Photo Restoration: A trick I learned

November 18th, 2008

Last night, I decided to try my hand at restoring a few old pictures from my Father’s childhood and family.

I started with this picture of my Father:

scan0013

I love this picture and how much it reminds me of some of my brothers.

So I did a few edits and ended up with this:

scan0013 cropped

I was happy with it and went on to edit another one.

But then I realized something.

I realized this picture is no longer black and white, but has yellowed with age.

And while I kind of liked the “glow” it gave the picture, I wondered if I could get a more faithful restoration of its original colors by doing something different….

So I racked my brain…

And suddenly it came to me!

I could use the “black & white” editing command!

I wasn’t sure how it would turn out on a picture that was already black and white, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try.

So I did:

scan0013 b&w cropped

And I couldn’t believe the difference!

Though I missed the “glow”, I felt like this was a more accurate restoration.

And then I remembered something!

scan0002

This is the wedding picture of my Father’s parents.

A picture that was accidentally stained by a piece of tape on the back of the picture that bled through after being in the sun for years.

And a few years ago, my Mother asked if it was possible to fix it.

At that time, I didn’t have a son.

Or a blog.

And I wasn’t taking 250,000 pictures a month.

And editing 30,000 pictures a month.

So I had no idea how to fix it.

And I asked Charming and he didn’t think it was possible.

So I told my Mother, “Sorry, we can’t fix it.”

And she said, “That’s okay, I just thought I’d ask.”

scan0002

But last night I thought, “Hmm… Maybe it can be fixed…”

So I opened the picture in Fireworks.

Clicked the “black & white” command.

Fiddled around with some other edits.

And…..

scan0002 fixed dust

Viola!!

I couldn’t believe my eyes!

The stain completely disappeared!

I was so happy, I promptly emailed the picture to my Mother and wrote about it in my journal.

Because you can never be too grateful for an inspiring idea from above.

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8 Comments

heather smith | 11/18/2008 11:30 pm

heidi… what great heritage photos!!! i love them. and you did a great job editing them. gotta love digital editing!

 
charlotte | 11/19/2008 6:23 am

Beautiful pics and fantastic job restoring them! I had NO idea you took that many pics and did so much enhancing of them. Sounds like a lot of work but you definitely have a gift for it!

Heidi | 11/19/2008 10:32 am

Uh oh… I may have been exaggerating just a little… :) I’m not actually sure how many pictures I take every month–only that it fills up a DVD and FEELS like 350,000. :):)

 
 
tearese | 11/19/2008 11:19 pm

On my latest post about my sketchbook, I had to do the same thing! (Convert to grayscale). For some reason the scanner read my pencil drawings as greyish blue on yellowish paper.
Good job fixing your pics.

 
Neighbor Katie ~;o) | 11/21/2008 8:50 pm

Wonderful restorations, how exciting! I have a question for you. My dear friend had her wedding photos out for a project and her 2 year old son got a hold of her scrap booking scissors and cut into some of her wedding photos. I wonder if there is anyway to get those restored? She was understandably upset, those photos are so precious to her! She was so gracious with her son though, it really touched me, I would love to be able to find a way to restore them for her! Any suggestions?

Heidi | 11/24/2008 9:22 pm

Oooh, I’ve never worked on anything that’s been ripped or cut… But I’m pretty sure it can be fixed. I saw an advertisement once for restoring pictures that were incomplete or ripped. It was at Museum Quality Framing. I’m not sure how much it would cost or how they do it, though…

Also, if she doesn’t have the original negatives, I would contact her wedding photographer and see if they still have the wedding negatives. They often give away/sell their old negatives (especially now that so many are switching to digital), and that would be a super easy way to get her fixed pictures back.

 
 
Melissa | 11/24/2008 3:14 pm

I just love looking at any vintage photographs! :) Are your father’s parents still living? What a great picture! You did a great job restoring those – I’m sure your work is priceless to your family.

Heidi | 11/24/2008 9:18 pm

Thanks, Melissa! My Grandmother is still alive and she’s so fun.

 
 

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