Working With Images
Photos, Negatives, & Slides

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Editing Your Images to Improve Image Quality

Many people think of "photo editing" as something difficult, but with today's technology, this process is greatly simplified. There are many tools out there that can help us to easily improve the quality of our scanned photos and they don't take that much of our time.
Editing photos can basically fall into two different categories. To view several samples of these, click on the list to the right.

  • Fixing abnormal color tones & lighting
  • Restorative work on creases, tears, missing pieces, etc.

Sample Images Edited With PhotoPea.com

Photos Samples Needing Work

This pigments in the original paper, or it could be with a negative or a slide, have degraded over time. There is a reddish color cast to the photo, but I have seen bluish or greenish color casts as well. They make the digital images look awful, but removing color cast is quite easy to do. Typically just one photo editing tool will correct most all of the color cast.

Before Original Image
After Fixed Image

This photo was taken against a brighter background, thus limiting the light on the subject.

Fortunately, it is pretty easy to correct lighting in post-processing with a photo editor.

Before Original Image
After Fixed Image

This photo was taken back in 1971 with a Bolsey camera that did not have a light meter. It was all guesswork for camera settings. The photograph is obviously overexposed.

There are a lot of memories associated with this photograph, a street we lived on as missionaries. I used Pixlr, a free online photo editor to correct the lighting in this photograph. I twould have gotten much better quality using my Affinity Photo program or with PhotoShop.

Before Original Image
After Fixed Image

"Restoring" photographs involves a different set of tools that allow for "healing" and "cloning" damaged areas. These do take a little skill to learn, but there are some tips & tricks that greatly help this process.
The wedding photo below had damage from sitting in a drawer and picking up stains. The damage could easily have been scratches, tears, or other physical damage.

Before Original Image
After Fixed Image

Tips When Working With Photos:

Image

Unless we actively take steps to save our heritage, both that of our ancestors and our own, it will be quickly lost to subsequent generations!

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Stephen A Meyers
Idaho Falls, Idaho

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NEVER do the editing on an original file. Always FIRST make a copy and then do your editing on the copy. You will look back at your edits at times and think, "I know how to make this photo look better". If you no longer have your original photo, you are editing an already poor quality photo.

Over time, as you open, edit, and save a photo that is saved in a .jpeg or .jpg format, you will tend to lose data with each "save". Try to do all your editing of that photo in one session, then save it, and do not change it. The quality should be fine. If you need to do edits over several sessions, save the file in a TIF format, until you have completed ALL your edits. If you are really into photography, most pros will have you save your files in a .tiff format. However, TIF files are generally quite large in size, therefore you will need a lot more storage space to hold them.