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Newbie Request for Suggestions

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:22 am
by paulhurm
This is my first post and sorry, but yes I realize it is a very open ended and broad request for suggestions.

For initial reference you may want to look at and read the introduction. Generally, I have several hundred B/W prints (unfortunately no negs) taken by my grandfather during his World War One duties. Typical of old prints like this, silver has crept to the surface and when scanned these areas reflect the scanner light and I end up with bright / washed out areas.

I would like any suggestions for a set of processes to try to fix these prints as much as possible for possible book publication. I am not a graphics person but expect I am going to have to become one. Therefore the more straightforward the process(es) is, the better it will be for me to pick up. I understand things like dealing with small areas at a time, fixing in layers and recombining etc but have no practical experience doing these so am a bit concerned about the learning curve. The more straightforward the process the better it will probably be for me.

(I do have an "old fashioned" copy stand that I have not yet tried. I am thinking that since I can angle the light bulbs on this stand that I might be able to cut down on the reflections. I would still need to post process on a computer though.)

I have seen products like B/W Styler, Contrast Master, etc mentioned but I'm very inexperienced enough to not know if they would apply in this situation.

I would definitely appreciate even the shortest reply with the hope that any hints might add up in my head and eventually help me through this project.

I do have a copy of PhotoShop 6.0.1 and can of course get GIMP or any other free software. I do not have finances to spare to purchase anything new and I realize this could very likely be a problem.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts anyone is willing to share and if wanted, I can pass on a typical photo for someone to play with.

Paul Hurm

Re: Newbie Request for Suggestions

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:36 pm
by HaraldHeim
There are two ways to deal with the overexposed areas:

A. Do something with the original photos, so that the scanner light is not reflected so extremely.


B. Use the healing brush or clone tool in Photoshop to fill the overexposed areas with image content from another area of the image.

Re: Newbie Request for Suggestions

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 12:15 am
by paulhurm
Thanks for the thoughts.

A - This fits in with my idea of playing around with my old copy stand. It has adjustable arms for moving around the 4 light sources. I'm thinking that maybe I can reduce reflections with careful aiming of the mini-flood lights.

B - Of course this means (and I expected) that I have a learning curve to go through with whatever software package I use. As I mentioned, I currently can't buy anything new but hopefully the version of PhotoShop I have can be used. I do have an advantage in that my sister is graphics experienced and I can probably get her to guide me.

Of course, I know no such thing exists, but I would love a magic button!!

If anyone else has thoughts or specific suggestions (pointers to tutorials etc) I will definately appreciate them!

Re: Newbie Request for Suggestions

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:14 am
by HaraldHeim
Concerning B: If you have Photoshop CS6 you can also use the Content-Aware Fill function, which should work faster than using the healing brush or clone tool.

To use it create a selection around the overexposed area and choose Edit > Fill from the menu. Make sure that the Content-Aware option is selected.

Re: Newbie Request for Suggestions

Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:20 pm
by DDR
Therein are a number of Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets that fix most of the gaps in the scanned old photographs. These are the kits of the "complete solutions" for each of the different types of the gaps. I do not remember now Photoshop Actions (but they exist, surely). I may suggest Lightroom presets -- "Improve Old Black-and-White Photos": ... m-presets/
They work with Lightroom 4 and 5. JPEG and TIFF formats are supported. In fact, you can register an account in Adobe, then download a trial of Lightroom. It should work for one month.

I hope this helps.

Re: Newbie Request for Suggestions

Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 4:07 am
by paulhurm
I followed the link for the Lightroom presets. The certainly seem interesting. I have the problem though that I am still stuck with XP on an older PC. Lightroom requires Win 7 or better so I am stuck for now. :-(

Definately thanks for this and other suggestions anyone gives. I am keeping track of them for possible future use particularly if I can somehow update my HW, OS and SW.