Restoring Faded Memories

Let's face it, everyone these days has a camera and millions of photographs are taken every day. Many photos are forgotten over time and some special photos can become damaged, faded, even worse, lost. Many people fail to remember how precious old photos are. Sadly, many old photos are usually stuffed away somewhere and forgotten. When they are found, that is when reality sets in and some smart owners of the image realize I have on one copy of the image and they need to get their photos restored and digitized. 

Just recently, I was given a couple of photos to restore and to see if I could bring back a little life to the old images. Both photos were over 20 years old and there was only original image for each photo. I really enjoy restoring old images. It is always a fun challenge to make an image better and it is a joy to see the clients or customer's reaction to a restored photo. Now I have to admit that in today's digital age and with access to cheap editing software, it is much easier to make an old photo look a little better, but it often times requires a level of skill, great post-processing software, and a "creative eye" to give an old photo some real life. That is where a good and talented photographer is needed. 

Many people that take photos think that what makes a photo look great is the camera. With today's cameras that is sometimes true. They think the free filters on a phone or iPad is all they need. In most cases, that is correct. But when it comes restoring an old image a little more work is sometimes required.  Old images did not come from a high-quality camera. Many times an old image may have come from a film camera or even worse a camera that would spit out an old paper image you had to shake the image to see it. Who remembers those? 

When I receive an old image it is usually the original print of an image. I actually prefer the old hard copies of images. For the two images, I needed to restore, I needed to scan them. One of the best investments I ever made was the purchase of my own flatbed scanner. As a photographer, I could not work without it. I always scan all old images at 300 dpi. After scanning old images, the real creative process begins. 

Restoring an image requires great software. Most people are only aware of filters they see on their iPhone or iPad. People are not aware of the types of great software that is available to help them enhance a photo. Let's face it, some people could care less about software. They are content with applying some weird filter to an image and passing the work off as a photo restoration success. That is not photo restoration! Understanding how to use post-processing photography software is very important in editing any image. Just ask a photographer. 

Most experienced photographers know they cannot enhance any photo without great software. I use a variety of software applications to enhance all my images. My primary post-processing software is Lightroom. I take advantage of many presets from Sleeklens. I have hundreds of them and I use many of them depending on the look I want for an image. Sleeklens presets gives me a great starting point for my editing process and saves me a great deal of time. Sleeklens is also are a great educational resource to help any photographer improve his or her skills as a photographer. To learn more about them visit presets, products, services, and resources visit;

Below is the original images I worked on and the enhanced versions. Since the original images were over 20 years old I wanted to keep the nostalgic feel of the images, enhance the colors and apply some much-needed sharpening. The best part about providing photo restoration and enhancement services for my clients and customers is the process of providing a digital image for them after the work is done. A digital image of a restored image can then be shared with others and can be available for many years to come. 

restoration-LIghtroom-photographer-photography-northcarolina-postprocessing-portraits-portrait-editing-rogeryouncephotography-people-children-kids-weddings-wedding-enhancement-Sleeklens-presets-
restoration-LIghtroom-photographer-photography-northcarolina-postprocessing-portraits-portrait-editing-rogeryouncephotography-people-children-kids-weddings-wedding-enhancement-Sleeklens-presets-

My advice is to find all your old images and a scan them and make sure all your old images are stored in a safe location, preferably, off-site. If you find a nice old image that could use a little work, find a great talented photographer to restore the old image and don't rely on some cheap filters or no-named software to do the job. Remember, one-of-a-kind photos are "priceless". 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Stabilization is Kind of Important for Sharper Images

Every photographer knows that there is more to taking a photo than just clicking a button. There are so many elements to keep in mind when it comes to taking a photo. But, one thing I find not mentioned enough for beginner photographers is the need for stabilization and why it is important to keep in mind when planning a photo shoot. In this post, I will explain how I forgot to keep stabilization in mind on a recent photo shoot at a car show in Greensboro NC called "Cars and Coffee". 

I decided to attend the car show for the first time even though I have lived in Greensboro many years. It is that time of year when I look for photo opportunities and like to photograph beautiful cars. So, I decided to attend the Cars and Coffee event. The event was a pretty big event. When I arrived I had no idea the event was that popular. There were cars and trucks of all types and it was interesting to see the cars and the size of the crowd. 

Prior to my trip, I had to decide what gear I would need for the event. I felt it was important that I took my wide angle lens, new Canon 80D, cell phone for taking a quick video, and my tripod. I even took my 50mm lens. I felt that was all gear I would need. I knew that I would need the wide angle lens and I would have to get fairly close to each vehicle to get a decent shot. My original plan was to use my tripod to help me get some very sharp images. But that did not happen. I decided when I arrived at the location that I was not going to have the luxury to set up for my shots and set a 2-second timer like I normally do. There were way too many people and I knew they were not going to cooperate with that plan. So, I decided to leave my tripod in my vehicle and just shot "hand-held". 

Here is why it is important to remember the type of gear you have and do a little additional planning for any photo shoot. In my case, I had no stabilization. My new Canon 80D does not have stabilization. I knew that. However,  I thought my wide angle lens did. I was wrong about that. You are probably wondering if my tripod would have helped. Yes, it would if I could have used it. The problem was there were too many people around for me to set up properly. That is why I left it in my vehicle. 

So, whose fault was it that I could not get the sharp images I wanted to get? Why that would be me. I did not take into consideration stabilization. All of my lenses have "stablization", except for my wide-angle. I forgot that little detail. So, what did I learn from my experience? I learned I need to do a little more in-depth planning and take into consideration all the obstacles I will have when I get to a location. A car show sounds like it can be an easy location to shoot but it is not. Every car show I have ever attended was very difficult for me and I can imagine it is for many photographers. The conditions can be very challenging. 

I learned that no matter how bad I want to use car photos for my gallery it is not going to happen. There are too many people getting into the shots, many times the sun is directly in your eyes, vehicle's glass causes a great deal of glare, and most car shows are pretty unorganized. The Cars and Coffee Car Show was very unorganized. 

With all that said, there really is no excuse for not properly planning for the car show. I learned a valuable lesson about the need to plan for stabilization issues. I can not blame anyone but me for not getting sharper images from the car show. Below is just one of the images I was able to salvage from the photo shoot with a little help with some Sleeklens presets and Lightroom. It is not a great image but the best one I got. I will do better next time. 

IMG_0754.jpg

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Never Stop Learning!

I have always been someone that likes to study others and try to figure out how those that are skilled in a particular art become so highly skilled in their craft. What I have noticed is that many outstanding photographers seem to have a couple of unique qualities; a desire to learn more and drive to become better at their craft. What I have also noticed is great photographers are never really satisfied with their work. I know for me, I continually go back and work on old photos that I took many years ago. I want to make them better. By the way, if you want to go back and work on old images, make sure you shoot in RAW.

It all goes back to never stop learning. For photographers, it is much easier today to improve one's skills. I continually seek to study other photographers to get inspriation and to find out how they created a beautiful or unique image. Today there are so many great photographers who specialized in a variety of styles and I really enjoy that. I enjoy studying photographers who specialize in nature, landscape, and wildlife photography. I even look at wedding photographers work even though I have no desire to photograph a wedding. I don't have the patience for that. For me, it is all about learning and I learn a great deal from other photographers. They do inspire me to do better. 

I have found that a great resource for learning and improving my photography skills is through the use of Youtube. Today, photographers on Youtube provides so much information on products, equipment, software, tips and tricks, webinars, online classes, free tutorials, and so much more. Just this morning I found some great tips and tricks I could use when using Lightroom. The video was from photographer Jamie Windsor who demonstrated 10 great Lightroom features that I could use in the future to help me with my post processing workflow. If you would like to see the video check it out at 10 Lightroom Features Tips. They are pretty cool and can be very useful.

For me, photography is an art form that has no ending and I will never learn everything about photography and that is great. For me, my journey in photography keeps me wanting to learn more and to find out how much I can improve my skills. I have seen over the last few years that my photography has greatly improved. I look back at the images and I had taken in the past and they really were pretty bad compared to what I do now. I want to improve my skills as a photographer. I know to do that requires me to never stop learning and enjoy my journeys as a photographer. That starts will a continued desire and a strong drive to learn more.

Until next time, keep shooting! 

Roger Younce

Reediting a Not-So-Old Image

As most people know I love waterfalls. I can't get enough of them. When I can't photograph a beautiful waterfall I do the next best thing; I reediting the ones I have. Today was a great day to look through some of my favorite waterfall photos to see if I could work some creative magic on an old image. I decided to work on a small but beautiful waterfall called the Mountain Meadows Falls. My objective was to use a combination of Lightroom CC and Luminar to edit the image. Here lately, I have started my editing process by beginning with Luminar. Luminar provides me with a nice baseline to start my edits. Some of the presets are great for landscapes and provides some creavity options to work with. 

Mountain Meadows Falls is a simple waterfall in North Carolina and the location provides a nice hidden type of mood to the image. I wanted to focus on the rock formations and the beautiful flowing water from the falls. After I found a nice preset in Luminar I exported the image to Lightroom and used a couple of my favorite presets from Sleeklens. Sleeklen presets are awesome and there many preset packages to choose from to get the look I wanted for the waterfall. I think the image turned out great and judging from the positive feedback from my socials media channels, the image was a hig hit.  

 

5E641E95-B030-424A-9492-2CB99E42ED7E.JPG

Mountain Meadows Falls. 

Until next time, keep shooting. 

Roger  

Beaufort's "Boats By the Bay" Photograph

One of the great things about working and playing with photos as a photographer is going back and finding old unedited photos and playing around with them. Most people have their hobbies and post processing old images is mine. I love taking an old photo and seeing if I can make look much different than the original. Lets face it, photos straight out of the camera is pretty boring. Recently, I found an old photo of mine that was taken in Beaufort NC. The town is very historic and has a Savannah feel to it. The town also has a great little harbor with some small boats usually docked there. The sunrises and sunset are very nice there on most occasions but when I captured the original image the normally beautiful sunset was missing but I felt the clouds would give the image a more moody appearance.

As you can see from the original image the photo was pretty boring. I wanted to fix that. I knew I wanted to take advantage of the awesome clouds so I was looking for a nostalgic stormy look. As with most of my photos I do experiment with different presets that I have at my disposal. I love presets! Lightroom presets save me a lot of time on post processing all my work. I have hundreds of preset and I collect them from various vendors and sometimes I create my own. My favorite vendor to purchase presets is from Picture Monk. Jordan Younce is actually Picture Monk and he creates new presets about once a year. Picture Monks offers a bundle of presets for just about any type of shot. In the "Boats By The Bay" photo I used one of Picture Monks presets and I think it came out great. Checkout the Picture Monk Presets online.

Below is the finished version of my "Boats By The Bay" photo from Beaufort NC along with the before and after images. I believe I was able to capture exactly the feel I was looking for with the image. If you ever get a chance to visit Beaufort NC get up early for the sunrises and stay long enough for the sunsets. You will not be sorry for spending the day relaxing by the beautiful and peaceful Beaufort NC bay.

- Roger Younce

Boats by the Bay Before and After