouse still appears to be standing – check it out on Google maps.

I didn’t anticipate that I would be able to utilise the same preset on all the retro-style postcard images here, but surprisingly I had to do only a few minor tweaks from photo to photo.

The beauty of having a series of presets in Nik Color Efex Pro is that any number of settings can be changed until you get the look you like, but those changes do not get automatically saved back to the original preset meaning the starting point for each new photo is exactly the same.

Plus of course, any other filters can be added – or in fact, removed – without affecting the original preset. It’s very clever – without ever having to worry about how layers work.

Anyway – to cut to the chase – here is a gallery of retro-style postcard images created using Nik Color Efex Pro.

As always I welcome your comments – good, bad or indifferent – in the comments section below.

All the photos you see here were taken on the same trip to the UK and Europe, using a 3MP Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC50.

P.S. Please don’t forget to share this story…

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