Photo Editing: Restoration Tips

This article will consider some photo editing tips which you may find useful in restoring old photographs. Modern PC-based photo editing programs are great tools for preserving historical and archival photographs. After all, saved files are not subject to the yellowing and fading problems that plague printed photographs. Many people have found comfort in archiving their family photographs in digital format. Besides being a rewarding activity in and of itself, photo archiving gives you are great opportunity to restore some of your old photos.

Tip #1 - Use a Good Scanner

The scanner you use to digitize your photos is of great importance. Use the highest-quality scanner you can get your hands on, and set it to maximum color depth and resolution. Scan all images in color, even if they are black and white, as scanning in color collects more information than does scanning in black and white mode. Apply a greyscale effect later, if the image takes on a color hue.

Tip #2 - Always Preserve the Original

Before launching an editor and restoring your photos, make copies. You run the risk of making some unnoticed errors while restoring photographs, so it is wise to exercise prudence with your digital files.

Tip #3 - Negate a Washing Out Effect

One trick to attempt on a washed-out photo is this: in a photo editor that supports layers, duplicate your image to two layers on one canvas and apply a "Multiply" layer blending effect. This should intensify and darken your image. Edit the opacity to tweak this effect.

Another way to effect this is to increase the photo's contrast.

Tip #4 - Sharpen

Apply a Sharpen or Unsharp Mask effect at this point, to create a wider difference between light and dark zone of your image.

Tip #5 - Remove Blemishes

If you photograph has blemished such as spots, splotches, or evidence of dirt or dust, these can be dealt with.

Many photo editors have uniform blemish-removal filters, like Photoshop's Liquify. Apply such a filter to your image.

Editors may also have tools similar to Photoshop's Heal, which can be applied to specific areas of the picture to repair evidence of blemishes or of overly harsh editing. Use the heal tool at a narrow diameter on individual blemishes and imperfections.

Tip #6 - Clone

The clone stamp, especially on black and white images, is the photo restorer's friend. Use it to lift skin and background information and copy it to cover imperfections and undesired material, like distracting background or a date stamp.

Tip #7 - Curves

Color curves are another tool handy to the restorer. Create a steep color curve either for an entire image or for certain selections of it, such as facial features or clothing. Tweak a color curve until you are content, then increase or decrease the saturation to let the modified selection fit in with the rest of the image. A touch with a blend or heal tool around the edges should make the border look seamless.

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