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How far to go in restoring an image

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  • How far to go in restoring an image

    I'm am a newbie concerning photo restoration and the such and I have a question. It seems, looking at the restoration challenges here, that we all have different mind sets on how far to go in restoring an image. I was reading on one challenge here that the
    restorer left a fingerprint because it was a part of the photo's history. Couldn't this be said about almost every defect ? For example, a photo folded and carried in a wallet for umpteen years, or a photo damaged in a fire, all things that are a history of the photo, but very distracting from the photo itself. So my question is... what to leave, what to keep. When is enough ,enough?

  • #2
    I'll take the easy answer: "It all depends."

    If a job is being done for a paying customer, that's the kind of issues that need to be resolved before starting the work.

    If it's for yourself, you get the first, last and only vote.


    • #3
      What about here on the challenges?


      • #4
        Just follow the instructions that come with the challenge. You will find that not everybody follows them to a tee, so be aware of what you're supposed to do, then do what you can.



        • #5
          Because retouching is an art and not a science it is really a subjective question. My latest challenge for 'cowboy' I left the shaft of light (at least I interpreted it as that) whilst most removed it. Judgement calls are part and parcel of the process, some will change some things, some others, hopefully we will all meet in the middle somewhere


          • #6
            What about here on the challenges?
            As Ed says -- check the instructions (they vary a bit from image to image), and as Mike says - " is a subjective question", so you decide how much to change, and those who critique your work decide how much they think you should have done.

            For me, it's sometimes hard to distinguish between "damage" and "an original element" due to the extent of damage to some images. I try to restore an image to what it would have originally looked like when it was photographed (eliminating fingerprints, etc. that accumulated afterwards), but sometimes others here see elements that I didn't see, or see them differently. Each person's differing view results in all of us learning to see in additional ways and to potentially learn new strategies.


            • #7
              To a large extent it depends on what the customer wants. I work with mostly Historical Images so most of my work consists of tone/balance, repair major cracks ,scratches, stains but never "Frankenpicturing" by grafting parts from one photo to another or manipulating by changing backgrounds, etc...unless the customer specifies it and even then I will sometimes refuse to do it, and if I do I clearly mark on the back with a Pec-Pen, that this is a manipulated image, not a faithful copy of an original.
              Historical images should have the absolute least amount of work done to them...only enough to "clear" the image up. The old story I tell, boring but worth repeating as an example , was the photo brought to me of an old tractor. The owner had taken it to be restored. The Restore was very good. Clear, excellent tone and so on...just one little problem,...the original was a photo of a John Deere tractor. As the lettering and front of the tractor was very faded and damaged, the Restorer had thoughtfully grafted the front end of a Ford tractor over the damaged area...Oops!! Tom


              • #8
                Thanks all for your input, it's much appreciated.