If you enjoy giving your photos that perfect vintage look, you’ll love making them steampunk! It’s trendy, it’s fun, and it’s visually exciting—but wait, what is steampunk, exactly?

It’s an aesthetic, a world, a style, an atmosphere that applies to literature, fashion, movies, music, and more. It combines elements of the Victorian Age (corsets and bustles and top hats, oh my!) with a mechanistic flair (think goggles, gears, mechanical arms—and the occasional 19th-century jetpack).

When it comes to photos, you’ll want to use the BeFunky photo editor to give them an aged feel while managing to add on an otherworldly, almost sci-fi sensibility. Let’s look at how that works …

Step 1: Take the shot.

Your subject doesn’t have to be steampunk, but why not? Grab a friend, dress up, and do a photo shoot.

Nothing steampunk in your closet? Don’t be too sure! Big, round, bug-eyed sunglasses; an old key threaded onto a copper-colored necklace; multiple leather belts; and even cargo pants can help you create a serviceable look.

Or you might find that there’s a steampunk event happening near you. A few years ago, Macy’s famous Christmas windows had a steampunk theme. I took loads of pictures, but the unedited images were on the plain side, so I used BeFunky to steampunk them up before posting them on Facebook.

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Step 2: Sharpen.

With the mechanical aesthetic of steampunk, you’ll want cleaner lines.

It’s easy to get the effect just right with BeFunky’s slider. Don’t forget to click the check mark to apply the effect.

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Step 3: Add effects that heighten the contrast.

I used Instant 1 here. Use the slider to apply less than the full effect; you’ll achieve a more subtle result.

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Step 4: Add a vintage effect like tin type.

Used primarily in the 1860s and ‘70s, tin types were photographs made with enamel on a sheet of metal. Trés steampunk!

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Step 5: Keep experimenting with effects.

I was going for a brighter, more intense look, so I used Chromatic 2.

If you make a mistake or apply something you don’t like, no worries! The history panel shows every step you’ve taken. Just hover on the right and the tab pops out. Go back to any previous step.

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Step 6: Bump up the highlights.

Steampunk is theatrical and melodramatic, so use BeFunky to create a lot of contrast.

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Step 7: Perfect the look.

One last tweak with Cross Process 1 for deeper darks and more yellowed whites …

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Step 8: Use the right frame.

Drop the borders down to zero and bump up the corner ratio to give your photo an old-school rounded-corner look.

BeFunky also offers Polaroid and grunge frames that add to the retro feel.

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Voilá! Experiment to your heart’s content to create a whole steampunk album; BeFunky has tons of photo effects to play with including black and white, old photo, vintage colors, and sepia. You can even add textures, too, to achieve a grainy effect.

Happy steampunking!

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