I recently tackled the challenge of restoring this very damaged, torn, and stained photo for a local client. While I’ve done photo restoration projects before, I knew this one would require that I take my skills to a new level. After quite a few hours in Photoshop CS5 with heavy usage of content-aware (God Bless It), here is the final result:
My process, in basic terms, went as follows:
- Client emailed me a high-resolution scan (shown above). If you plan to hire someone for a photo restoration, make sure you get the highest possible resolution scan – at a camera store, for example. Most basic home printers aren’t sufficient.
- Starting in CS5, patch holes and smooth creases/tears. Fix color problems using color replacement and other tools, including the uneven-ness in the background and teeth. Then, tackle more sophisticated problems, especially lower left where I had the most difficulty, using clone stamp (among other tools).
- Next, bring into Lightroom for minor tweaks, like sharpness, noise reduction, cropping, etc. You can do these things in CS5, but I like LR3′s interface better. I also added some grain to the final image to mirror the original.
- Print 8×10 on fine art paper with texture matching the original as closely as possible. I used BWO Photo, which always does an incredible job.
- Custom framing job by Denton’s Frame Shop, using a linen mat (about 2″) and gold antique style frame.
- Deliver to client.
Overall, I am proud of the result, although I know I still have a lot to learn in this area. If you have any tips or feedback, post it below! I’d love to hear what you think (critiques welcome), and what you would have done differently.