Restoring Vintage Photos

What’s this?

It’s the next class I’m working on for #GIMP. I’ve done a lot of photo repair and restoration with Photoshop, but I’m rusty with GIMP. The biggest thing you have to work around with #GIMP is the lack of adjustment layers. I never realized how much I relied on them before this.

The lack of adjustment layers is always brought up as a deal-breaker for #GIMP, and I completely agree that they are a fantastic tool to have. At the same time, though, they aren’t the only way to edit a photo.

Working without them has slowed down my process in a good way. It reminds me of shooting with film again (yes, I’m old enough to have shot film before digital, kids). With digital I can shoot off burst after burst of photos until I get what I want; with film I have to slow way down, think about the composition, really think about what the final image will look like and set my camera accordingly.

In this case, I’m working through a sample photo for practice. It’s an old photo from the 50s of my great-grandparents and my grandmother (left). Here’s the before:


And this is the in-progress version:


So there’s still color boosting to do, sharpening, and tweaking. I’m almost finished though. I can’t wait to work this up into a full class; photo restoration and repair is so incredibly rewarding. It takes patience, but when I do a comparison of the before and after, it’s a great feeling to see what I’ve accomplished. Particularly when a photo means as much as this one does.