Photo Restoration Part 5 / by Laura Daly

The image was starting to look half-decent (at least, a damn sight better than when I first got it!). The aim for this final section was to get the image ready for printing a couple of proofs, so that I could see if more work needed to be done when looking at it from a 'normal perspective' i.e. not pixel peeping... 17 Background repair before

This was my starting point. A lot of work had been done to the subject herself, but the (quite nicely) blown out background was still showing signs of water damage, and just general ageing. So, this was repaired using ol' faithful (spot healing brush and a bit of clone stamp tool), which neatened everything up further.

18 Background repair after

Not far to go before I had some proofs to send for printing. I still wasn't happy with the tones at the top of the image, so I added another black and white adjustment (a graduated one this time, hoping things would magically even out by themselves). This did to some extent do what I wanted, but everything, and I mean EVERYTHING weirdly went very dull.

19 Brightness contrast before

Fine. More layer adjustments! This time a brightness and contrast adjustment really did a lot of work here. In hindsight, could have used this much earlier on and could have had far fewer layers (although, switching off different layers seemed to take something away from the effect somehow)...

20 Brightness contrast after

And that is where I pretty much decided to stop for now and see what it looked like on paper. There may well be more work I need to do, but I'll wait...

The image was imported as a 1200 dpi image and a 600 dpi, so I copied the layers onto both source files and will print both to see if there is ANY discernible difference in quality. I have ordered these prints from Whitewall, on matte Ilford LightJet Print B&W paper. I have also ordered from Photobox previously, so I can see if the extra cost is really worth it!

Before restoration: Original image

Where I am now: 21 Proof for printing