13 Replies Latest reply: Mar 5, 2012 2:19 PM by takavulla RSS

    Working with old photos

    takavulla Community Member

      I have lots of old photos from my family.  Most are over 70 years old.  Trying to understand how to improve them.  My question concerns the aging process. I have lots of photos that appear light and/or brownish in color.  I do not know if they were originally black and white and just faded into a tannish brown or whether that was a way of processing photos 70 years ago or so.

      This is the kind of photo I am referencing.

       

      thanks

       

      tim

       

       

      This is what i am referencingJulia B., Mattie & Charles.jpg

        • 1. Re: Working with old photos
          Barbara B. ACP/MVPs

          Sepia prints were very stylish back then, so normally they probably were brown to begin with, if that's your question. However, the yellowing of the paper makes me wonder a bit about the image you posted.

          • 2. Re: Working with old photos
            takavulla Community Member

            yes, I guess that was my question.  So any suggestions how how I make them look a little better.

             

            Would it be better to work with them in photoshop or lightroom!!

             

            thanks

             

            tim

             

            Tim Kavulla

            takavulla@sbcglobal.net

            3607 Plum Hollow Drive

            Houston, TX  77059

            281-480-4715 (H)

            832-444-2675  (C)

            • 3. Re: Working with old photos
              hatstead MVP

              Many of these vintage photographs have the sepia effect. I have found that converting them to black & white is the way to go.

               

              I spent a few minutes on your picture. Try this:

               

              1. Open picture file
              2. Duplicate background layer
              3. Go to Enhance>convert to black and white
              4. Open a levels adjustment layer above this, and gently work the sliders below the histogram

              5. Merge down. You will have 2 layers: Background & background copy.
              6. Duplicate the background copy layer and work on this. If you don't like the result, delete this layer and try again.

              7. Access the burn tool, set exposure 5%, Range:midtones, then burn over the lady on the left in front of the barn, and other areas to suit
              8. Finally sharpen a bit ---Enhance>unsharp mask  70, 0.9, 1

              9. Flatten image
              10. Go to Select>all, then Edit>stroke (outlne) selection, position:inside, stroke width=3px

               

               

              169819_377_600_cache_2.jpg

              • 4. Re: Working with old photos
                Mark Sand Community Member

                Often you can do wonders on an old faded or yellowed picture by simply running Auto Levels, Auto Color Correction, or a combination of both. Here is one I did:

                 

                TBI2 b.jpg

                 

                Auto Levels and Auto Color Correction yielded this:

                 

                TBI2 a.jpg

                 

                (I did some other corrections to remove scratches and speckles)

                 

                Here are the same corrections with your picture:

                 

                yellow2.jpg

                 

                Of course there are lots of ways to make further improvements: remove scratches, sharpen, add a frame, convert to sepia, etc.

                • 5. Re: Working with old photos
                  hatstead MVP

                  Sorry, i neglected to fix the tear or crease on the left. This can be done with the healing brush.169819_377_600_cache_3jpg.jpg

                  • 6. Re: Working with old photos
                    takavulla Community Member

                    Mark:

                     

                    thanks so much for your help

                     

                    tim

                    • 7. Re: Working with old photos
                      Sawdust-2 Community Member

                      I also have been scanning many very old photos and have another twist to the topic. I have found that most  old portraits, that were done in a studio, were originally sepia toned when my family member got them.   This has been the case since at least the early 1900's.   In fact, even my old high school photo back in the 60's, was done that way.   I scan everything in color, and then make adjustments to retain that slight sepia tone.   I think converting them to grayscale isn't appropriate in those cases.   However, in Tim's example, it clearly was a regular b/w snapshot and once all the levels, contrast, fixing, etc are done, I think it's OK to convert to grayscale.

                       

                      Dick

                      • 8. Re: Working with old photos
                        hatstead MVP

                        Thanks for your valued input.

                        • 9. Re: Working with old photos
                          takavulla Community Member

                          Thanks everyone for suggestions.  I have one more that has stumped me.  I have several like it.  See below:Anna & Julia Dzamba2_edited-1.jpg

                          • 10. Re: Working with old photos
                            photodrawken Community Member

                            It's a lot easier to take a scanned old photo and first use Enhance...Convert to Black and White to get rid of all the colour information.  Your retouching (fixing tears, and faded portions of the image) will be a lot easier.  When you're finished, it's a very simple matter to add a sepia tone if you wish.

                             

                            Ken

                            • 11. Re: Working with old photos
                              photodrawken Community Member

                              The first thing to do is get rid of the colour.  I used Enhance...Convert to Black and White...Scenic Landscape and increased the contrast.  Then add a Levels adjustment layer with these settings:

                              old photo levels settings.png

                              to get this image as a starting point:

                              old photo bw.png

                              After that, it's a matter of painting with the Burn tool and using the Spot Healing brush as previously described.

                               

                              Ken

                              • 12. Re: Working with old photos
                                hatstead MVP

                                I converted to b/w as described in my previous post

                                Added a levels adjustment layer

                                Added a photofilter adjustment layer with filter 85, density 31%, preserved luminosity

                                Sharpened with high pass filter in overlay mode @17.7px

                                Added wood frame

                                 

                                image_jpeg_3.jpg.

                                • 13. Re: Working with old photos
                                  takavulla Community Member

                                  that is a really cool idea.  thanks so very much

                                   

                                  tim

                                  Tim Kavulla

                                  takavulla@sbcglobal.net

                                  3607 Plum Hollow Drive

                                  Houston, TX  77059

                                  281-480-4715 (H)

                                  832-444-2675  (C)