Steven's Notebook

Look Ma - No Hands!

Restoring Old Photos

I decided to pull a few old snapshots out of the photo album just to see how much I could do to restore them. I’m no photo restoration expert, so if you’ve got pointers please pass them along.

I started by scanning a photo on my HP PhotoSmart 2570. This is a photo of me and my grandmother in front of the long-since-closed 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea attraction at Walt Disney World, Florida, circa 1973. It’s interesting, btw, that whatever camera/film/processer/printer combination was used ended up with square prints. We’re so used to the 35mm format aspect ratio that square photos look pretty odd.

scanned image

I brought the image into PhotoShop CS and started by straightening the picture, and cleaning up the sky and borders with the cloning and healing brushes. Then I used adjustment layers: levels and curves and just a touch of hue/saturation and brightness/contrast.

the same image after cleanup

I’m reasonably pleased with my firt-try result, though I suspect that more could be done with more practice and some expert advice.

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