Restoring an 1870s photograph  JUN 30 2011

A photo restorer walks through the process of restoring a tintype photograph from the 1870s.

My standard operating procedure is to use an ultra-high resolution camera combined with a top-of-the-line macro lens to photograph tintypes. I use strobe lights to illuminate the artwork. Strobes produce "hard" light, much like the sun on a clear day. In addition to the strobes, I place a polarizer over the camera lens and polarizer gels over the strobe lights. This eliminates all reflections and enables the camera to pick up a greater tonal range along with more detail.

1870s retouch

The original photo is on the left and an intermediate step on the right; you'll need to click through to see the finished product.

Update: This is a better restoration...the one above is too airbrushed, like the photo on the cover of a fashion magazine.

Read more posts on kottke.org about:
photography   Photoshop

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