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  • Advice on double exposed photo

    I have this old picture I have come across. It is double exposed and was probably taken somewhere in the 1920's or 30's possibly. I attached a copy of the picture though it is just a picture I took of it with a cell phone. I have not been able to get a proper scan because I am afraid of possibly damaging the photo if I take it out of it's current album. I was wondering if any of you think it is possible to separate the images. I am afraid there are important parts of each image that may just be too dark or covered by the other image to pull apart. I know both images have potential to be really interesting pieces. Any advice is appreciated. From what I can tell I believe one image is possibly my great grandmother, and the other image I believe could be military related as there are a lot of photos in the bunch I found of a family member during their military service (probably around WWII). This has been a mystery to me for almost two years. Please let me know if there are any programs I should look into or any other things I should check out. Even if it is a lost cause I look forward to anyone's input on this.
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  • #2
    Re: Advice on double exposed photo

    Can you take a picture of it so you don't have to scan it? This is purely a guess, but if maybe look at the different color channels and see if there is a way to separate it. I'd love to see what others say.

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    • #3
      Re: Advice on double exposed photo

      Originally posted by photomom5 View Post
      but if maybe look at the different color channels and see if there is a way to separate it.
      The probability of that working is well... not very good. I'm not doing the long version today. The short version is that RGB channels are highly correlated. They overlap somewhat, and you won't typically see an edge in one where it doesn't exist in another.

      My opinion on this one would be to paint it out by hand. There have been attempts to automate things like this. I think they were Siggraph papers on the topic. It could have been another source, but that isn't really relevant. The most reliable way here would be brute force (retouching out the undesirable elements).

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      • #4
        Re: Advice on double exposed photo

        It might be worth trying scanning through the glass - sometimes where you cannot separate the photo from the glass that is all you can do...I know its not ideal and assuming you can take the glass and photo out of its frame without damaging either......

        If you can do that then it might be worth playing around with the scanners settings to see if you can draw out any more information from either of the images - a bit of trail and error really - it might not work because of what klev has said but it could be worth a go....just remembering what CTein achieved by altering the scanning settings in his video.....
        Last edited by JoReam; 01-25-2015, 06:47 PM.

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        • #5
          Re: Advice on double exposed photo

          Originally posted by JoReam View Post
          It might be worth trying scanning through the glass - sometimes where you cannot separate the photo from the glass that is all you can do...I know its not ideal and assuming you can take the glass and photo out of its frame without damaging either......

          If you can do that then it might be worth playing around with the scanners settings to see if you can draw out any more information from either of the images - a bit of trail and error really - it might not work because of what klev has said but it could be worth a go....just remembering what CTein achieved by altering the scanning settings in his video.....
          There is no glass. This picture is in an old photo album that is all paper and looks like most of the photographs are somehow stuck to the paper. Just another hurdle for me to clear with the picture. If I am able to get a proper scan on it I will try playing with the settings. Guess you never know what may come out. I really appreciate everyone's advice on this. I am sure there is a better shot to isolate the image of the female, but I am holding out hope that the military type picture can be recovered. Also, with the old pictures like this do you think the sepia tone should be kept or do you think something else would look better. I am sure it all comes down to personal preference, but I would like to hear what you guys think.

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          • #6
            Re: Advice on double exposed photo

            "I am sure it all comes down to personal preference, but I would like to hear what you guys think."

            It may not be what we think, but what the customer thinks. Have had several customers come back and say "Wow, really like your work, can we get so many copies in black and white and so many more in sepia tone? That way everyone in the family is happy.

            I have found that happy customers makes for a happy bank account.......

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            • #7
              Re: Advice on double exposed photo

              Can you scan the photo without removing it from the album - or is it too hard to do and likely to wreck the album?

              I agree with Mike regarding black and white or sepia. Sometimes though if you can work out the photographic process and what the photo would have originally been - i.e. black and white or sepia, then people are interested to know.

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              • #8
                Re: Advice on double exposed photo

                Originally posted by JoReam View Post
                It might be worth trying scanning through the glass - sometimes where you cannot separate the photo from the glass that is all you can do...I know its not ideal and assuming you can take the glass and photo out of its frame without damaging either......

                If you can do that then it might be worth playing around with the scanners settings to see if you can draw out any more information from either of the images - a bit of trail and error really - it might not work because of what klev has said but it could be worth a go....just remembering what CTein achieved by altering the scanning settings in his video.....
                I didn't say it was a lost cause. I said where technology is today, if someone asked me to do something like that, I would do so by brute force for reliability reasons.That could change drastically in the future. I don't want to be too much of a buzzkill.

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                • #9
                  Re: Advice on double exposed photo

                  Taking a picture with a good quality camera is certainly an alternative to scanning. The key points being even lighting and avoiding any distortion.

                  Alternatively will the album lay flat, photocopy style on a flatbed scanner or are the pages/binding too delicate?

                  As far as the separation of images goes I agree with klev. Good Photoshop painting skills and a lot of time are needed. Maybe an ongoing personal project? If you need a couple of pointers on photoshop painting let me know, although a lot of the skill is gained through doing/trial and error. With a little patience projects like this can work wonders for developing your skills.

                  Sepia or not is a matter of taste. I usually do a good black and white conversion then re-apply a sepia tone. This gives me control over the strength of the sepia effect and allows me to match images as part of a set if needed. Of course everything is kept non destructive to allow for a change of mind.

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