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!