just an old-fashioned girl

Hello and welcome. I'm glad you dropped by. If you´re looking for something a little nostalgic of bygone eras with a timeless elegance and a little modern twist – in other words, something slightly “retro” – then you should feel right at home here in my shabby chic room. Month by month, there will always be something new to see so I hope you´ll enjoy your stay and come back again soon.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Knowing When To Stop

When it comes to restoring old photos I don´t pretend to be an expert. For me it´s been – and still is – a learning process but one important thing I have learned is knowing when to stop. Now that´s the problem with being a perfectionist. I just can´t do things by halves. “Good enough” isn´t even half good enough for me. It´s got to be perfect. Or at least it used to be like that because I´ve learned that perfection can sometimes be not only inappropriate but even bland and boring. Take this photo of my aunt for example...

Its major flaws are obvious. There´s a huge white blotch on her sleeve and in several places like on her skirt and shoe there´s a sepia discolouration which is repeated in the bushes behind her. I managed, with some difficulty, to edit out the blotch by using a combination of the patch and the healing brush tools. Ditto those distracting white cracks on her right. The sepia stains on the skirt and shoe were more difficult until I came up with the idea of making a feathered selection around them, copying them and then adding a colour overlay sampled from the skirt and set to “color”. It took some trial and error to get the colour right but I think that worked out pretty well.

I deliberately left the sepia tinted bushes because I think they give an impression of sunlight which would be missing if I altered the colour. There was a time when I´d have cropped the photo and added a pristine white border but, as I said before, I´m gradually learning that perfection can sometimes be out of place and I think that the original imperfect border reflects the age of the photo. It´s not perfect but it´s good enough. Anyway, here´s the resultant scrapbook page.

As you can see, I´ve cropped the photo but the only further alteration I made to it was by using a warming filter on it to heighten its vintage look. Just one thing I wish I could alter is the coat she´s got bundled up beside her. Uh oh, I haven´t learned my lesson yet. Stop me someone before I reach for the cloning tool!


  1. You are so clever. I always love your extractions and you have a great eye for photo restoration (not to mention an endless supply of cool old photos!) Beautiful color and elements on this page.

  2. Great restoration and control! Thanks for sharing your thought process. Your page elements are always so pretty!

  3. Those sepia stains are a bear! You had a great idea on dealing with the one one the skirt. Knowing when to stop really is important. I always feel the old photos should look old, at least to a degree. Then your layout is wonderful. The cropping and extraction really focus on her and the tilted frame gives just a bit of extra life to it. She seems quite alive and ready to go. Oddly the coat serves as balance in that view.

  4. Great job on the restoration... and your scrapbook page turned out great! I think you did a great job on knowing when to stop with the alterations, I think the "flaws" you left give the photo so much more character, age and ambiance, you should be very happy with the end result. :)

  5. Great job on the restoration. I too have done several and usually my stopping point is once I get bored or tired. I must agree that sometimes too much restoration takes away the vintage aspect. I kinda like the borders being left untouched as well...a lesson I learned from you. Remembering a LO I did in which I pointed out some restoration and wondered if I should have restored the old frame. Your comment was that the frame definitely should not be restored. In fact with my blessings, that frame "torn vintage frame" is available to everyone in your Pretty Shabby Kit.

    Love the brownish gray color used in your LO...have lots of vintage photos framed in that color. The fun extraction adds to the already fact that Lucas was a fun loving person which is obvious with her pose and smile!