What you see may be manipulated to what you want!
Since this is our ed-ja-macation thread, I thought I would post an example of my self imposed summer educational project - take a current modern day digital image and transform it into one that could have been taken 100 years or so ago.
Go Color RAW.
Shooting your original image in color RAW gives you the best editing options for later conversions. If you have PS CS3 or later or the equivalent stand alone PS you have the most flexibility in converting to B&W through a B&W layer. Lightroom 2 and 3 also have options to convert your color RAW image to a monotone setting. There are Lightroom development pre-sets that can give you aged photo effects. You can also download third party plug in development presets that provide similar effects.
If you only have the Sony RAW converter software that came with your camera, your options are limited but still pretty decent. With the RAW color image opened, click on the "Creative Style" option to the right and you will find B&W and Sepia options. You can then export a jpeg or tiff.
If you just shoot in camera jpegs set to B&W or Sepia "Creative Style," that is what you get. You do not have the benefit of the original color image. Also, you lose a lot of valuable color information.
In this example, I use Lightroom 2 on the original color RAW image for preliminary adjustments - sharpening, contrast, clarity followed by editing in CS5.
The original image taken at LA's Heritage Square Museum - a museum of about seven historic houses and buildings.
A900 w/ Sigma 28-90 @ 40mm, f11, 1/8000, ISO 1600
In this instance, I knew I was going to convert to an old-style image, so I intentionally chose a high ISO to give more color noise. I find that it helps with the overall film grain simulation.
Here's the finished image.
To get there, here are the steps applied. In Lightroom 2, I applied contrast, clarity and sharpening, then exported to CS5.
In CS5, I duplicated the background layer. I then applied the lens correction filter to adjust for vertical perspective and angle.
A copy of that layer was created for healing/clone stamping to remove the people. (Note, I have found that while CS5's automated removal - which removes the selected portion of the image and builds a background in its place based on adjacent portions of your photo - is much better than earlier versions, it has a real hard time where the adjacent elements differ significantly.) Since CS5 had a hard time with the automated removal, I cleaned up the removal with clone stamping to borrow adjacent elements to fill in the removed area.
I then added a B&W adjustment layer. In this layer, you can adjust tonality via color sliders. A better way, and one of the neat things with newer versions of the B&W adjustment layer, is the ability to click on a part of your image and drag to lighten or darken. To do this, in the top left of the layer adjustment tab, you will see a hand; click on the hand and then move your cursor to the element in the photo, press the left button on your mouse, and drag left to darken or right to lighten. (If you do the B&W conversion in Lightroom, it has a similar adjustment feature, but you drag up or down.)
I opened a new blank layer, set to overlay and checked the box for fill with 50% neutral grey. This layer is for the film grain effect. I then applied the add noise filter set for gaussian and click the monochromatic box. Sometimes I add an additional blur filter to this layer. Alternatively, you can apply PS's filter, artistic, film grain. Better yet, if you have NIK's Silver Effects Pro plug-in for PS, you can select from a number of film grains which were created from sampling original negatives. This is probably the best option for creating a more realistic old world image.
Next on this image, I wanted to add a Platinum tone which gives a warmer brown tone and was prevalently used in the time period of this house. To do this, I added a Curves adjustment layer and dragged it above the B&W adjustment layer. The blue channel is dragged downward across the entire range from shadows to highlights. The red channel is dragged upward in the shadow tones.
After those major adjustments, I did some fine tuning. I burned in the corners of the image and the side of the house which was a bit too "hot" (bright). I also dodged around the woman's face to help brighten it from the shadows.
Finally, I cropped the image to make the subject matter more prevalent.
Hope this gives those who are interested in old school images some insight into digital editing. A bit later, I'll post some photos applying Sepia tone, Palladium tone, Cyanotype and Selenium tone.