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Lightroom Quick Tip: Get a Cool ’90s Photo Look in Seconds

Gives your images some grungy 1990s style
Photo of 1990s look

The 1990s are all the rage these days. Whether it’s a popular Instagram feed showing photos of what it was like to party at art school in the 1990s or the surprising revival of CD, the ’90s are back, baby, to paraphrase George Costanza in that most quintessential of ’90s shows, Seinfeld.

So, we were excited when our friends at Adobe sent us the Lightroom quick tip below explaining “how beginner photographers can snag the grainy, ‘90s aesthetic with Lightroom for mobile.” Download Lightroom Mobile for free at the Apple App Store or the Google Play store and try these tips today. Then we’ll meet you for coffee at Central Perk and swap ’90s snaps.

Photo of Lightroom 90s preset

Use Presets

Lightroom presets are a one-click option that does the major editing work for you. Simply select which preset you like best for your photo in the Lightroom for mobile app and share directly to Instagram. Here are some of the best Lightroom preset packs to achieve this 1990s photo look:

  • Free Presets: You can experiment with a variety of free presets to get the ‘90s look, including Matte, Vignetting, Grain and Vintage Instant.  
  • Vintage (Premium): These 10 vintage-inspired presets, created in partnership with photographer Sean Flanigan, will give your photos the grainy, over-exposed look instantly. You can find these in Lightroom under Presets > Premium > Style: Vintage.  
  • Retro (Premium): For a faded, matte feel, check out these 11 additional presets for retro inspiration. You can find these in Lightroom under Presets > Premium > Auto+Retro.  

Create the Look by Hand

If you’ve found a preset you like but it doesn’t quite capture the full ‘90s look you’re going for, use Lightroom for mobile to adjust the image with easy-to-use tabs and sliding scales. Here are a few settings to experiment with to achieve that grungy, ‘90s feel:   

  • Flatten your image by increasing the Blacks and decreasing the Whites (under the Light Panel) to achieve a faded look.  
  • Adjust Color Grading to change the mood of the photo to either a cool ‘90s grunge or a warm, Kodak flash-inspired shot.
  • Create an imperfect texture using the Grain tool, especially playing around with the size and roughness sliders.

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