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, June 1, 2012

When All Else Fails....Colourize!

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!


  1. Awesome layout. It looks like a high-end advertisement. Great job!

  2. Endless possibilities for using this kit in ways like this. I really can't see you calling yourself a beginner at restoration though. Using the defects in the photo (blurriness) as an advantage by making it into a "painting" is a great inspiration. Thanks for detailing the steps.

  3. Wow Helen, fabulous idea to use the artistic filters in photoshop on your photo. The final result reminds me of some of the illustrations in the 1930's magazines I've looked through. I agree with Jean, you are much more advanced than a beginner at restoration. I love the scrapbook page you created for the photo, really turned out great! Love your Nostalgic Scrapbook kit. :)

  4. Thank you all. I think I may have been influenced by the paintings of Edward Hopper, my favourite American artist.

  5. Wow, I'm impressed! Beginner...I don't think so. Love the page with the book and all the instructions included. Cool font ending at the pencil point. Would love to know which font it is.

    Not sure I can follow steps on my program. But I do remember one time I had a vintage sepia colored photo of my Grandfather on a horse and some how turned it to color. I think all I did was click color auto fix and it turn the sky blue...it was subtle but like it. Quite sure it was a fluke and might not work every again.

  6. The font´s called Eraser Dust, Lajuana. I´ll send it to you.