Retouching Old Photos

Please look at the picture full size against a grey background.

Here is a little exercise I did for my mum who asked me to clean up this old picture of her long-lost relatives taken around the turn of the last century.

This clean up job was all done in Photoshop unfortunately Lightroom 4.2 is that sophisticated yet. Unless you know better?

Firstly I scanned the 6×4″ picture at 600 ppi giving me a 24Mb file. I chose this ppi because I will print the result at 240 dpi.

The colour scan of the warm toned original was taken in to Photoshop where I created a duplicate layer to work.

The tools I used were a combination of: Patch Tool, Clone Tool and Healing Brush.

The cleaned up file was imported in to Lightroom 4.2 where I used the RGB Curves to correct the colour of toned print to match the colour of the original.

Left is the finished picture.

I don’t have any particular skill or knowledge in the area of retouching old photos but it seemed to work out ok.

With time and effort it would be possible to remove all the defects and scratches gathered over the last century but that would stifle the charm of such pictures of those who have gone before us.

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog this week.

(C) Andy Beel FRPS 2012

8 responses to Retouching Old Photos

  1. John Long says:

    Yiou did a good job there Andy – I feel it is important not to remove ALL the blemishes, or the result looks wrong.


    • andybeel says:

      Hi Andy I used an Epson V750 Flatbed.Scanner. Its a bit like Photoshop has lots of features that I don’t know how to use. But as I have had it for at least 5 yrs and done less than 50 scans its not used that much. Andy


  2. Murray Foote says:

    Lovely image. I haven’t done this sort of thing for a long while but it should be a lot easier these days with content aware fill in several tools.


    • andybeel says:

      Hi Murray I am using CS4 so I am not quite up to date with such wonders or may frustrations as content aware fill! Thanks for commenting. Andy


  3. Lynn Buckley says:

    Hello Andy I like this little picture and I am particularly interested because I have inherited a collection of old photographs and glass plate negatives that I want to digitise and use in various ways. I didn’t understand the paragraph in which you said you scanned at 600 ppi etc and I wondered if you could explain for me please? I haven’t got to grips with this yet! Any help much appreciated! Regards Lynn Buckley


Please share your thoughts on this post

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

You are commenting using your 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 )

Connecting to %s