Photo restoration

Retouching original photographs

All repairs to original photographs are best left to the professional conservator, however small spots and cracks can sometimes be fixed using dyes and a fine brush.

Digital retouching

Digital photo editing can:

  • Adjust contrast and density
  • Correct colour
  • Add colour to black and white images
  • Retouch cracks, creases or stains
  • Add or subtract people, objects or backgrounds
  • Join photos together
  • Sharpen photos (with qualifications)

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a large, complicated program that can be quite daunting for the inexperienced.

Simple repairs such as removing creases or spots can usually be done without too much difficulty. More complex work such as photo composite images requires more skill.

Paid tutorial subscriptions services like “” and “”, are good starting points and Youtube also has many good free resources for all skill levels.

The process of digital photo restoration starts with creating a digital file either from a scan or from a digital camera. It is then imported into Photoshop where the editing takes place. When editing is completed, the file is saved and/or printed.

Other editing programs

“Affinity” Professional Editing.

“Photoshop elements” available for Mac or PC

“Canva” – online photo editing.

Microsoft and Mac basic photo programs.

Digital Retouching tools

Serious retouching requires a stylus pen. It allows precise actions and is more tactile than a mouse.

Wacom is the industry leader in this field.

A correctly calibrated monitor is important if doing colour work.

Essentially, it means the monitor is set up to show colours as they will appear when printed.

Monitors typically display colour with different bias, so a calibration tool is used to give an industry standard profile ensuring correct colour.

Photo restoration examples

Removing someone from a photo

Isolating an individual from a group is a common problem.

In this case, the right shoulder was cut and pasted on to the left.

Using the clone/stamp tool to restore photographs.

In order to repair faces, it is sometimes necessary to clone an eye from one side to the other.