iPhone and iPad

Make Your Digital Photos Look Like They Were Taken with Kodak’s First Camera

Nancy Messieh 17-10-2013

The National Media Museum recently published a set of photos on Flickr that were taken using Kodak’s first ever consumer camera – the Kodak No. 1. As Gizmodo points out, to print your photos back then, you had to send the camera along with the film back to Kodak.


Printing your photos these days is far easier, with apps like PostalPix, which lets you get photo prints delivered to your doorstep Postalpix: The Easiest Way to Print Your Smartphone Photos [US] As the saying goes, the best camera is the one that's with you, and for that reason, if you're a smartphone user, you find yourself taking more and more photos with your phone rather than... Read More using nothing more than your smartphone. If you want your photos to look just like these great examples from the National Media Museum, all it takes is a mobile app or two to reproduce the vintage look.

The Kodak No. 1


Applying a sepia filter to your images, and a round frame over the photo reproduces the Kodak No. 1’s vintage look, and the round frame is a great twist. If you’ve been looking for a way to make your photos stand out on Instagram 5 Tried & True Tips For Winning At Instagram & Getting Tons Of Likes When it comes to getting noticed on Instagram, there are basic rules to follow as would be the case with any social network - post regularly, interact with users, include an interesting description with your... Read More – this might just be the way to do it.


Depending on how true you want to stay to the original look – you can either apply the filters listed below to get the vintage look, and then run it to through the app that applies the frame, or vice versa. Of course applying the frame before applying the filter will allow you to create a more authentic vintage look.



The first step to making your photos look like they were taken in the 1800s is to apply a vintage filter. With the advent of Instagram, there’s certainly no shortage of ways to make your photos look old-timey. For your photos to look like they were taken using the Kodak No. 1, you’ll need to apply a sepia filter.

With the cross-platform free photo-editing app Snapseed (which you can use on Android How to Use Snapseed: 10 Tips for Better Snapseed Photo Editing Snapseed is a free photo editing app that helps you get the best out of your photos. Use these Snapseed tips for best results. Read More , iOS or even in your Chrome browser Everything You Need to Know About Using Snapseed in Google+ Google recently re-introduced Snapseed for desktop users, no matter which operating system they happen to be using. The only catch is that Snapseed is only available using Google's own browser, Chrome. Read More ) the first thing you’ll want to do is apply the black and white filter.

Once the photo has been converted to black and white, you’ll want to apply the Vintage filter. Reduce the texture strength (in most cases around +20 seemed a good place to stop), and depending on your image, you might need to increase the brightness a little bit as well. If you want to get rid of the vignetting – increase the center size to +100.



The style strength can also be adjusted to about+50 or +60. Once you’ve tweaked your image to look like the original Kodak camera, it’s ready to go through the steps to create the frame, described below.


If you’d prefer a simpler method, VSCO Cam offers a great alternative.  If you want to use just one filter – X4 or X5- which come in the  Black and White Light Tone set. The set doesn’t come with the free download, so if you want it, it’ll cost you an additional $0.99, unless you decide to go for the entire $5.99 bundle, and it will be included in the downloads.

Another option is to convert the image to black and white before importing it into VSCO Cam and then you can apply any number of filters. Just a few that we found that worked included G3, M3, M1,P1, or S4. To find out more about how the app works, check out our in-depth review of VSCO Cam Beyond Filters: Unique & Interesting iPhone Camera Apps The App Store is packed with so many camera and video apps that it becomes difficult to filter out the noise. Today we're taking some of the guess work out of that equation. Read More .


Prefer to do this on your desktop? Online photo editor PicMonkey is the easiest option available yet. After uploading the photo, go to the filter tab, and select the Sepia option. You can then adjust the tint using the filter’s settings, to get the perfect shade, as close to the Kodak No. 1 as possible




Now that you’ve got your sepia image, using whichever method you preferred, you can now put it in a cool Kodak No. 1 round frame. The easiest way to do this is with the free iOS app Krop.

After loading your image into the app, from the photo library, you can scale and adjust the image, choose a colour for the frame (although if you’re staying true to the classic look, you’ll use the white frame), and adjust its opacity. If you want to stay really true to the vintage look, you’ll keep it opaque.

Again, if you really want to the vintage look, you should run a black and white photo through Krop, and then run it through the sepia filter, using VSCO Cam, Snapseed or PicMonkey,  only after you’ve placed the image in the frame. This will give the frame itself a yellowed, vintage look.



Here are a couple of examples we put together using the X5 filter on VSCO Cam and the Krop app:


Do you have any tips on how to make your photos look like they were taken using the Kodak No. 1? Let us know in the comments.

Image credit: @JayBe

Related topics: iPhoneography, Photography, Smartphone Photography.

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  1. Iris Meniscus
    October 17, 2013 at 8:47 pm


    Respectfully, there are some inaccuracies in your article.

    The photograph of the camera that leads into this article is misleading and inaccurate to your readers. This is not a picture of the “first” camera George Eastman invented nor is it the first camera “Kodak” made.

    The camera in the picture is a 'Kodak No. 1 Folding Pocket Camera," which is a folding, A120 film camera made from 1922 to 1931. The Kodak No. 1 Folding Pocket Camera did not produce round format images but produced rectangular images that were approximately 2.25 inches by 3.50 inches (6cm x 9cm) in size.

    The actual first “Kodak” camera was filed under US Patent Number 388,850, dated September 4, 1888. It only came in black, had no bellows and is more of what is popularly know as a “Box Camera.” This was also known as the “Kodak No. 1” (without the folding and pocket descriptors) which may have been a source of your confusion. This No. 1 invented in 1888 did indeed produce circular format images.

    Your above inaccurately pictured camera is about 33 to 43 yeas and several iterations of Kodak cameras off the mark.

    This information was confirmed through the following sources:

    The George Eastman House in Rochester, NY
    The United States Patent Office

    Iris Meniscus

    • Aibek E
      October 22, 2013 at 5:41 pm

      thanks for spotting it, Iris

    • Nancy
      October 24, 2013 at 6:23 pm

      Thanks for pointing that one inaccuracy out Iris. You're right that the camera above is not the one mentioned in the article and that the Kodak No. 1 (the first consumer camera as we point out in the article) was a box camera. The Kodak No. 1 Folding Camera that you mention, however, was available from 1899 to 1905, according to this Kodak resource