… this was no easy restore!
Tackling a restore this complex requires some thought on the best processes to fix it. No amount of automatic colour fix filters is going to get close to resolving this!. I scanned it and tried the usual automatic corrections just to see how bad it was. Not good the density of the tone is the concentric rings needing fixing before anything else could be done.
First, the overall tone was brought up to more normal levels to see what colour could be brought back. I concentrated on the centre section but soon found it was way more faded in mid-tones than the outer rings. The image was never going to be corrected with matching colour tones if the densities of those rings were not equalized.
It took some time to get the densities of the colours to match. I used “apply image”, some “dodge and burn” also some layer masks to blend it all in. It left a mess of oversaturated colours in those rings. The colours the had to be desaturated and match in. Needless to say, they didn’t match or come that close to blending in. I ended up recolouring the water and grass with coloured overlay layers and painting it back in, as it was the only way to get a good even tone..
The water created another problem, banding between the fade lines. Here I used a combination of both dodge and burn and frequency separation techniques. I’ll cover that in another post!
It is important to try to avoid this kind of damage happening to your images in the first place. To read up the permanence of images and how some inks and paper chemistries are better than others and how fading affects your images, along with the best preservation techniques try reading the Image Permanence website . It contains a vast array of information on the subject of preservation and environmental effects on photos.
Any questions on this restore I’ll be happy to help and if you want to read up more on other colourizing techniques or have your photo colourized see my main colourizing a black and white photo, page.