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Archive for the ‘restoring old photographs’ Category

What is in this album?

Coming up soon… In future blog posts I will be looking into this album.

What is in this old album?

I am going to see what restoration nightmares are in here. I will be talking about how it is not always good to have a silver lining or at least where certain photos are concerned and a look at photo studios of the past and problems the photographers faced.

Photo repair, patience is the key

When you get a photo as bad as this in need of photo repair, it is seriously tempting to let a quality photo restoration service do it for you. But if you were to tackle this one it might be easiest to airbrush a new back ground or cheat by tightly cropping the photo so there is less work to do. This of course isn’t what restoring is all about.

It is about quality time restoring photos so they look like new from the time and period they were taken.

Creased up old photo restored

Creased up old photo restored

Patience is the key, its take a long time to fix a photo like this. Start with patching and retouching away the cracks that are on their own, giving larger and larger areas to sample texture from when you patch some more.Think of the photo as a sliding block puzzle, you are simply moving areas from one place to another to replace a bit that is missing. Sounds easy does it not? Obviously there is a degree of care from where the replacement texture is taken from, so that the new section blends in well. It’s not much good patching a smooth section of sky with texture from somebody’s woolen sweater. Common sense and patience is the recipe for success here.

When it comes to rebuilding the facial areas or areas where you have to be creative with your patching, slow down. Take a look at what you have in front of you and with a bit of imagination and perhaps a rescale here and there, possibly a flip, feather and blend, you can fill in the gaps. For a quality photo repair you may have to re texture afterwards by first rubber stamping in the correct tone from a nearby source and then patching to regain a little texture.

In this case a nose tip had to be borrowed from another photo and blended in. The windows in the back ground had slight re structure and overall tone and definition was improved with dodge and burn in subtle amounts. A low opacity layer of sharpen was added to the finally repaired old photo. Now we have the quality photo restoration we were looking for. You may want to down sample from your high res scan and apply a slight sharpen again depending on the final reproduction size.

Neil Rhodes Providing quality photo restoration Surrey and Farnham area

Photo Restoration Telling the good from the bad

If ever you look into having a photo restoration done, how do you know that you are going to have it done properly? You can look at the site that offers the restoration and look at their example images of “before” and “after” and surely if it looks good then that’s all there is to it. The price is right so why not go for it.

STOP! I will tell you why. Look closely at those “before” and “after” images of the so called photo repairs. Think about what the restoration artist has done. Let us check the skill level of the restoration artist.

1. When replacing a back ground on a portrait. Has the background got the same tone and texture and grain as the part of the image that is left. Look carefully as there may be some tell tale signs of a quick fix. Halos or smudged lines around the original subject or person. There may also be cropping of the photo repair where the artist has eased the workload and trimmed off background that they didn’t want to deal with. Did you ask for that, and do you mind?

Good background texture

Good background texture

Image showing good texture where a restoration has been carried out correctly

2. Restoring details in the background. Are there strange repeat patterns in the background? Does it look like the grass is like a repeat pattern wall paper? Does the same bit of wood appear many times, or is that brick wall just a 10 times copy and repeated over and over to save time? Is there smudging or are there ill defined areas where the artist has simply blotted out details?

Incorrect cloning technique

Incorrect cloning technique

Image showing repeat patterns and bad texture where a restoration has been carried out incorrectly and with a lazy technique.

3. Does it look like it has been restored? When an image is very badly damaged, the artist will have to work hard to fix the damaged areas. Depending on the skill of the artist the image may look like it has been worked on. This will normally be where large areas of faces have been damaged or smooth tones or block colours have been divided by a tear or tape marks. However a skilled artist will make sure that the tones and the texture match and that the photo repair does not just look like a lifeless block of colour.

Look out for these pointers when examining the work on display, if you detect any of this go somewhere else, as the skills probably aren’t there in the first place. Providing photo restorations and repairs throughout the UK

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