I received a call at 8.45am this morning from BBC Radio Solent inviting me on the Alex Dyke show at 10:10 am talking about flood damage photos and the recent flooding disaster. Obviously I said yes! Having previously been talking about photo restoration on BBC National Radio on the Mark Wright show i jumped at another chance to share what we can do.
I think its fair to say at such short notice its easy to panic but “be yourself”. It should be less nerve racking than when I was broadcast Nationally last time on evening radio. This time of the morning is in tune with my target audience, or at least i hope so.
I wish to thank Alex Dyke for having me on the show and the team at the BBC
Wedding photographers TIP: Do you have an indecisive client?
If you do this is your radar to tell you to think smart. Shoot the line up and posed locations with no one in them.
I often get requests to take people out of a line up and then bunch them up. Its 10 times more difficult and costly for everyone if there is no “blank scene” to use as a donor for filling in gaps in the background. Shoot an empty scene with no people and this safe guards the retouching process and gives you leeway for indecisive clients! All it takes is one extra shot! Use a tripod and keep it in the same spot for each location!
Share this tip everywhere we can all benefit from it!
Water stains on photo can be restored but some are far more tricky than others.
I was recently contacted by Robert who had an old photo mounted on card. A long time ago it had received some water damage which had since gathered dirt. To compound the problem the surface of the photograph was textured with those horrendous “stipple bumps”. Up close it looks like someone has covered the photo with bubble wrap. This was a surface treatment originally designed to toughen the image for wear and tear. It did not appear to be affected by thumb prints so seemed the ideal Matt paper. Unfortunately it left a myriad of minute channels and troughs for dust and dirt to gather in over the years.
Tackling this image required the use of a variety of techniques from the restoration tool box.
Firstly the image was treated with an FFT filer to remove the texture. (Fast Fourier Transform). “Fourier” is the surname of the person who invented the technique. He came up with a ways of deconstructing an image mathematically and with his calculations was able detect and then remove regular patterns or textures. If you own a digital image editing program you may find a plugin or process that uses this to remove textures.
The image was then converted to a black and white. The uneven contrast was tackled next. Sections of the image were masked out and brightened and treated for tone and contrast to attempt to get a more evenly lit image. Ultimately the problematic sections were lightened or darkened with a soft brush, dodging or burning where needed.
The mans shirt was almost completely remade due to texture loss when brightening. I painted in base white, added noise or grain to it and matched this to the underlying texture of the image with a little blur. The collar and folds on the shirt were shaded in with a soft brush. A similar process was used to recreate the curtain backdrop.
Skin textures are always the hardest to get right. On the right hand side the girls skin and hair took the most time. Robert knew how he wanted the hair to look so we worked through a few edits to get this right, trying shiny hair and partings in various places. The skin also took some time to keep it even without losing too much facial form. Robert had paid a premium price to get the result you see and his girl friend on Valentine’s day was over the moon!