Archive for the ‘Photo Restoration’ Category

Two African Boys

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

My latest client collected a group of family photos on a visit to Africa, and sent them to me to restore.

As you can see, this wonderful photo of two little boys is badly damaged and aged.

Original photo of two African boys, with damage

It is about 40 years old so it has yellowed and up close, there are numerous cracks, both serious and fine.

Close up of damage on African boy's face

The work took 4-5 hours total, because of the level of detailed work necessary to remove every crack, and repaint areas which were missing completely.  I also scanned it at a high enough resolution that the final image could be reprinted at 5×7 inches, and be a treasure to both men’s children.

Two African Boys - photo restored
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Independence Day Water Skiers

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

The Catalina Islander, a local newspaper in California, hired me to restore and color tint this vintage photo to use for a July 4th edition. A reader had provided the photo, which featured his mother, on the left, as a young woman.

Catalina Island Fourth of July Water Skiers

After I got past the initial puzzle of how the drummer was staying upright without a tow rope, in a day and age where Photoshop was non existent, I started by cleaning up some minor degradation and spotting. Then I adjusted the contrast in places that were dark but still needed color, like the flag’s stripes. The client provided some input into the colors to use, and I chose others that seemed appropriate. After a number of revisions, the new version looked like it had been tinted the way it was done by hand in the old days of photography – using Photoshop. This is the final result:

Catalina Island Independence Day Water Skiers
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Family History for Web Site

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

It’s always a great idea to include family history and stories in small family operated business web sites, and that is what Tobia Construction did on their About Page. But the photo of the owner’s father was a bit rough looking with age, and needed it cleaned up and improved a bit. There were some dusty parts, some specs of dirt, and a lot of fading in areas for me to work on, as you can see by clicking this image for a close-up.

Tile Maker - Original

Here is the final result, which I delivered in 4×6 format for reprinting or distribution to other family members – and scaled to a good size for the web page. I intentionally left the vintage look intact, and added a new sepia tone (brownish tint) which would have been appropriate to this time period.

Tile Maker - Final
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1970s Damage

Friday, March 6th, 2009

People often ask me if I’ve ever been thwarted in my attempts to restore a photo. Usually not, I say – but there are some photo eras which for whatever reason are harder to restore than others. The photographic technology of the 1970s, is a prime example. However photos were printed in that time period, they tend to go extremely bad, even when sealed up out of the sun. And once the image is damaged like this, it’s extremely hard to bring it back to full quality.

This photo was kept in an album made for photographs, supposedly “archival quality” and it was taken in 1978. It rarely saw daylight so I was shocked to find it in this condition when I opened up the album recently. In fact, ALL the photos from that time period, printed this way, were in similar condition.

Family Visit, 1978

I can honestly say I threw more of my Frankenphoto super powers into this one than I do most – and this was the best I could get in the end. I offer it as an example of both what IS possible and what is not, so that if you have photos in this condition, your expectations are realistic about what kind of restoration is possible. Perfect, certainly not – but certainly more recognizable (and now digitally preserved) than the original.

Family Visit, 1978 - Attempted Restoration
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Grandfather’s Restoration

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

This client sent me two high resolution scans of some very badly aged and damaged photos of her grandfather. Click them to see what I started with.

Grandfather and Dog, Before Grandfather Sitting, Before

I explained that in at least one of them, the loss of picture quality would mean that the end result would possibly be lacking in detail, but that I could indeed restore these images to excellent likenesses of her grandfather. I wanted to make sure that she had the right expectations – then try to exceed them.

These were the final results. I provided the client with both photos, fixed and cropped to print as many 4×6 copies as she wanted.

Grandfather and Dog, Fixed Grandfather Sitting, Fixed
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Mother and girls

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

This treasured family photo was given to me to restore. It was discolored, cracked and torn in five places, and had some water marks and stains.

Mother and girls original

I pieced it together on the scanner and restored it as close as possible to its original condition. The hardest part was the mom’s left eye and cheek, which was really torn up so I had to redraw most of that. But this is the end result – quite near to perfect and ready to be shared with family members.

Mother and girls restored
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Anna Leach Restored

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Anna Leach was a prominent president of Emma Willard School in Troy NY. The school has a beautiful “hall of presidents” with portraits and photos of each person who has been president there – but had none of Miss Leach.  I was contacted when they found a small old photo in an archive, and asked if I could restore it to a painting sized portrait.

Anna Leach Original

The original photo had been printed on newsprint so this is what it looked like up close.

Anna Leach Closeup

In the end, I was successful – using a great many techniques to smooth and clarify the texture in the photo, and filters to give it a painterly quality, the tiny original was able to be blown up to 16″x20″. I arranged to have it printed on archival quality photo paper, and delivered it to the school to be framed and displayed – restoring Anna Leach to her rightful place in the Hall of Presidents.

Anna Leach Restored
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Raggedy Photo

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Photos, particularly those from the mid to late 20th century, have not really stood the test of time. We all have boxes and albums of family photos from that era that are yellowed and faded from sunlight.

In this photo, taken in the early 1970s, not much is wrong except that it is badly discolored from age. So I’ve scanned it and adjusted the colors, making a digital copy that can be reprinted.

Raggedy Ann and Andy Original

And for the eagle eyed amongst you – yes, that is me on the right. Mom rocked the homemade Halloween costumes!

Raggedy Ann and Andy Restored
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