restoring old photos with photoshop

cake_before

Originally uploaded by cafedave.

Today’s challenge is to become a master photo retoucher in my lunch break. There are a few wedding photos from decades ago for me to work on: all the negatives were damaged in a fire – can you believe it – while they were waiting to be developed!

I found the most useful way to go was to use auto-levels to clean up the scan, and get the maximum range of contrast in the photos. For badly scratched photos, the dust and scratches filter removes the little dots, but can sacrifice some of the facial details: use Quick Mask to select the parts of the photo you want to fix up with that filter.

Beyond that, you can use the dodge and burn tools to adjust any minor brightness and darkness problems, and the clone tool, or copy/paste with the free transform tool to replace the worst of the damage.

I think I still have a lot of retouching to do, but if you’re curious about the cake, I’ve posted the fixed up version to flickr as well.
Here are some tutorials you might find handy if you ever have to restore some photos with Photoshop.

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