restoring a partially faded photograph

New Here ,
May 22, 2019 May 22, 2019

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Hi all, I have a photo from 1964 that's partially faded.  I'm trying to restore it... however this is my first time using photoshop and I'm having a lot of trouble trying to figure out how to make this work.  Any help is much appreciated! Rodney.jpeg

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LEGEND , May 22, 2019 May 22, 2019

Since the color is so drained and shifted, and modeling in the faces (where people look first) and wedding cake are lost that, perhaps, a conversion to black & white with a hint of sepia might be a better option than attempting to salvage this as a color image -- particularly since you are brand new to Photoshop.

sepia2.png

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LEGEND ,
May 22, 2019 May 22, 2019

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Since the color is so drained and shifted, and modeling in the faces (where people look first) and wedding cake are lost that, perhaps, a conversion to black & white with a hint of sepia might be a better option than attempting to salvage this as a color image -- particularly since you are brand new to Photoshop.

sepia2.png

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New Here ,
May 23, 2019 May 23, 2019

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Yes thank you, I believe this is what I am leaning towards since the tutorials I have found don't really fit my situation.  Thanks so much for taking time to reply with a great suggestion!

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Community Expert ,
May 23, 2019 May 23, 2019

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There is a lot of great information available on the internet regarding this subject and with most things in Photoshop, there are many directions you can go with this.

I suggest a quick Google search to see what options fit your skill level.

I searched Google using "how to restore old photos in photoshop cc" and came back with a handful of tutorials that should fit your needs.

https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS503US503&q=how+to+restore+old+photos+in+photoshop+cc&s...

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New Here ,
May 23, 2019 May 23, 2019

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Thank you, I spent about an hour and a half yesterday looking before I posted here.  My issue is that the border is so blunt, it doesn't really fit any of the tutorials.  I found partially faded photographs that had a faded out corner, or entirely faded photographs which would be easy to do but none where there is such a blunt line of difference where you have to match the colors of the center of the picture to the unfaded areas.  I'm sure it's possible to fix, I just have a lot of learning to do Thank you again for your suggestion!

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Advisor ,
May 23, 2019 May 23, 2019

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Hello simig71733691,

One of my specialties is to repair and restore old documents and photographs. An advantage I have is I am a portrait artist - the main reason I love the work. Like coloring book work to me.

I will tell you a few things to consider - make the task as easy as you can by cropping this photo - saving only the central figures. That takes care of the dark inner edges.

Since you are new to Photoshop this will be a learning process that you will not forget. If this repair work is being done for a customer, warn them it will take some time. Make sure you use a very light touch - work in layers and do not paint with 100% saturation colors  -- maybe15%. Keep several copies of the original. You might need to copy and paste-in the faces a few times before you are satisfied with the quality. Not too much fine brush details in faces, mostly shading.

Learn to use the selection tools...all of them. Then select each subject and color area to work on - a small bit at a time like curtains, clock, dress - select the faces and hands for close work too.

Bring the areas along at the same saturation level - pastels only. Later you can use the Curve to darken these colors when you have finished.

You will benefit from watching the restoration tutorials to learn a few basic things.  If you web search for a professional restoration service you can maybe have it done and then try to duplicate the quality.

This forum has many excellent professionals who could perform this restoration but it would require a great deal of time or we would have to become your private tutor to help you through it.

Best wishes and have fun. JH

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New Here ,
Sep 10, 2022 Sep 10, 2022

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Hello,

Did you ever get a solution that you could use without going the Black and White route? I'm in the same boat with several photgraphs faded in the center from being in a collage. I'm frantically learning as quickly as I can from the photoshop tutorials but Im not happy with the results so far. Here is the first photo Ive been working on. I have other photos of the dress so I know what the color should be, and I have the backgroiund, so I know what the colors of the field should be, I just cant work out how to link it together. I know knowledgeable people have already replied, but any help would be greatly appreciated

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Community Expert ,
Sep 10, 2022 Sep 10, 2022

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You can quickly determine for yourself whether a faded photo is salvageable or not: look at the histogram.

 

If one or more channels are clipped at either end, that information is lost forever. There is nothing to retrieve, and the only option is to reconstruct and rebuild.

 

If it's just one channel, it's usually possible to reconstruct with information from the other channels. If two channels are blown, it's much harder.

 

In any case, there is no "hidden information" and no magic button. There is no easy way. It's manual work, and it will take time.

 

This is why the black and white option is often the only sensible alternative: it can use information from any color channel, as long as there's something left in one of them.

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