Hello Hello Happy Scrappers, Farrah here with this week's History lessons. Part I of our class will cover editing old photos. I recently put together a GIANT heritage album for my family. My aunt had been collecting a treasure trove of old photos, letters, recipes, documents covering a century of family history. We had also both done a ton of research on Ancestry.com. When she asked me for help and when the boxes kept arriving, to be honest, I felt overwhelmed and didn't know where to begin. Here are the steps I took to getting this project moving:
1. Turning it all DIGITAL! Ok...this task was quite daunting, but completely necessary. I scanned in each photo, document, ephemera, etc. onto an external hard drive that I'd dedicated to the project.
2. Organization is key. I decided that I wanted to present the final project to show each generation, so I organized each file into a folder based on the generation and family tree branch.
3. Scrapbook Layouts. At first, I thought that I would try to format the pages similarly, or use templates, but then decided that I'd get bored with that, so I made each page as I went...often using templates or scraplifting, etc. Hey...at this point, whatever it takes to get it done, right?
So...Yes...Heritage Projects can be overwhelming, but just take it one step at a time. Now...on to our Lesson!
When working with older photos, the quality of the photos can vary immensely. You might find faded, folded, or even torn photos. It's best to work carefully with them, as to avoid further damage. Often times, these "defects" make the photos and layouts more charming, adding to the heritage feel of the page. Other times, those 1970s faded polaroids just need a little help. For really old photos, I highly reccommend using them as best you can and leave in those fold marks or tears. They'll look great! For photos that you feel need some editing help, try to add more contrast and adjust the white balance. To be honest, even these aren't going to look like the digital photos of today. Embrace this and try to use elements that fit the mood. If you really MUST help fix the photo, here are a few tips:
1. Black and White - Converting to black and white photos can really help photos that have horrible white balance, as well as adding contrast. Black and white photos can also isolate the subject, making anything distracting in the background less noticeable.
2. Repair- The content aware alghorithms in photoshop have come soooo far and are great at fixing folds, tears, and red-eye reduction spots.
Here is one of the pages from my heritage album. I'm in love with old photos as they are so charming!
Family-047 by farrahj, on Flickr
Older digital photos
Do you ever look back at a photo from several years ago and wish it were in better shape? The technology is improving by leaps and bounds every year, so don't worry too much about the quality of older photos. Here are some ways to help them out:
1. White Balance- Having the proper white balance is the best way to improve a photo. It's easy and quick. By adjusting the temperture, you can warm up a photo that is too blue, or cool down one that is too yellow. By adjusting the tint, you can find just the right balance between the amounts of green and magenta. If you're not quite sure how much, just hold the slider down and move it back and forth until you come to a spot that is most appealing.
2. Exposure- The second biggest difference you can do to help your photo is to make sure it has the proper exposure. You can brighten an underexposed photo, or darken one that is overexposed. Often times, you can recover some of the clipped shadows or blown highlights.
3. Focus - Unfortunately, there's isn't a good way to fix photos that are out of focus. Soft photos can be helped by sharpening or adding a USM, but out of focus is out of focus. The best way to help these photos is to either turn it black and white, or just embrace the nature and add some movement to your layout.
Here is a layout using photos from my honeymoon - almost TEN years ago! I had taken only a small point and shoot camera that ended up with some water damage. The photos that did come out, came out with a horible green cast to them. Fixing the white balance made a HUGE difference.
10.25.05-Cook-Islands by farrahj, on Flickr
honeymoon-183b by farrahj, on Flickr
Your homework assignment for this part is to make a layout where you use an older photo that has needed some editing. The photo can be a heritige photo that you've repaired, or a photo from last year that you decided to re-edit. Please post the original photo along with your layout.
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