Whenever possible I prefer to scan old damaged photos myself, especially very small ones which can be difficult to restore unless scanned at a high resolution. However, not all the photos in my scrapbook belong to me and I often have to rely on other family members to scan them for me. In this case the original was scanned at 300 dpi which is the absolute minimum for a single photo and may even have been all right if it hadn´t been just one of half a dozen scanned together on one page of an old album which meant that all detail was lost. At first glance I was struck by the composition and decided that by adding contrast and then sharpening it I might manage to revive it. As you can see, that was a definite improvement...but still not enough. I felt that what it really needed was an immediate focal point. The beach ball, which was just a blur in the original version, looked like a good choice and I think that colourizing it worked pretty well but there was still something missing. I think it was at this point that I realised I was never going to be able to make a presentable photo from it – there simply wasn´t enough detail - but that it might make a really good impressionistic painting so I applied the Paint Daubs filter. Having done that it seemed to me that the parasol merged too much into the sky so I added a color overlay. It took a while to get the right shade of blue but I´m quite happy with the result. A little more contrast was all it took to make it perfect or at least as perfect as I could make it. All I had to do after that was to remove the stained border and create a new one using an off-white shade sampled from the photo itself. (Among my simple tutorials you´ll find instructions on how to do this.)
Click on image to enlarge
I think you´ll agree that the final result is a lot more interesting than the original. As you can see, I made a note of all the steps I took to transform it from a pale blurry image to quite a presentable little work of art. If, like me, you´re also a beginner in the art of photo restoration I hope this will help and encourage you!