Tag Archives: restoring photographs

Colouring the Past…

I was practicing some restoration and colour correction exercises on old family photographs today as I was thinking of including it as a service for my new biography business.

I scanned the photograph of my Nana and Granddad’s wedding outside the Church of Ascension in Easington Colliery (the very church where I was Christened ~ and the same town where Billy Elliot was filmed!). The photograph has been on display on the sideboard in the dining room and is getting quite faded. I originally intended just to restore it in black and white (which I did), but then fancied the challenge of making it all colourful.

Nana & Granddad's Wedding

Nanna & Granddad's Wedding Coloured

I love colour correcting photographs as it gets kind of hypnotic ~ especially when you’ve got some nice soothing Yann Tiersen playing in the background. The wedding photograph took quite a long time because of all the detail in it and you have to pretty much go over every pixel to make it look right. For example, with the bouquet of roses my Nana is holding I had to go over every leaf and then go in between the leaves to colour her wedding dress.

I also had to do a bit of research ~ I spoke to my Nana to check that the roses were red, and what colour Granddad’s suit and tie was. Even after all these years she still remembered! I tried to find a photograph of the church but there wasn’t one unfortunately. However I did find some photographs that were taken on the same street and so I used those as a basis for colouring the bricks. The door was a bit of a wild guess and I think it needs altering a bit to get it right!

If you are working on a photograph that has a lot less detail such as the one below of my Mum (or it might be my aunt!) when she was little, it is much easier. The problem is that with more detail there is ~ the more ‘cartoony’ it can become. The photograph of my Nana and Granddad looks much more obviously coloured than the one of my mum (to my eyes anyway!). I think the wedding photograph works okay though ~ the only thing I’m not as happy about are the roses as I couldn’t for the life of me get a faithful colour on them to make them look convincing.

Mum (?) Before

Mum (?) After

I think I might try colouring one of Nancy’s photographs later on today!

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