Photo Retouching Tips

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You discover a wonderful old photo in the attic, but there are creases and scratches on it. With picture-editing software, you can lessen the ravages of time and improve color.The steps given here can be used as a general guide for restoring a picture with picture-editing software.

Software features for repairing damaged photos
Knowing what you want to fix in your photographs will help you to decide what software application you should select. If you plan to restore old family photographs—images that are faded, stained, tattered, and torn—consider selecting a picture-editing software application that contains these features:
Feature Description
Layers Lets you stack elements in your digital image on top of each other. Each of the elements is independent of the other. The application determines how you can manipulate the layered elements.
Selection tools Includes tools that allow you to choose elements within your image or on an individual layer. They may include a magic wand, a pen tool, a lasso, a rectangle, and an oval. The number of tools and their names depend on the software.
Filters Lets you apply special effects to a selected image element or a layer. Different software applications offer various types of filters. Third-party software companies also sell “plug-in” filters for different picture-editing applications. The most common filters in a picture-editing program are blurring filters, painterly effects, sharpening, image distortion, noise, and pixelation.
Color adjustments Lets you adjust the colors (Red, Green, or Blue, or all simultaneously) of your image elements or layers. The tool usually contains “sliders” for red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, and yellow. Some applications provide you with a “color ring-around,” multiple variations of the original image with color corrections for shadows, midtones, and highlights.
Brightness and contrast Allow you to adjust the darkness/lightness of an image. You can also change the relationship of bright and dark areas by increasing or decreasing the difference between them.


Making a duplicate picture to work on

1 – Scan your original photograph on a flatbed scanner. Be sure to scan the original as an RGB image. If you select gray scale, or black and white, for the scanning mode, you cannot make color corrections to the image.


2 – Save the scanned picture on your computer, and open it in your picture-editing software.


3 – Create a duplicate of the scanned image by clicking Save As or Save a Copy from the Edit menu. Type in a new name for the copy and click OK. This preserves the original for future use.


4 – Open the copy of the picture in your picture-editing program. It’s better to make mistakes on a duplicate than on the original.


5 – Make any adjustments to the picture, like rotating, cropping, or resizing, and save it.


Correcting the color

1 – Select the color-adjustment feature of your software, such as an Instant Fix or Auto Levels command. In some software programs, you can preview the adjustment before accepting any changes.


2 – Adjust the color further, if your software has that option.


Eliminating scratches, creases, and dust marks

1 – Select the cloning tool.


2 – Place your cursor in the area near the scratch to take a sample of the surrounding area. You’ll use this sample to cover up the scratch, crease, or spot so that it blends in.


3 – Press the Alt key on a PC (Option key on a Macintosh computer) and click on the sample area.


4 – From the Brushes Palette, choose a brush size that is equal in width to the scratch.


5 – Place the cloning tool over the scratch.


6 – Click and drag the mouse to ‘paint’ a copy of the sampled area into the scratch.


7 – Repeat the process for all the other problem areas until you are satisfied.

8 – Be sure to save your restored photo.