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Old Photo Needs Help

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  • Old Photo Needs Help

    Hi Everyone,

    I am brand new to this forum. It looks like everyone uses Photoshop of some kind. I just started using Photoshop Elements but used PhotoPaint 9 for a couple of years.

    I hope to be a regular, as I have a lot of old family photos to restore for posterity.

    One in particular has been troublesome. It is a photo of my grandmother's brother, on my mother's side.

    I have attached it for your inspection and comments. Notice the big ink stain!

    So are you experts up for a challenge? :-)

    Attached Files

  • #2
    Doug, welcome to RetouchPro

    I liked the old look, so I tried to keep the subtle mix of colors and tones of the original, here is an overview of what I did,

    1) Slight overall levels adjustment
    2) Adjustment curves layer for dark stain, masked to the stain area to lighten so that I had an easier time seeing what it should look like, flattened.
    3) Clone and patch tools to paint in coat and background
    4) For the stain on the hat I ended up using a hue/saturatiion adjustment layer, darkened lightness a little and lowered saturation a smidge ...
    5) A little lightening / darkening on the coat to bring out the shape of the arm

    Hope this helps, Roger
    Attached Files


    • #3
      WOW ROGER!

      That photo looks great!

      I have snipped your directions to follow and play with.

      My best attempt at this photo before was to convert it to grayscale and fudge stain into the the coat. Heh, heh. Not totally satisfactory. :-)

      I kind of like the old sepia toned photos too. But they are harder for me to redo.

      You were not fooled by his eye glasses. I thought the line at first was an pen mark. Only after I got my best attempt done, did I realize, it wasn't.

      Thanks for your help.

      Doug Roberts
      Columbus, OHIO


      • #4

        Thank you , I really appreciate the compliment!
        I was also very happy with this one.

        Doing this restoration coincided with a comment from a customer that she would like me to do a restoration by hand instead of on computer. To her, the photos she has seen done on computer no longer look like old photos, they lose a certain patina that was impossible for her to describe. I have also stared becoming aware of that in some of my work.

        When I was working on your photo I tried a hue / saturation layer to colorize and the image went waaay flat. With most images the difference isn't that great, although it is probably ther in a small way and I havn't noticed it.

        I am wondering if it would be OK with you if I used your image to run some tests and then post them to a new thread focused on the issues of how to hold tonal relationships and investigating the culprits that destroy those relationships - or how to keep an old photo old. But I guess it applies to any photos...

        It is OK either way, Roger


        • #5
          First class Roger - I wish I had this kind of talent and patience.

          You have a gift.


          • #6

            Sure go ahead and use the images any way you want to. That's the least I could do to say thanks for your work.

            In other news, the graphics guy at work has installed Photoshop 7 on the main computer. I can access it, as it is on the network drive.

            So, I am getting my feet wet with it at work.

            The first think I noticed is that a lot of familiar commands from Photoshop Elements are gone.

            Like the color cast command for example. What is the corresponding command in PS7?

            I do like the tone curves though. I missed it from my PhotoPaint days.

            Sorry to be such a newbie.

            Doug Roberts
            Columbus, OH


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