During a recent visit to New Orleans, I had the opportunity to explore the historical Bourbon Street. It was interesting to say the least but I had fun. I did not go too crazy with the photography because I wanted to enjoy being there. The one thing that caught my eye were all of the neon signs. There must have been hundreds of them along Bourbon Street. I was originally going to try and shoot some HDR images of the signs but there were just too many people especially at nighttime. Of course, I could have tried to capture them during the day when the street was less crowded but a neon sign in daylight would just be lost in the image. I tool these images around dusk before the streets became too crowded.
After reviewing them, I wanted them to pop a little more. During post-processing, I decided to use some Instagram-esque effects to make the images a little more fun and interesting. Only within the last month have I started playing with Instagram and I have to admit it can be a little addictive. It only recently became available on the Android marketplace otherwise I might have tried it quite some time ago. So in processing these images of New Orleans, I went for a retro-film effect. In order to achieve the desired effect, I use a combination of Lightroom 4, Topaz Adjust, and Color Efex Pro 4. To give the images more an aged look I did the following:
- Reduced the contrast and made sure the black tones in the image were muted.
- Introduced some grain to the image. This reduces the sharpness of the image which is desired when the goal is retro-film.
- Added a vignette around the edge of the image. I went for a black vignette although some people like white. I am not a big fan of a white vignette unless it is a black and white image.
- Added a color cast. In the images below, I used one of three color casts; red, blue, and green. Again this adds to the aged effect.
Below is the final product: