Retouching Old Photos

For Christmas, my little brother e-mailed my other little brother and I a photo of the three of us that my Dad took when we were pretty young… ok REALLY young. Long story short, my brother snagged the photo out of one of my parents photo albums when he was a freshman in college at the University of Missouri.

He scanned the photo and sent it to my brother and I on Christmas day. Scanners really helping bring us into the digital age because of the ability to digitize all of those old prints and film negatives. However, scanners (even the very best ones) bring about another problem. If the owner isn’t meticulous about cleaning it, you’re going to get dust, particles, etc. in your scans.

This was the case with the photo my brother sent, as you can see below:

This is one of those cases where Photoshop is a really great tool to have in your bag. I was able to fairly quickly clean up the dust and other bad artifacts from the scan as well as bring back some contrast and punch the colors a little bit. You could almost consider what I did as photo restoration, but I didn’t have to do anything major to the photo.

Photoshop has kind of gotten a bad name because of all the really heavy retouching and the powerful ability to drastically alter a photo. However, I’m not going to get into an ethics discussion here. My intention with this post was just to remind you that Photoshop has it’s place in photography and as great of an application as Lightroom is, sometimes you still need to go to Photoshop.


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