Photo Rescue

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I made the complete switch from film photography to digital photography somewhere around 2003 or 2004. So you can imagine my surprise when, while recently digging through some old bags I had stuffed in the back of my closet, I came across several rolls of undeveloped film. I took them to my local one-hour developer and asked them to put digital copies on a disc, as well as make prints.

The photos were of extremely poor quality, given the age of the film. So I set about to improve them the best that I could, in Photoshop CS3.

Here is one of the original images, of my grandson Robert in his high chair:


Such a sweet face! Which is being totally detracted from because of the poor film quality. But we can fix that!

The first thing to do is to use the “Spot Healing Brush” to remove the milk stain on his shirt. It’s the one that looks like a band-aid in the palette:


This is what the spot looked like after I “healed” it:


I also used the Spot Healing Brush to “heal” the tiny scrape that was on his forehead.

Then, because using the Spot Healing Brush removed the texture of Robert’s shirt, I used the “Clone Stamp Tool” (looks like a rubber stamp in the palette) to clone textured areas of the shirt back into the “healed” spot.


This is what the spot looked like after I cloned it. You can’t even tell a spot was there, can you?


With those little details taken care of, it’s time to reduce the noise and speckling of the grainy photo. I ran Filter/Noise/Despeckle three times to remove the speckling, then ran Filter/Noise/Reduce Noise and left it on the default settings.


Performing these steps greatly softens the look of the photo, so if a return to sharpness is desired, simply go to Filter/Sharpen/Unsharp Mask to sharpen the photo as needed.

I decided that I wanted to “warm up” the photo a little by increasing the contrast, so I went to Image/Adjustments/Curves and chose “Darker” from the drop-down list.


Here is the final result:


Not perfect, but a vast improvement over the original, I think:


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