Can these photos be rescued

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by Lynn Couperthwaite, Feb 15, 2017.

  1. I am completely stupid about photography etc but have this idea that somehow or other the photograph of grandpa's portrait can be fixed.
    I searched the Internet and found this site.
    Please can this photo be fixed? <br><br>
  2. Too difficult.
    Reshoot the pix.

    WARNING, shooting a pix of a photo/painting/etc under glass in a frame is a DIFFICULT task, because of the reflection off the glass.
    Shoot in a DARK room, illuminate the picture from the side (without lighting up the rest of the room), and make sure you CANNOT see any reflection in the pix.
    Better yet, see if you can get the glass removed from the frame, then shoot the pix as above w/o the glass in the frame.
  3. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    These images are obviously very important to you - rather than doing it yourself, have you considered getting them copied at a professional photo lab ?

    They will have had experience in this kind of work, so will be able to provide the best results.

    Good luck anyway.
  4. I guess the first question would be: do you actually own this photo, or is the portrait owned by local cityhall or something similar? If it's yours - as said above, reproduce it (instead of making a copy with a camera, I'd consider using a good flatbed scanner, so that would probably still need to done in a lab). It's hard to assess the actual damage to the print from your photo, so it may need some retouching. Again, probably better to have it done well by a professional.

    If it is not yours, and they cannot give it to you on loan, you'd need to reshoot as Gary suggests, and that's not that easy (so also there you may need a professional).

    Prints can also be restored, but it's more laborious and most likely more costly too.
  5. Thank you for your replies. No the portrait is not mine but it is of grandfather. The portrait is in South Africa and I'm in Australia. I'm told the frame is too delicate for the portrait to be handled or for the portrait to be removed and so when I asked some-one to go photograph it for me - the photo was taken through the glass. Thanks again for your troubles in attempt to help me..
  6. Perhaps you could at least ask your contact in South Africa to attempt another photo with a better camera that is capable of "RAW" images and heeds the suggestions made previously here regarding reflections, lighting, etc ... Once you obtain another shot, find someone with Photoshop skills. If the bad reflections shown here are minimized (the carpet, the cell phone, etc ...) then they should be able to provide you with a basic copy of your grandfather. It will never be perfect but at least you will have something to remember him by.
  7. Gup

    Gup Gup

    Untitled-1.jpg Lynn, it depends on how critical you are going to be of the reconstruction. I have done one or two for my own purposes, and am in no way an expert, but with less than 10 minutes in PS I was able to change the portrait to this.
  8. Gup
    You are WAY better at PS editing than I am.
    The carpet texture on the coat does not look bad either. Sort of like a camel hair jacket.
    Well done.
  9. Gup

    Gup Gup

    Thanks, Gary. It would have been nice of the OP to have acknowledged the effort.
  10. I do apologise for not replying. I've been out and about working so what a lovely surprise I got when I returned.
    Gup, Oh! Gosh! This is soooo fantastic! A Million massive big THANK YOUs.
  11. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    The quality that you can attain in the reconstruction is primarily dependent upon the quality that you can get in the copy file - and to get good quality in the copy file you need better than what you got from your friend or family member - so if the reconstruction is important to you, then consider a copy being made by a professional photographer in South Africa, especially one who is familiar and experienced in Photo Restorations.

    Upon attaining that file, you could proceed to reconstruct the image yourself, or pay someone to do it for you - if you intend to pay someone, logically the Photographer who made the copy in SA would come into contention for that task.

    The next element in the process, is to choose the mode/genre in which you want the copy to be made and also the purpose/uses of the copy(ies): for example if the copy is to be made into a Print, then the size of the print is a consideration (as is the typical Viewing Distance) - in general terms to bigger the print the more detail you need in the copy file and the more work in the reconstruction process. On the other hand if you want copies to distribute to family for computer viewing, then you could make a good fist of a reconstruction from the sample file already sent to you.

    When I mention "genre" I mean the photographic style of the final reconstruction - just as one example of nuances of photographic style note that Gup's reconstruction has a range of grey tones and in so doing shows texture of the Suit Coat.

    This reconstruction tends more toward how the original PRINT probably would have appeared, when it was first framed around 1920:

    James G. Dainis likes this.
  12. Ray House

    Ray House Ray House

    Another example of what can be done... port-fix.jpg
  13. Michael & Ray
    I can't thank you enough. What you've done goes way beyond what I was anywhere near to or hoping to achieve. I'm sure my family will be so thrilled to meet their great grandfather. Eternally grateful .. . . THANK YOU
  14. Gup

    Gup Gup

    • Lynne, you're back! I thought we'd lost you.
    • How large is the original file sent to you? (the pixel count on both sides) Before posting my reconstructed effort I downsized the shot and didn't keep the original.
    • Did you downsize it before posting it here? If so, I could work on it again from the original file 'off-site' if you'd like. You can message me privately here if you'd like to talk about that. I love helping Aussies. ;)
  15. 4032 X 3024 X 2.02MB
    I really do appreciate all you people did to help me. Marvelous results are way, way better than I could ever have hoped for and none I like more than the others. All absolutely Fantastic / Fabulous. All keepers. BUT I have been warned that I have overstepped the mark by requesting help on a photo I didn't take - I don't wish to cause any trouble. Sooooooo Big THANKS to all again. I love all of you! Cheers!
  16. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Moderator Note:
    That seems strange. Quite possibly there is a misunderstanding as the assistance you asked for was certainly not overstepping any mark and it caused no trouble.

    If you seek clarification on these points, please contact me by replying to the conversation that I have sent to you.

    thank you,

    Tony Parsons likes this.
  17. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    I'm sure the original photo would have been out of copyright and in public domain, free for anyone to use. Copying that photo would have been okay. I'm not too sure if taking a picture of the photo so it includes the frame would make a new photo that would be under copyright. It sounds like you asked someone to take the photo for you and send it to you. You could ask him if it is all right with him to have someone clean it up for you. I really don't see any problem.
    William Michael likes this.
  18. Gup

    Gup Gup

    • Lynne, it is true here at we don't allow the posting of any photos that you don't have copyright of. However, a simple note from whomever sent you the photo stating their permission would be all you need if you wished to pursue a more professional result.
    • I don't recall if you mentioned who took the shot for you. I was thinking it was a friend or acquaintance that was visiting South Africa at the time but maybe it was an employee of the gallery where the original photo is hanging? If it was an employee then it probably wouldn't be too much of an imposition to request they take another for you. If so, ask that the shot be taken more squarely to the original, as opposed to off on an angle, and without the flash engaged. Don't be shy. I've always believed in, 'nothing ventured, nothing gained' with these kinds of decisions.
    • If it was a visiting friend then I guess they won't be able to retake the shot but would have no trouble granting you the permission to do as you see fit with the one you have.
    • Good Luck!
  19. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Moderator Note:

    For clarity of the rules/guidelines at

    The Terms of Use and User Guidelines prohibit any User/Member posting an image that they did not MAKE themselves.

    These guidelines are irrespective of who has the copyright holding on the image or whether or not the person who did make the image gives permission for others to use the image.

    Sometimes slight leeway is provided for other members to post in the thread an edited version of an image, so to display editing techniques, but that is usually only if editing of an image is the topic of the thread - which is what happened in this thread.

    Reading James' comments in Post #17 carefully, one notes that he refers to the image probably being in the Public Domain, so copying the image probably would have been OK - but that is a different matter to the image being POSTED in a thread at

    One method to allow other members to view an image not made by the OP, is for the Original Poster to provide a LINK to the image and thus, not display the image in-line in the thread.

    Members might note that the image Lynn posted in this thread was removed a few days ago and a link was provided to that image: the same action happened on the other thread that Lynn began "Flash Glare".

    These actions were provided because it appeared obvious that Lynn, as a new User of, innocently breached the Terms of Use of the Site.

    What we do not want is:
    a) confusion as to what the terms of use are - exactly
    b) a discussion about the terms of use

    What we do want is: Lynn to understand that she has caused no problem whatsoever.

    I encourage Lynn to respond to my conversation that I sent to her, if she requires any further guidance or explanation.

    James G. Dainis likes this.
  20. Back again from the 'bush'
    Thank you to Michael, James and GUP.
    Sorry Michael I did misunderstand your first mail to me and also for the breaching of the terms - thank you for pointing me in the right direction. The portrait is/was owned by the city council and a family member took the photo. I would have settled for the photo as it was but....... (You'll probably hate this!) on telly :) the CSI labs always have a fixer up solution so I hoped the same could be done for my photos - hence I went on the Internet hoping to find anything/something to make a small improvement. I have seen what my nieces have done playing or demonstrating to me with photoshop but it appeared they are just beginners. I did ask but was told that it would take simply patience and artwork to repair. What you have done for me is way, way beyond what I was thinking could be done. Thank you!

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