Photo restoration is my passion and I hope you'll enjoy it too


23 Jul 2014, by

Refreshing Color

Today over at I posted an article on 5 ways to do color correction on a discolored image. The image I used, from my actual working files, is a 70’s era image that had taken on a reddish hue. The client was convinced there was no color left and asked me to do the best I could even if I had to make it black and white. I try to tell clients that it’s very, very rare to find an image that can’t be fixed; I can count on one hand the number of lost causes I’ve had in all the years I’ve been doing this and that’s a lot of years and thousands of images. I just don’t give up that easily.


The first thing I tried was Curves. A Curves adjustment is the first thing everyone thinks of when it comes to color correction, and I admit I’m no different. I also know, however, that it’s the rare image that Curves will be the only thing that needs to be done.


There’s still a yellowish color cast to the image, so I used the Eyedropper tool and sampled the image, just an area in the sky.


In the menu bar, I selected Image > Adjustments > Inverse, then changed the Layer Blend Mode to Soft Light. That took care of most of the yellow tinge.


Next I made a new, blank layer, chose a green color and painted where the grass was, then changed the Layer Blend Mode to Color. If you don’t like the result, either lower the opacity or try another shade of green. I got the particular shade of green I used from a small area on the left side of the image that had some intact grass color.


I repeated the process for the trees, this time changing the Layer Blend Mode to Soft Light to get a completely different shade of green.


The sky needed some drastic help, so I made another layer and painted the blue I sampled from the sides with a Color Layer Blend Mode.


I then decided to paste an image of a subtly cloudy sky into it, then take the opacity down to 10%. This gives a little variation and the lighter area behind the trees takes care of some blue artifact in the tree branches that I didn’t love.


The client had told me the color of the horse and I was still seeing a little too much magenta, so I added another Curves Adjustment and brought the opacity down to 25%. That did the trick.


I then added some tinting to the clothing, skin and saddle following the same methods as the grass, trees and sky.


I’m fairly happy with the colors of the image so now all I have to do is to blend the obvious frame line. There are a number of ways I can do this, but I decide to go the easy route and use the Patch tool and Content Aware Fill. I say it’s the “easy” route, and it is indeed very easy, but that’s not to say there aren’t challenges, such as the small areas on and next to the fence. It may be easy, but it still requires attention to detail. The only casualties in this part were the tops of the trees at the edges which received a little trim.


And there we have it. The client was quite happy to have this image back!




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10 Jul 2014, by


Sometimes I just get excited when I see a damaged image because I just know how gorgeous it will be when it’s done; I can just see it. Such was the case with this image. I knew that with a little work, this beautiful lady would shine again. I wasn’t even worried when I was hired to do the restoration on a very short date. Nope, this was going to be one of those projects that nearly restored themselves. And so it was.


I started out on the face, of course. I do like the instant gratification, so I never start on something as boring as the background…which isn’t always a good thing because by the time I get to the background I’m so ready to be DONE!


Next I darkened the eyes a bit and did some more work on the face. The skin was really coming out nicely, just like I thought.


Now working further down the face and neck being very careful to completely do away with any trace of the cracks; the goal, after all, is for someone to look at the finished restoration and never imagine there was any damage to begin with.


There’s also some intricate detail work around the neck, namely the necklace. Areas like this can be very telling in a restoration; if the necklace isn’t perfectly restored it can be a glaring tell.


Finishing the neck and body, I move on to the background. I tend to start close to the main subject and move outward. No particular reason, just me.


Now that I have most of the restoration work done, I think I’d like to see a bit of smoothing applied. When putting on any kind of blur to smooth the skin, it’s important to make sure the eyes aren’t softened as well.


I caught one more bit that needed to be restored under one eye, but after that fix it’s done. One day, delivered on time to a happy client. My favorite type of work!


A before and after comparison:


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8 Jul 2014, by

Photoshop CC 2014 Q&A



As most of you know by now, Adobe has released Photoshop CC 2014. I’ve had a lot of questions concerning this from Creative Cloud members who already have Photoshop CC installed, and thought I’d share some of the concerns and answers with our TipSquirrel readers. First of all, this is not an update of Photoshop CC, but a brand new version, a major version update, or an upgrade, if you will. If we were still on the CS system, Photoshop CC being CS7, this would be CS8…but it’s not. It’s CC (2014). If you weren’t confused before, you might be now… I watched the big launch and loved all the cool new features! I updated CC, but the features aren’t there: Again, this is a new version, so it must be downloaded and installed. To do this, open your Creative Cloud desktop app. There you should see your current versions (Photoshop CC) and the new versions (Photoshop CC (2014)). The (2014) versions are the ones you want to install. You should also be able to install the new version by going to Help > Updates, but I, personally, wasn’t able to. If you can, do so. Either way will get you where you want to go! I am using Photoshop 14.2.1. Is this the latest version? :   AboutPS       No, the new version is 2014.0.0. You can check which version you’re running by going to Help > About Photoshop. If the version isn’t 2014.0.0, you either opened the wrong version (CC as opposed to CC 2014) or you haven’t downloaded the newest version (see above). Is this included in my Creative Cloud subscription? : Yes. If you have the Creative Cloud, this is included, as all updates / upgrades to CC software will be. I’ve installed CC 2014, but CC is still on my system: A new version means a brand new install, so CC will still be on your system. Since CC 2014 is a new version, you can uninstall CC at any time, 2014 doesn’t rely on it to run at all, if you tend towards paranoia at all, however, you might keep CC on your system as a safety net should something go horribly wrong with CC 2014. I only say this because I tend towards paranoia… Will my presets still work with the upgrade? Yes, in fact, when you install (2014), you will get a pop up asking if you want your presets migrated from the previous version; just say yes! If this doesn’t happen, go to Edit > Presets > Migrate Presets and follow the instructions. You will have to re-install your 3rd party plugins manually, like you do with every major version update. Why is Window > Extensions grayed out? One of two reasons; you either don’t have any extensions installed (that was kind of obvious, right?) or the extensions you have installed are Flash based. As of Photoshop CC 2014, flash-based extensions are no longer supported. Some Adobe Extensions have been converted to HTML format, however, such as Kuler and Paper Texture Pro, and more will surely follow. Where is Mini Bridge? : Same as above; Mini Bridge is Flash-based. If an extension isn’t working or something Mini Bridge isn’t there, the first thing to check for is if it’s Flash-based… One more tip; make sure your video card driver is up to date. Some problems I’m seeing are directly related to this.

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30 Jun 2014, by

I’m Baaaack!

I need to do a catch up post, then will try very hard to at least post something once a week…

It’s been many a long day since I last updated my blog, and by “many a long day”, I mean nearly two years! When this I was pointed out to me, I was shocked, shocked I tell you! Many things have happened over these two years; a part time job that made it hard to do much of anything else but work, the loss of that job right when my mother became ill and I really needed the income, and the subsequent loss of my mother who was my best friend and also my business partner, my biggest cheerleader and the sharer of the dream for our business. Since then, it’s been hard to keep going amid losing every penny of savings to final expenses and people encouraging me to stop doing photo restoration, or do it as a “hobby”, and get a “real” job. This may eventually come to pass, but I’m going to give it one more try; put on my big girl panties, as one friend put it, get out there and promote myself instead of waiting for the magic marketing fairy to do it for me, and see if I can make this work out for me before putting in those applications at Home Depot or Walmart.

On the restoration front, I’ve worked on many fascinating projects during the past two years, for a historical society in the Historic Fort Worth Stockyards, the Fort Worth Zoo and the Tarrant County Archives just to name a few. Lots of Texas history, especially, going on, which makes sense, since Fort Worth was my base of operations. I’ve since moved in with my brother, bless his heart, on a temporary basis, and am living about 50 miles west of Fort Worth. As you can imagine, this has made meeting with clients hard, and has lost me more than a couple jobs, but it’s also opened up the more “global” aspect of my business, working on files sent to me over the internet. I’ve always done some of this type of work, but the largest part of my business, by far, was local work. Obviously this has to change.

I’ve also added a sort of “virtual assistant” field to my business, aimed at creatives and historian/genealogists who need help with retouching or research or photo / file editing. I’ve gotten a few good jobs from this in the past few months and has resulted in one of the worst client experiences I’ve ever had and also one of the all-time best! The genealogist who I’m doing some work for now is so wonderful that I wish I could keep on working with her for ever and ever…and ever!

While my mom was sick, I had to pass up some opportunities for work of the type I’d done with, because I was her sole caregiver and she couldn’t be alone. While I’m so glad and so honored I could be there for her, especially since, unbeknownst to us, it would be the last times we’d have together, the opportunities were given to others and probably lost to me forever. I also let my tutorials and articles slide, but this will be changing, now, as well. Beginning on Wednesday, July 23, I’ll be posting on TS once again!

I’ve missed interacting with you but I’ll again be bringing you some tips, a few tricks and showing you some cool Photo /Photoshop related products, once in a while. I’m back, and I hope you’ll be joining me!

One of my more recent projects…


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My friend, Nadya, has unwittingly helped me on my quest to prove the genealogy of digital photo restoration! There’s no denying that photography is the top of the tree, the ground zero of digital restoration; after all, the image had to be taken first, right? That’s undisputed. From there it goes awry. People assume, for some reason, that digital restoration is something that goes hand in hand with photography; that being a photographer makes you able to do digital photo restoration….but…why? The only thing they have in common is that the photo, as previously mentioned, was taken in the first place! If the photographer has experience with photo editing software, such as Photoshop, there’s a better chance they’ll be competent at restoration., but that’s still not a given.

I’ve had a theory for some time now that neither photography, nor expertise in Photoshop, guarantee you success in photo restoration. There’s a certain something else that’s present in all the really great restoration experts, and that’s an artistic eye. I’m not saying photographers don’t have an artistic eye, but I’m talking about a certain kind of artistic eye, the kind traditional artists have. The ability to know when something isn’t right about a composition, a face, the placement of the eye, more than a passing familiarity with forensic anatomy…the wrist bones connected to the arm bone sort of knowledge. Now, I’m pretty good at this photo restoration thing, but my photography skills? I don’t have any. I think I could learn, maybe even be good, but right out of the box? I pretty much suck.

If anyone’s seen Nadya Neklioudova’s artwork, they automatically know she’s got that sort of artistic eye. Her wildlife art is amazing and there’s nary a wonky eye to be seen! She knows what bone another bone is connected to! Seriously, take a look at this! This is one of my favorite’s (along with the Koala Bears…and that one of the zebra’s…and…). We’re talking major talent, here!

When I saw examples of her restoration work, I was astounded! I usually refrain from saying much when I see digital restoration because I see ways it could be better and the person doing the work hasn’t asked for my opinion. I might say something about a part I think was done well, but I’m not going to gush over something if I don’t feel it was exceptional. When I saw saw Nadya’s restoration work, I gushed. I gushed all over the place! She’s good, really good. The kind of good that inspires me and makes me think there’s hope out there that digital photo restoration will be one day seen as an art form in it’s own right, not just a hobby or something anyone with editing software can do. Nadya also happens to be a great photographer, but I believe, rather than the photography making her a great restoration artist, it’s the art which makes the restoration and the photography great.

Why do I think this is so good? She brought put the detail, beautifully, yet kept it subtle. It looks like the original picture, only 20/30 years ago. Period. She didn’t try to make it new. It’s gorgeous. Nadya understands shadow and light and the power of a light hand. In all the photo restoration work I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot, it’s my opinion that there are only three truly great digital photo restoration artists, and I mean that in the truest sense of the word, in the world today. One is Nadya Neklioudova.

I’m still working on my digital photo restoration family tree, but I’m pretty sure that great-grandpa Photographer was really just an uncle and Traditional Artist was the real direct ancestor…

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Today we are celebrating the birthday of the one and only footnoteMaven, the much loved and truly talented publisher / writer of the award-winning Shades of the Departed online magazine. In honor of that birthday I present to you, in one of many offerings from the Shades writers, a tiny peek into the possible history of the legend that is Maven…

MAVENLANDIA – In a shocking development, two previously unseen photographs have been found that are believed to be of the infamous footnoteMaven. Ms.Maven, long wanted for her brilliant mind, loving mature and caring soul, has only been known to show herself in an occasional image posted on the internet (see left and below) and has been rumored to arrive, incognito, sometimes sporting a racy red wheelchair, at various footnote loving events.

The images, believed to be of the beloved Ms. Maven, where found in the attic of a quaint little castle believed to be Ms. Maven’s childhood home. When interviewed for this story, Ms.Maven’s former nanny, Sista Henrietta Floogflopper, said only that the tiara sported in one of the images looked like the one which was presented to Ms. Maven on the event of her 5th birthday, the very tiara which started a truly impressive tiara collection owned by Ms. Maven to this very day.

Are these rare images truly of our beloved footnoteMaven? Since Ms. M is currently in seclusion, the scuttlebutt being she’s at an exclusive spa somewhere in the South of France therefore not available for comment, it is left for you, the reader to decide!

Postscript: No images were harmed in the writing of this story! These Little Orphan Images were merely altered digitally, by the author, when she seriously needed to be doing something else. Happy Birthday My Dear Maven, from your bored ugly Sista!

For more birthday goodness from the lovely and talented Shades writers check out their blogs!

CreativeGene, by Jasia
For Your Family Story, by Caroline Pointer
Geneablogie, by Craig Manson
A Sense of Face, by Rebecca Fenning
Shades: Birthday Edition — A Teacup Throne at Moultrie Creek, by Denise Olson
What’s Past is Prologue, by Donna Pointkouski
The Family Curator, by Denise Levernick

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There is one particular daguerreotype that has always fascinated me. It was taken by Louis Daguerre himself, and is the very first photograph known to show a human being! This photo was taken in 1838. 1838!! That’s 173 years old!! Think about how amazing that is: a photograph taken a mere fifty-five years after the American Revolution and less than forty years after the French Revolution, twenty-three years after the Battle of Waterloo and twenty-three years before the start of the American Civil War; like I said, amazing.


Just thinking about a photo taken 173 years ago boggles my mind. It gives us an incredible opportunity to gaze into the past. This very street in Paris was the home of what would eventually morph into Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, at the time known as the Salon de Cire, where the leaders of the Revolution in France brought the heads of those they guillotined for Marie Grosholtz (later Tussaud) to cast in wax; wax being ever so much better to parade around on a pike, you know.

Have another look at the original daguerreotype, above. Over to the left, beside the cobblestone street, on the sidewalk next to the large building in the foreground, do you see him? It looks like he may be standing next to a water pump, perhaps, or that’s what the handle at the top puts me in mind of. He looks like he might be wearing a tricorn hat, although if he was, he was terribly out of fashion, the tricorn being rather passé since around 1800. If you look closely, the hat may just as easily be any other fashionable hat of the era and the dark smudge at the top, which we could perceive as the tricorn shape, may actually just be a…smudge. Regardless, he appears to be wearing a long coat, perhaps to his knees, perhaps a bit shorter, and is standing with one leg up, his foot braced on something, and there may be the arm of another person in front of his knee (or that could be another smudge…I’m just sayin…)…the whole position puts one in mind of a gentleman having his boots shined. All I can say is that shining a nice pair of Hessians (assuming, of course, that they were, indeed, hessians) must have taken some time! Why would I say that? Well, look at the street in the photograph. It appears that a Paris street, in the middle of the day, is completely empty, save some guy having his boots shined, right? Wrong. Chances are the street is teaming with life! The Boulevard de Temple was a street of fun and entertainment, full of Café’s, theaters and museums, such as the Salon de Cire. There would have been carriages, people strolling, perhaps merchants and entertainers out on the sidewalk trying to draw the crowds into their establishments. So why can we see a gentleman having a shine and no one else? Because Daguerre’s incredibly precise photographs took a mind-numbing ten minutes to process at that time! Anything that moved during that time would be rendered invisible, hence my comment on how long it must have taken to shine a boot!

Daguerreotypes were, and are, some of the best, clearest, highest resolution images ever made, but since they were on highly polished, silver-plated sheets of copper, most of the damage is from scratching. Digitally restoring them is an exercise in patience, and care must be taken not to smudge the photo by trying to fix too much of a scratched area at once. The key to fixing large scratches is to take each scratch in little pieces instead of long sweeps.

The photographic process of the time was done in mirror image. Most of the examples of Daguerre’s Boulevard du Temple on the webs today are shown in the orientation shown at the top of this article. Since I didn’t know if photo had been reversed before it was uploaded, or if it was still in the reversed orientation, I wanted to see if I could tell by the writing on the side of the tall building on the left which way the scene would be if we were there, with Daguerre, looking down on the Boulevard de Temple. I was able to only make out a few numbers, 104, and one word, Rue (see below), but it was enough to tell that the photo was, indeed, mirror image, so I flipped the orientation.

I then added a bit of duotone to soften the harshness of the black and white image. I almost consider this less of a restoration and more of a glass cleaning, leaving this window that Louis Daguerre left us a bit clearer. I hope you’ve enjoy this little peek into the past!

While this photo is in the public domain, the restoration is not, and has been watermarked. Please don't use it without my permission! Thanks! 🙂






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