I am often asked if I can share my workflow when restoring images. This is not always easy because no two images are alike and I often progress with tasks in varying order. Mostly, I will correct exposure and colour before progressing to the repair of tears, spots, scratches etc. This is because many of such flaws are not clearly visible until exposure corrections have been made, especially with faded images. Occasionally I will come across images like this one which I choose to reconstruct before I go ahead with colour and exposure adjustments.
Last week I recorded the restoration of the image above. This particular image is one which students in my Photo Restoration classes are given during week five of the course to restore. On first glance it looks like it will be a difficult image to restore but, apart from the obvious tears and that offensive sticky tape, there is very little damage. With the correct workflow, an image such as this one can be restored with relative ease.
I began by reconstructing the image. I then converted the image to black and white and repaired the scratches, tears, creases, etc. A very subtle sepia tone was then added for warmth and the image was coloured in very understated tones.
The following recording of this restoration has been sped up so you can get a glimpse of my working methods without falling into a slumber. Photo restoration is not, after all, a spectator sport. In real time, this restoration took just over ninety minutes. (I should add that I have restored this image on numerous occasions to demonstrate to my students so it may normally take longer.) This video has been sped up by 650%. Oh, how I wish I could work this fast! Click on the image below to view the video.
I know the soundtrack is rather corny. Turn down the volume if you need to.
Was this video helpful to you? If so, I may just create a few more.