Advice on how to clean up old photographs

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obelisk
Posts: 465
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 9:54 am

Advice on how to clean up old photographs

Post by obelisk »

I'm scanning some very old 40 years plus photographs that have faded or gone yellow

https://imgur.com/a/FfUJLrt

I'm trying to work out some settings that can be used to automatically clean them up a little bit. I'm finding these three actions seem to adjust the colour an I'm not sure which to use.

Normalise seems to leave a little yellow behind, the others seem to make it pretty even.

After automatic levels, there are these yellow spots left behind can we target them And just lighten all of yellow?
cday
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Re: Advice on how to clean up old photographs

Post by cday »

Screenshot from 2024-03-15 18-52-35.png
obelisk wrote: Mon Mar 11, 2024 2:17 am I'm scanning some very old 40 years plus photographs that have faded or gone yellow

I'm trying to work out some settings that can be used to automatically clean them up a little bit. I'm finding these three actions seem to adjust the colour an I'm not sure which to use.

Normalise seems to leave a little yellow behind, the others seem to make it pretty even.

After automatic levels, there are these yellow spots left behind can we target them And just lighten all of yellow?
The limited general advice I can offer unfortunately would be difficult to apply here due to the patterns in the image, otherwise issues of spots or other areas in an image that deviate from a nominally uniform colour can often be successfully 'repaired' by copying and pasting an area of the wanted colour over the areas that deviate,

That may mean repairing each spot separately, or it may sometimes be possible to make a larger selection that includes multiple spots or other defects. It may also be possible to extend a selection to cover an unwanted area and then immediately paste, saving a little time. More specialised image editing software does, however, often provide additional tools such as a 'healing brush' which can perform more sophisticated repairs.

Copying and pasting an area of a pattern may sometimes produce at least some improvement with a little experimentation and luck, as illustrated below where the prominent defect in the gray area above has been made less noticeable, look for the slightly lighter area in the centre if the image:

Screenshot from 2024-03-15 18-52-35_edited.png

That basic method taken further was used successfully when I was scanning some very old club accounts which in places had badly damaged edges. The accounts had ruled vertical lines extending near to the bottom edge of the sheets, and by making a selection of a good area inset from the edge, I was able not only to extent the lines to the required lengths but also insert the missing edge of the sheets!
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XnTriq
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Re: Advice on how to clean up old photographs

Post by XnTriq »

Are these Polaroids?

This method requires Photoshop: yellow stain removal from negatives