It Can Always Be Better

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ask The Retoucher #49 - Wedding Photo Restoration



In show #49, Eric of Photo Grafix shares some helpful advanced photo restoration techniques on a damaged B&W wedding photograph. Eric goes through the picture, step by step.

1. Crop the picture, create a Background Layer and save it with a file name.

2. Create a Black and White Adjustment Layer. Double click to make adjustments and run Eye Dropper over the areas of concern.

3. Click on the Background Layer and work on cleaning up the obvious spots with the Clone Stamp and the Healing Brush, starting with the background and leaving the faces for later.

4. Merge the Layers and duplicate, saving the file as Filename R1.

5. Increase the contrast, using Curve Adjustment Layer to darken the shadow areas and pull down the quarter tones.

6. Go to Filter/Noise/Dust and Scratches, choosing 2. Save snapshot in History Pallet, naming it DS for Dust and Scratches.

7. Make another snapshot in the History Pallet and name it New.

8. Adjust Curves Adjustment Layer and make an S curve, increasing ? tones. Adjust ?  tone anchor points, making a shape more like a cursive F.

9. Use the Paintbrush tool, switch to black, opacity 30% and paint in the highlights.

10. Use the Path Tool to fill in some details.

11. Make a new Blank Layer above all the other layers. Use black Paintbrush Tool and make a vignette around the photo.  Add some grain (add Noise/monochromatic / gauge / gauge and blur.

12. Make a new snapshot, naming it New 2. Use as the source, grab History Brush, change mode to multiply, opacity 15% and paint in the underexposed area.

13. With History Brush, go to Screen Mode and lighten up important parts of the face.

Photo Retouching Principle to remember for a Wedding:
When you are planning your wedding, ask your wedding photographer to take a shot of the background of the place where the photographs will be taken (without people, wires, chairs, etc.) so that you can have a background, which could be used to rebuild a picture without some of the people in the picture. Be sure the photographer uses the same lighting and angle for all the shots.

—Edited by Judy Bond for Photo Grafix University

Please send your questions and problem photos, your location—and genealogical society affiliation if appropriate—to Eric for future "Ask The Retoucher" columns. Visit Photo Grafix online for more information.

Eric runs Photo Grafix, a humble photo-retouching studio in Evanston, Illinois (USA), making photo illustrations and improving photos for hundreds of people and companies worldwide. If he doesn't know the answer, he won't rest until he finds it. Eric Basir is at your service: With each "Ask The Retoucher" article, he'll help you successfully tackle your digital photographic problems. 

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