Photo Restoration: Sepia

Recently I was contacted by someone conducting an online search for an Oklahoma City Photographer offering Photo Restoration services. He stumbled upon my blog posts about the power of post-processing and a previous color photo restoration project, and asked what I could do to improve this sepia print of his wife as a little girl.

Before

Original Photo, Scanned in Color (Photographer Unknown)

After

Restored Photo (Photographer Unknown)

Basic Process

Working in Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3, I was able to remove creases, tape, blemishes, stains, and grain.

  1. Remove spots and creases with the Spot Healing Brush on Content Aware Fill, beginning with spots, then erasing lines.
  2. Filter/Noise Reduction – only a small amount. Too much NR in CS5 degraded details in the image further.
  3. Slightly increased contrast and brightness.
  4. Using Quick Selection Tool as explained in this video, delete background and replace with a new layer. (This was the most time consuming part; it took several attempts to get her hair refined properly.)
  5. Delete old background layer, and fill new layer with a color similar to the sepia tone of the original print.
  6. Move image to Lightroom, apply a Sepia Preset to smooth out tones.
  7. Further reduce noise, added sharpness, and make other small adjustments in Lightroom. I attempted using the sharpness tool in CS5, but doing so exacerbated the grain in her hair and eyes, which appeared as bright white dots in the original print. Lightroom’s sharpness slider was more effective at sharpening edges without deepening the grain.

Voila. Done. Several hours of work and trial and error, but the result made my client very happy! Photo Restoration can be done a million ways; how would you have approached this project?

– HBA

Advertisements

About Holly Baumann Photography

I am Holly Baumann Ambuehl, a commercial and portrait photographer based in Central Illinois. My blog posts feature client work, but I just love to write, so I also write about owning a business, food and drink, travel, and my personal life! I am always honored when clients trust me to capture their vision, and equally so when my readers converse with me about what I've photographed or expressed here. I hope we'll have an opportunity to collaborate professionally and/or become friends. I'd love to hear what you think! - Holly
This entry was posted in Before and After Images, Shooting and Editing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Thanks for reading! What are you thinking?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s