How can I improve this photo?

Chew Toy McCoy

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My grandmothers, both passed, taken many years ago. That’s the best I could do with AI suggested settings and slight adjustments from there but still a lot of room for improvement. The faces are still way too pale and overexposed.
 

Yoused

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I put it in a simple iPad app (Photo Editor-) and played with sliders. The thing that seemed to improve it the most, IMHO, was turning the contrast down, which seems like the opposite of what I would expect.

6124B25D-4E18-4C28-983E-C2C2B6674092.jpeg
 

Thomas Veil

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I consider myself skilled (but not nearly a pro) at Photoshop, so I played around with curves adjustments and got this. I was able to put a little more color and contrast in the faces and tone down that awful bluish haze behind the ladies.

It's tough because as you found out, you're trying to recover detail that's barely there. I can only hope that this turned out better than one of those religious paintings that amateurs ruin while trying to "restore" it.

27A420CE-D360-4104-9174-B74BDC271889H.jpg
 

Clix Pix

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I'm keeping hands off this because retouching is not in my skill set -- I manage to get the basics done and that's about it.

This is quite a challenging image given that it was probably shot with flash and overexposed, In any event, looks as though Thomas Veil is getting closer to the mark here.....

They look like two very nice ladies and of course you want a decent photo of your two grandmothers together!
 

thekev

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With my own further attempts this seems like a job that is going to involve some masking and regional adjusts, even just between the 2 faces. Doing it photo wide there is a lot of improving one area of the photo but then ruining another.

Thanks for the attempts and advice!

What application are you using? I can tell you this stuff is much easier if you have a graphics tablet, especially one large enough so that your hand motion invokes a similar amount of cursor motion. If you're using a mouse, make sure any acceleration is turned off. You may need to adjust its sensitivity as well.

The color pallet is a bit weird here. Ignoring the under-exposure, the reds are still quite saturated.

My thoughts are that you probably need a few things. Toning down the exposure on the faces won't work with a typical brightness adjustment. You'll need something akin to channel mixer in photoshop to start with. You'll need to make some regional adjustments to the faces to bring back depth as well, if you want it to look good. Otherwise you will most likely just end up saturating them.

If you do any work on the faces, you'll need to be careful to mask out the lips. They're already quite saturated and probably limited in detail.

I would probably ignore the shadow portions that are completely gone. You can balance them to a slightly more neutral black if you like, but you should avoid making them look too processed.

Note that if the information just isn't there, some of this kind of work becomes a bit illustrative in the sense that you end up repainting shadows and things. That's considerably more difficult.
 

Apple fanboy

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27A420CE-D360-4104-9174-B74BDC271889.jpeg


My grandmothers, both passed, taken many years ago. That’s the best I could do with AI suggested settings and slight adjustments from there but still a lot of room for improvement. The faces are still way too pale and overexposed.
Not an easy task. Had a play in LR. I think I prefer the sepia look as it seems appropriate vintage.
27A420CE-D360-4104-9174-B74BDC271889-2.jpg

27A420CE-D360-4104-9174-B74BDC271889.jpg
 
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Chew Toy McCoy

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Not an easy task. Had a play in LR. I think I prefer the sepia look as it seems appropriate vintage.
27A420CE-D360-4104-9174-B74BDC271889-2.jpg

27A420CE-D360-4104-9174-B74BDC271889.jpg


Sorry for the delayed response, one of those read it but will respond later and then didn't respond situations. The sepia one does look better.

I saw a photoshop tut awhile back for fixing overexposed photos that involved creating a layer with a negative of the same image and then blending the 2 together to get more detail. That's the short version. There was a lot of other steps in there as well.
 
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Chew Toy McCoy

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Used Faststone Image viewer to adjust the light and color. It's hard to adjust their faces and keep the background intact.




27A420CE-D360-4104-9174-B74BDC271889F.jpeg

Looks pretty good. I think also part of the issue is the original was scanned at not so great quality and then printed on a not so great printer and then I iPhone scanned that printout. I used the Photomyne app which is pretty great for scanning old photos with your iPhone but not so great it's going to fix the previous 2 subpar steps.
 
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