Photographic digitizing, conservation and cleaning

I am rather fortunate to have some very old photos of my family such as Great grandmother Symmonds seen above.

This is a portrait photograph taken in a studio from about 1880.

As you can see this image has scratches, and Spotting. It is 130 years old and was kept in a cardboard box so we can’t really expect much more.

So is it easy to bring it back something near to it’s former glory?

The answer is yes…it takes a bit of practice but can be done cheaply and rather effectively I think.

Firstly DON’T scan photos, any photos and it pics up all sorts of dirt. It is actually better to take a photo of a photo in normal daylight with a good camera. I’m fortunate enough to be able to use a Canon 400d SLR, see if you can borrow a good camera to get a good copy.

Photoshop is a great program but with a rather high price tag of £250 (according to Amazon) and it is not an easy package to use.

So I would suggest Photofiltre, its a free piece of software and it just the job for a bit of photo editing or cleaning. You can see the before and after effect of my great grandmother above.

This is a screen shot and quick guide to the tools I usually use. Crop obviously allows to to re-size the image.

The clone to copies any pixel of the photo to anywhere else, so with the man in Fig 1. you can see I have cloned the same shades of grey and black to remove the lines that are on the original. Sometimes with edges you need to smooth them a touch and you can do this with the smudge tool and size adjustment…just practice and it will come.

Fig 1.

Fig 1.