BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: A PHOTO RESTORATION STORY

Getting the flu during the holidays sort of drove me into photography hibernation which carried over into January of 2015. I probably picked up my camera once or twice during that time. It did, however, allow me to catch up with my bookkeeping, revamp parts of my website, get caught up with my watch list on Hulu Plus, AND more importantly, play with my daughter as soon as I got out of “quarantine”.

To ease into business mode, I thought I’d brush up on my Photoshop skills so I dug into my archives to look for a worthy project. I found one that I dropped the ball on, way back in 2007.

The project started when I still lived in California. My friend/co-worker, Gena, was getting married and she thought it would be nice to restore a photo of her as a flower girl so she can print it and show it at her reception. I took on the challenge and got to a rolling start with dust and scratches removal. it was beginning to shape up when life happened and the project fell to the wayside. Long story short, I attended her wedding sans the restored photo.

Fast-forward eight years… I revived the project, starting from scratch…

The first step I did was analyze the image to determine how far I was going to take the restoration project. Needless to say, my Photoshop skills will be tested. Some of them could be handled painlessly by filters but for the most part, it will involve a painstaking process of healing, cloning and a lot of imagination especially when it comes to the damaged parts.

First I tackled the easy part… dust and scratch removal. After applying a dust and scratches filter, I went into surgical mode to heal/clone the tough dust and scratches that remained. It took a few hours, stretched over several days until I was satisfied. I didn’t eliminate 100% of the dust and scratches. Just enough to the point where it didn’t bother me anymore.

Then the fun part. Filling in missing information. I didn’t have any other reference photos of the subject so it was left to my imagination. It involved copying some parts of the existing eye and ribbon on her hair and putting it on the other side, making little adjustments geared towards realism. Most of the missing hair was painted in.

Happy with the repair, I went on enhancement mode. I did some color adjustments to reduce the red tint.

You will notice I did not entirely clean the borders. I thought I achieved my main goal and the border maintains its old photograph feel.

I just hope Gena will be happy with the final image. As the saying goes, “Better late than never”. She can perhaps use it at her renewal of vows if she ever does one.


 

Mario Gozum is a portrait photographer/retoucher and owner of PointShoot Photgraphy, based in Kent Island, MD, serving the custom portrait and general photography needs of residents in the following counties and cities:

QUEEN ANNE’S COUNTY│Centreville, Chester, Stevensville, Grasonville, Queenstown
ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY│Annapolis, Arnold, Crofton, Davidsonville, Fort Meade, Galesville, Glen Burnie, Harwood, Lake Shore, Lothian, Mayo, Millersville, Odenton, Pasadena, Riva, Severn, Severna Park, South Gate, South River
PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY│Bowie, Kettering, Lake Arbor, Mitchellville,Upper Marlboro
CALVERT COUNTY│Chesapeake Beach, Dunkirk, Owings
TALBOT COUNTY│Easton
CAROLINE COUNTY│Odenton, Ridgely

 

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