Another photo restoration question


Mu-43 Regular
Dec 28, 2010
Victoria, Australia
Seeing Red's excellent before-and-after in the other thread has prompted me to ask what s/he or anyone else can do with the following type of image.

It's a 100% crop of a scan of an 1861 albumen print, 8x10 scanned/photographed at approx 600 dpi by our state library. The second pic is after my first pass of adjustment, levels and CS3 "Smart Sharpen" with 3 pixels radius. I am a total newbie to Photoshop and wonder what others would do. I have pondered masking the sky and blurring the blotches away, but wonder what else might help?

Also pondering what to do with the toning, if anything. I'm not sure what it would have looked like when originally produced, before it yellowed with age. In any case I don't necessarily want a faithful reproduction of the photo -- rather, a faithful reproduction of the streetscape at the time. (I will be matching it to a current-day pic from the same camera position.) I have tried plain desaturating but it looks more boring in gray, somehow.

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Mu-43 Veteran
Sep 21, 2010
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Here is my try...
It's difficult to say what's a "good" restauration. In this sample I denoised the sky. Then I adjusted the contrast and finally the color (in my taste...).

There is no recipe for this kind of restauration (it's not repairing missing parts or stains - it's kind of an overall enhancement)

Be careful with sharpening. I also recommend to work with a desaturated picture (only gray scale) and as a last step you can add slightly some brown color.

Good luck with your experiments...


Mu-43 Regular
Sep 24, 2010
Lancashire, England
Hi Russel. Here's my quick try. A wee bit of work in image>adjust>highlight/shadow and then a tweak of levels in CS2.
Years ago I would have copied the original on film used in the first stage of plate making for newspapers. It is not red sensitive and cuts right through to the detail in faded originals................... but we're all digital now and Kodak doesn't make that film any more.


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