Sunday, November 24, 2019

Before you throw away that faded photo, try scanning, editing it in Photoshop first

Unedited photo scan from Photoshop

All I did was hit "auto" contrast and levels and this photo was saved!

    I recently came across some old photos and have been trying to figure out what's what. One of the photos was so faded in various shades of sepia that I really could make much out. I decided to go ahead and scan the photo and open it in Photoshop to see if I could tweak it a bit.
    I really didn't do much "tweaking." I just hit the auto-contrast and auto-levels and suddenly a photo in which nothing could be seen became much, much clearer. I did make a point of scanning at 400 dpi, which is a little higher resolution that the typical photo scan. So if you have an old photo that looks like it has just faded away, try scanning it and hitting auto-adjust in Photoshop before you throw away that little piece of history.
    I still don't know what the photo is, but I think the woman in the shawl standing in front is my great-grandmother, Margaret Watkins Hurdle. I've seen photos of her wearing a shawl in that fashion before.
    ADDENDUM: Even if it is an old black and white photo that has faded into sepia, scan the photo in color. This provides far more information to aid Photoshop in bringing out the image. After editing it, if you want to convert to grayscale, fine.