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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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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