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  • sepia tonning yes or no

    Hi I'am new to photo restoration and get a lot of old photo's that have turned sepia but do not know wether they started out like that or have turned that colour with age. Is there any way of knowing as I never know wether to turn them into black and white or sepia for the final print. Can anyone help please.

  • #2
    Hi Digi
    Welcome aboard. I am not the best person to answer this but I believe there is an actual process that they did to create the sepia tone in the old photos. As to whether or not to leave the aged look in or go black and white should best be left up to the person you are doing it for. The old eye of the beholder saying. I actually think the sepia tone was added to give pictures a simulated color and warmth back when there was no color photography. I could be wrong on that guess and I am sure some of my more learned photography friends on this forum will step in and give more factual info than I am able to.
    DJ

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    • #3
      Digi, The short answer to your question is that there is no positive way to know if the photo started out with a sepia tone or not. Some of the prints from the 1870's(approx) thru the 1920's and even later did have a gold tone or a reddish brown tone to them but knowing for sure would probably entail close up microscopic examination and a more than passing familiarity with the physical structure of the various papers used, perhaps destructive chemical analysis( not recommended!) and so forth. I usually ask the customer if they want the sepia tone removed or left. The tone produced by time's passing is actually a form of deterioration and I provide an archival storage envelope for them to store the original in to retard the deterioration. There is an excellent book by James M. Rielly entitled " Care and Identification of 19th Century Photographic Prints" which goes into great detail and is really well worth the money. Hope this was of some help. Tom

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      • #4
        Hi Digi,

        I think you got your answer! But I'd just like to welcome you to the site also. We have a great group here, with a lot of very knowledgeable people willing to share. (I'm not among the very knowledgeable, but willing to share the little I do know). Welcome aboard!

        Ed

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        • #5
          Hi
          Thanks a lot for your replies, I think the simple answer is to ask the customer what they would prefer. I have noticed that by turning the image into b/w sometimes get rid of a lot of noise so I think I will mostly work with a b/w image then seipa tone it when finnished what do you think? I have also down loaded the little girl to have a go at no trouble putting the pieces back together but there is so much damage to the image ie scratches etc. I'am really strugling to make a good job the background is not to bad but the girls dress and socks are losing all detail no matter what i try. At the moment I have selected the dress and socks and used the dust and scratches filter that seems to be best but it loses all detail any ideas. I would just like to say I can not leave this site alone it seems so friendly and is packed with so much information, at the moment I'am not getting much work done I dont know how you find the time "MUCH RESPECT" any way thanks again for your replies see you all soon.

          Digi

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          • #6
            Digi,

            I'm not sure how much this will help, but check out this thread: http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/sho...light=favorite

            Ed

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            • #7
              Also, here's the one I posted in another thread. Take your choice. Hope one works for you.

              This is probably not the best
              way to do this, but I made a duplicate layer, set that layer to lighten, and
              selected the move tool. Then I moved the layer just a little with the arrow keys on
              the keyboard. Many of the scratches were completely gone, and the rest were
              much better. Then I used the layer mask to paint black over the face and shoes of
              the girl to bring it back to the original state. If I were to do this on a photo I
              wanted to keep, I would probably try to select the subject, invert the selection,
              make a copy via selection, set the mode to lighten, and use the layer mask to take
              off the part that infringed on the subject. There are most likely better ways, but it
              seemed to work pretty well. If you try it, you will probably need to try different
              things, such as how far to move the layer, etc.

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              • #8
                Ed_L,

                Thanks alot for quick reply, I have tried the lighten and move techique but was not happy with result but your link for removing scratches sounds interesting and will give it a go, thanks again.

                Digi

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                • #9
                  You're welcome. I don't always give feedback that quick, I just happened to be online at the same time you were.

                  Ed

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                  • #10
                    Digi
                    Found a better way to get an overall sepia tone. Choose a yellow orange color from the swatches for you forground color. Create a new layer and set the blend mode to color. Then choose edit > fill and in the fill box select foreground color. It will seem a bit harsh but use the opacity slider to bring it down to the level you want. If the hue is not quite what you want then use Hue/ saturation to adjust it a little. It very easy to edit that way and the sepia seems better distributed than any other method.
                    DJ

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