Retouching Old Photos

By Nancy Hendrickson Premium

You’ve got a scanner, imaging software and lots of old family photographs you want to restore — but where do you find photo-fixing guidance that’s geared toward your needs as a genealogist?

Retouching Old Photos from Sunshine Press Publications is a fully illustrated guide designed to help family historians salvage damaged pictures. It’s packed with tips on digital-restoration techniques, such as repairing torn photos, removing dust streaks and adjusting brightness and contrast. Although the instructions are written for Photoshop, you can apply the same techniques to other digital-imaging programs.

The guide comes on a CD-ROM, in Adobe Acrobat Reader (PDF) format (get the Reader free at <>). You can easily navigate the lessons from the Table of Contents or on-screen menus. The Techniques section addresses common photo problems, such as oversaturation and cropping. It also has a don’t-miss chapter on scanning.

The most impressive part of the tutorial is the Projects section. Here, the author addresses all the Photoshop operations you’re likely to encounter when retouching old photos. Sample images illustrate each step or series of steps. For example, you’ll learn how to rescue the details in a portrait taken in deep shadow, how to make a portrait more flattering and even how to make a new photo look old.

Retouching Old Photos is written with the novice in mind, but even seasoned pros will find useful tips. If you don’t own Photoshop (which retails for around $600), Adobe recently released a new consumer version, Photoshop Elements, which costs less than $100 (see the October 2001 Family Tree Magazine for details). Or pick up a copy of the old version that came bundled with many scanners, Photoshop LE — it goes for less than $40 at online auctions.

If you’d like to try before you buy, you can read a free sample chapter on the author’s Web site at <>. Contact Sunshine Press Publications at (800) 595-1955.

From the February 2002 issue of Family Tree Magazine