Here’s a clever trick to take those old low resolution vintage style photos using your modern camera: put a dab of vaseline on your lens, as shown in the photo. This will give the photos you take a a slightly distorted and dream-like quality.
Early inexpensive consumer-grade cameras were manufactured with cheap materials and very loose tolerances which led to distortion on the edges of the photo and other effects. Photojojo, a DIY photography blog, shares a simple hack to help you easily recreate the effect:
With a cell phone camera (or one you’re not worried about damaging) you can try putting Vaseline directly on the edges of your lens to give your photos an out of focus vignette just like old film cameras.
If you’ve got nice equipment, you should probably put your grease of choice on a clear lens filter that you aren’t worried about damaging.
We wanted to test the hack but we weren’t too excited about the idea of greasing up and then washing off one of our photo filters if the hack turned out so-so results. For our test photo below we used the clear case the filter came in, just slightly larger than the surface of the lens, and greased that up with Vaseline instead. If were going to use the technique for an extended period of time however, we’d definitely just apply the Vaseline to a $10 UV filter threaded for our particular lens.