Restoring an image is not as easy as some people think. I have met a lot of people that think they can restore images that are pretty much trashed. After they attempt it they find it is not so easy. There are some things you will need to bring an old photo back to life. Lets look at some of the things you will need.
Great software is a must when it comes to the restoration of an image. You need the proper software and you need to learn to use it. Software is always changing and being developed. That is a good thing. Two of the most popular software sources used by photographers that do restore photos are Lightroom and Photoshop. The best one for photo editing is Photoshop. Photoshop can help fix a lot of problems in a photo. For example, in the photo above, Photoshop was a big help in fixing the discolored and white defects of the photo. I have to give my son, Jordan (AKA Picture Monk) a lot of credit in using his awesome Photoshop skills to help repair those areas. After Picture Monk used his amazing Photoshop skills I finished up some additional editing in Lightroom. I used Lightroom to sharpen the image and reduce the noise in the photo. There was a lot of noise in the image because the photo was very small and small scanned photos are the most difficult to edit and restore. Since the photo was an old photo I wanted to keep the color of the photo and not turn it black and white. I felt the original photo had a nostalgic look to it and I wanted to keep that feel of the image.
Other factors play an important part in photo restoration. You have to have a good creative eye to detect what needs to be repaired. Most good photographers that do restore photos are pretty picky when it comes to finding all the imperfections in an image. Those are photographers you want. But most of all you have to have a lot of patience. People wonder why photographers charge seemingly a lot of money to restore an old image. The answer is, it takes a lot of time in most cases to edit an old photo and you normally don't get it right the first. I have had some images that I have restored in the past that has taken me several hours to get the image right for my liking.
So, next time you see an old photo that has been restored, think about what it took to restore the photo. It takes great software, the ability to use the software, a creative eye to detect what needs to be fixed, and most of all, patience.
If you can restore an old photo, go for it. I would enjoy seeing your work.
Roger's Tip: Keep in mind that if you do restore a very old photo for someone, make sure the customer understands you cannot make an old photo look like a photo that can be created today. The goal in restoring any image is to make it better than it was, save it, and give the customer the ability to print it.
Until next time.
- Roger Younce