Category: Photo editing

Restoration of vintage photographs- Doing it the Photoshop way

There are many reasons why people want to restore vintage photographs. They are proofs of the eras that have gone by. They might even act as an historical reference to those times. For the subjects of such photographs and their family, such photos also have a bounty of emotions attached to them.

Memories of generations are kept safe in the forms of little trinkets or photographs from the past. Photographs from the old era normally carry a lot of emotional value. Vintage photographs represent a beautiful era where everything was very different from the way it is now. Photography used to be an elaborate process in those days. The equipment was different and not very commonly available. This is why, the photographs of that time represent special or important occasions and this is another reason why we should make a conscious effort to restore old damaged photographs.

Since digital photography was not there at that time, the manner of saving these photos was very different from what it is today. The camera reel had to be developed and all such photos used to be taken to their owner. The photographs that used to be taken would be kept safely in beautiful photo albums. Nice as this concept is and even though it is still widely in practice, there are some problems that crop up with storing photos in this way. Albums are not opened every day and as time passes, these photos tend to get stuck to each other and when one tries to separate them, they may get slightly or completely damaged in the process. This is a very common problem in case of vintage photographs that have been kept in photo albums. Another problem is that since the photos in earlier days were developed using ink and paper of lower quality, they get subject to wear and tears. This meant scratches or marks on the photo surface, curling up of the sides and fading of the photo itself.

With the advent of digital photographs and high-quality photography equipment, this is no longer a problem. Instead of developing the photos, people now prefer to get them printed. This is also cheaper and quicker than getting an entire reel developed. Various tools have now been introduced that aim to restore, fix or correct the damage that has been sustained by vintage photographs. Sometimes, you have to finally convert to black and white photos so that perfection is achieved. Adobe Photoshop and AKVIS Retoucher are examples of best photo restoration software programs that are being used to fix vintage photos. Photoshop takes a lot of effort depending on the damage sustained by the photograph but the end result is always satisfying.

Hopefully, the following steps will make the entire photoshopping experience easier for you.

STEP 1: The first thing that you need to do for repairing old photo in photoshop is to scan the vintage photo so that it can be transformed into a digital copy. Brilliant scanners are available from HP which aren’t heavy on the pocket. Take a digital picture of this vintage photo, trying to capture the maximum essence of the photo. Ensure that the bed of the scanner is completely clean and the digital image is of high quality; you should make sure that you are getting as much clarity as possible. This will also make your process of restoration a tad bit easier.


STEP 2: Improve the composition of the photograph by cropping and straightening it. This way, you also save yourself from fixing the border of the photo which would probably be a little distorted around the edges.


STEP 3: Make sure that the titled horizontal lines are running parallel with the overlay grid. Tweak basic settings like brightness and contrast so that the colours of the photograph are enhanced and more vivid. Photoshop restore old photo color options can come handy.


STEP 4: Keep an original copy of the scanned digital image. It is always a good idea to keep a backup. It also helps you as you can compare the difference that you are making in the edited photo. Try and stick as close as possible to the original photo.


STEP 5: A Healing Brush Tool comes in handy to fix damages like scratches, spots and wrinkles. You need to blend the texture from the source point with the colour of your desired result. To colorize old photos Photoshop takes the maximum amount of time because correcting the damage needs an eye for detail.


STEP 6: Some details, like a faded face, cannot be fixed. However, where there is a large area in a photo that needs to be fixed, you can take a similar area from another part of the photo and superimpose that selected area as a replacement.


STEP 7: Make sure to adjust the opacity of the image so that it lines up similar to the underlying pixels. Blend the edges that surround the image so that it looks natural and fresh.


STEP 8: If you want, you can fill colours in the picture. If the photo was originally black and white, you might prefer letting it stay as it was. Colours can be filled in, changed or refreshed as well. However, the effect of these colours is not similar to the digital coloured photos that we have now. If you want to colour the image, use solid colour adjustment layers that have specific modes of blending. Your aim is to get a natural looking photo with all the efforts that go in for digital photo restoration.


STEP 9: Save the restored image. Do not forget or you’ll have to go through the whole process again. Before saving, make sure that the end result is to your liking. Zoom in to check properly. Sometimes, we are oblivious but an apparent smudge or a weird spot is still left somewhere. So, make sure that does not happen.


Photoshop takes time to master. There are so many tools that one cannot possibly understand in a single sitting. Do not fret. Start with tools that are easier to understand and simpler to implement. Begin by restoring photos that have been only slightly damaged. You can start from the least damaged ones and slowly build your way up. All photoshop Software come with extensive directions so that the user can utilise the offered tools to their maximum ability.


There are many companies that restore old photos online. Just get in touch with the right photo editing company if you don’t have time to spare.

Also read the step by step guide to restore heavily damaged images in Photoshop.


Six Photoshop colour settings that matter while editing images

Photoshop CC is feature rich software which offers numerous ways to pull off spectacular results with our pictures. Its colour handling through various colour settings have baffled many photographers including experienced ones.

Six settings underpin the entire colour effect manipulation process

1) RGB Working space

It is the first choice that appears in Photoshop’s ‘Colour Settings’ and it’s the Photoshop color settings for web. Every possible hue of red, green and blue has been assembled with values assigned to them in the range of 0-255. Millions of colours can be made by blending them. Primary and secondary colours can be blended to create tertiary colours of various saturation levels. You need to pick up the most appropriate RGB gamut only. It is convenient to work with standard spaces as the editing results w.r.t highlights, mid-tones, shadow and other attributes can be predicted fairly well.

You can choose between 3 working spaces.

a) sRGB

This space is apt for those who publish pictures online and get commercial prints. Raw prints experience significant colour data loss in the transition between cameras to Photoshop. Portrait subject is most compatible and skin tone editing can be done impeccably. Subject types shot determine the choice of working space.

b) Adobe RGB

This space is optimally suited for those who carry out home printing and publishes images through third party. This space was primarily developed to fine tune the prints from CMYK printer models. Adobe RGB files after editing can be converted to sRGB easily. During conversion, loss of cyan and green happens and yellow as well as orange colours are partially subdued; so the subject should be in landscape. Default colour management of contemporary web browsers allow for saving images in large working spaces for online publishing. To prevent desaturation, profiles need to be embedded in image file.


c) ProPhoto RGB

It is the largest of all working spaces and meticulously conserves colour data of raw image during import to CC. This choice is one of the best Photoshop settings for printing photos taken through high-end printers; however to avoid banding, sometimes one is compelled to edit with 16 bit large files. This working space generates colour tones some of which are invisible to human eyes.

It is important to understand that details of certain objects that have deep yellow hue are lost as soon as they are opened in Photoshop in working spaces other than ProPhoto.  Blotches and bands appear in such photos. Such subjects should be printed right away in ProPhoto. You can edit the photo in this space and then transform into smaller working space. Conversion of smaller space to larger one won’ t allow for retrieving of initial colour data after transformation. For this colour space, raw image should be compatible with 16-bit workflow.


2) Monitor RGB

This profile is not preferable as Photoshop colour management is turned off by this. You can ascertain if Photoshop has been accessing right monitor profile with this. If your customized monitor profile is not showing up as expected in Photoshop, you need to momentarily turn the monitor profile to sRGB through settings specified in operating system. If you experience improvement in colour, you will have to eliminate your present profile and create a new one.

3) Colour management policies

Through this Color Settings in Photoshop, you can access ‘Colour Management Policies’ option. Three drop-down menus would appear and you have to opt for ‘Preserve Embedded Profiles’ in all. You need to uncheck two boxes adjacent to ‘Profile Mismatches’ as the alerts generated by them may distract you. The boxes refer to ‘Ask When Opening’ and ‘Ask When Pasting’; the first one indicates if the file’s inherent profile is different from the one you are working with.

Keep the box adjacent to ‘Missing Profiles’ checked to know the accurate colour space applicable to the image file, which doesn’t has embedded profile, based on its origin. Alternately, you can proceed with file opening without profile and subsequently delegate the optimum Photoshop profile to it.


4) Assign Profile

The ‘Assign Profile’ option of Photoshop need not require invoking in maximum circumstances. If you are not aware of its functionality, you can cause unwanted colour shifting while converting files between different colour spaces. Instead, use of ‘Covert to Profile’ is recommended as it allows colorimetric matching of source and destination colours to the maximum extent possible. ‘Assign Profile’ does not engage in colour matching as it believes in applying the image embedded RGB values to another colour space which results in inordinate colour shifting. This feature is appropriate for files with no embedded colour profile or the one for which you want to change color profile;Photoshop’s this option is extremely useful.



5) Convert to Profile

This tool transforms one RGB colour space file to another. Relative colorimetric rendering compares and matches colours. Colours not under the purview of a particular space’s gamut are matched to their closest counterpart. The rendering intent should compulsorily be ‘Relative Colorimetric’, although other intents are also available.


6) Proof Colours

Available under ‘View’ menu, this option is useful in checking the printer or attached device’s colour output. Displayed colours depend on ‘Proof Setup’ menu’s selected options. This option is useful for simulating Protnopia related colour blindness. Previewing and editing print colours for checking compatibility with RGB screen picture are satisfactorily done through this. You start by opening a replicated image adjacent to original one and then proceed with application of printer profile to the replicated version. Editing would result in the replicated image matching closely with original.


Final words

Always opt for Adobe RGB space if you are uncertain as this profile covers almost all colour printers and monitors’ outputs. You also need to understand the Photoshop CMYK color settings for print.

Monitor RGB would offer insights regarding use of appropriate monitor profile by Photoshop.

Never use ‘Assign Profile’ for conversion of RGB spaces as unwarranted colour shifts occur. This option is applicable for cases when the original profile is not known.

For optimum colour matching between source and destination profiles, ‘Convert to Profile’ option is perfectly suited.

‘Proof Colours’ option offer insights into the way colour blind person would view an image. This option is not useful for normal editing.

There are numerous companies housing skilled Photoshop experts who can help you in getting the editing done with great level of precision and excellence. Selecting the right people is where the trick lies.