On My "OFF" Days

October 08, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Some of you may wonder what the glamorous life of a part-time automotive photographer is like when there's no car shoots going on. Alright, none of you are probably wondering that with the possible exception of my wife. But today I wanted to share my labor of love that keeps me busy many days. 

About 14 years ago my maternal grandmother passed away. She was an amazing woman. Strong. Social. And a great love of history, specifically her family. She spent years digging through paper files in dusty, dimly lit rooms documenting our family tree. Along with those documents she was an avid collector of photographs related to our family. 

About 6 years ago I came across a large paper box at my mom's house just filled with these photos my grandmother had collected. Wanting to help keep my grandmothers memory alive I decided to scan all of the photos so they could be preserved and possibly shared with others in our clan. The scanning took months and afterwards I was so drained I took time off from the project and didn't pick it up again until recently. 

So now when time permits I open one image at a time, process for color correction, cropping, and then noise/artifact removal. Some of the photos need more extensive repairs like creases, pinholes, or even slight burning. Those are the ones that take the most time. Below is an example image that represents many of the 1300+ photos I am working with. You'll notice this one has two large creases in the upper right corner and then some kind of artifacting on the left side of the girls face, by her ear. (BTW...this girl is a picture of my mom when she was little!)

And here you'll see the corrected version that was rotated slightly to the right and full repairs to all damage. 

So which tools did I use? The Spot Healing Brush is Photoshop CS6 works perfectly for the creases. I use a soft edge brush about 2-3 times larger than the crease which then samples enough material to match the plain background. For the artifacting on the left side of the face the Spot Healing Brush didn't work because there are complicated gradients on that part of the face. So I turned to the Clone Stamp tool and carefully sampled a similar gradient from another part of the face. 

Hopefully someday soon I'll be able to finish up this project and share the finished product with my family. Many of them may not have seen these images in many years, or maybe never at all. I hope it keeps our family connected to our history and keeps some of my grandmothers memory alive for myself and others. 


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