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Archive for the ‘restoring old photos’ Category

Bleached colour repair and restore

Photos that I restore the most are be those that have faded. Simple fades are simple to correct. Just a quick adjustment of the levels or a quick burn in with dodge and burn tools. Complex fades like the one below are not so simple.

This image could not be colour corrected by tweaking the colours, in stead it had to be converted to black and white, restored and then coloured. You may have seen similar posts by me before on this but each one presents different challenges.

Bleached photo restore and colour

Bleached photo restore and colour

In this case the fades were corrected by multiple layers using “apply image”. Each layer was dropped on the next and masked in tighter to build back the tones. I had to stop when things started to look too gray. It then became evident the image need more contrast but this introduced more bleaching, so more masking. Once the exposure was looking ok, it was treated as any other restoration and the coloured using my colouring technique.

Photo restoration some basic techniques

To perform any photo restoration basic techniques are essential. Understanding how to make something look un-restored is what photo restoration is all about.

Edges / selection.

When anything is moved or copied over you should match the edges. When you are selecting something new to insert into an image you should match the edges. Matching edge definition is my number one tip. Edge selection video.

Matching grain.

If you are inserting anything into an image especially skies, match both the edge definition and the grain. Old images have natural random grain that doesn’t mix that well with flat computer generated tones. Skies will look fake and nasty. If inserted with bad selection they will look even more amateurish. Matching grain video

Don’t take short cuts

Taking short cuts with photo restoration is very tempting. Do it quick and make a fast buck! Do this this and it will come back to bite you! Initially you may benefit by making fast money but as soon as your techniques are exposed by some simple image brightening your reputation will plummet through the floor and you will soon be out of pocket. Don’t take shortcuts with photo restoration

Make it real – do no make it up!

Inventing detail or making up obviously fake bits of the image doesn’t make a “restoration”. What makes the restoration is genuinely thinking about the restore and what should be filling those missing pieces. We don’t want smooth edges when they should be sharp, or smooth textures when they should be grainy or nasty cloning. We need to see nothing, no obvious signs of restoration anywhere. Carefully matched grain, no “invented” details and artistic interpretations of what should be there. Restoring a photo with a natural eye.

Balliol Invicta Football Club 1910-1911

Balliol Invicta Football Club 1910-1911 Division one Winners for Southwark and District

Balliol Invicta Football Club 1910-1911 Division 1 Winners for Southwark District

Balliol Invicta Football Club 1910-1911 Division 1 Winners for Southwark and District

I recently restored a photo of a football team, Balliol Invicta Football Club winners, Division one, Southwark and District 1910-1911

Balliol Invicta Football Club 1910-1911 Division one Winners for Southwark and District

Balliol Invicta Football Club 1910-1911 Division one Winners for Southwark and District faithfully reproduced to the same size and blue-black tones on Hahnemühle Paper 24x20 inches.

It’s remarkable how things changed over the 20 years from the Clapton Football Club photo from 1890. The shorts are so much shorter and kit matching.  The socks match unlike the disorganized mess of woolly socks and shin pads of the Clapton photo. I guess rules were coming into force to ensure teams looked the part and the kits were being standardized. Covering the knee was no longer an issue because of more relaxed opinions / rules of how much skin could be shown, not to mention being more practical.

Even the boots in this photo look remarkably similar. Although its difficult to see the Clapton Team had their shorts held up with anything from rope, a scarf or a proper belt. The Balliol team seem to have good image here in the photo and REYNOLDS in the front is even smiling, something you don’t see very often in early photography.

I don’t follow football myself but these early photos do offer a great insight into the fashion of the day and its great to be able to compare them. Yet again another example of how photographic techniques of yesterday still stand the test of time today.

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