Digital Photo Restoration Tips and Techniques
Age and time affect all things and it's always helpful to note that the possibility of your favourite photographs succumbing to the ravages of time, accidental water spillage, poor storage and exposure to sunlight in the case of portraits is inevitable. Although contingency plans can be used to forestall or slow down photo degradation, these plans cannot stop the degradation therefore, turning to image restoration and photo retouching to restore these old photographs is the best remedy.
Techniques for Old/Antique Photo Restoration
In restoring old photographs, the level and type of degradation that occurs on the picture in question usually determines the technique (we assume you already understand the need of scanning the photograph with a high resolution) to employ therefore in situations such as;
- Fading: With the use of Photoshop, you can tackle fading images by restoring contrast and the dynamic range of the photo. This is done with the "levels tools" and image histogram to adjust the black and white contrast on the picture as well as the overall brightness of the photograph. You can also employ the use of duplicate layers and opacity, lightness, curve tool etc. to fine tune a fading background.
- Colour Cast: This is when the photograph has an unnatural/unrealistic colouring or the "yellowing" of the photo. This can be solved by using the white balance tool on regions that (I) are gray/yellow (ii) receiving little or no illumination etc. The "white balance" neutralizes colour casts quite easily to produce a more balanced photograph. Automated correction can also be used with duplicate layers to analyze the whole image, searching for areas in need of correction.
- Localized Damage: Are the natural issues such as dust marks, stains, holes, and scratches etc which cause imperfections to your antique photographs. The techniques that can be used to combat localized damage are; cloning and the use of healing brushes. The clone stamp tool helps you reconstruct full image characteristics from damaged ones while the healing brush tool replaces the texture by reconstruction from the original photo. The use of these two tools takes some practice therefore, regular use is recommended.
A perfect Photo retouching and photo touch-up job relies a lot on the individual’s ability to make the correct judgements on the critical aspects and restoration process. Before embarking on restoring old pictures, you should begin by noting down the exact changes you need to accomplish. Questions like; which sections need the most touch-ups, what are the physical imperfections and which technique would best serve its needs should be answered.
Few Tips for Image Retouching
Retouching old photos is a task that involves much decision making which leads to over-editing therefore always keep an eye for details which would enable you know when you have crossed the line between a good editing job to over-editing.
Make most of your touch ups in black and white mode for carrying out retouching projects in colour would distort your sense of correctness. Finally, be patient for photo retouching is a gradual process.