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OPR Restoration "Philosophy"

Started by c141heaven, July 16, 2016, 01:06:12 PM

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I'm new, as of today. I've browsed around for general guidelines and found some technical guidelines about resolution, colorspace, size, etc. 

My question is about the approach to take when doing restoration of certain portions of a damaged photo. In looking through some of the photos here it seems in almost all cases the subjects of the photo (snapshots of kids and family, school portraits, weddings, etc.) are the people.  Quite often, the backgrounds seem inconsequential to the most important part of the lost" memories (the people). Now if it's a Christmas tree or the family dining table or cozy fireplace, that's one thing, but if it is a chain link fence, maybe not so much. 

Likewise, in a studio portrait setting, such as a school photo, there's usually a non-descript background, typically cloudy shadows or textures. While it would be somewhat arbitrary, assuming the restorer could determine a proper color balance for the person/their clothing, and it turned out that a "better" color (due to the person's skin tone or clothing color, or whatever) for such a background could be found, should it be tweaked or left alone?  Thinking of all the portraits I've ever been part of or seen, I can't remember the background color on a single one of them.

I'm not talking about Photoshopping out an 'ex' or removing (or adding) elements.

What is the "approved" approach to take on issues like these?   


Hi C141heaven,

Great to have you on the OPR Forum and thanks for asking. If you will notice to the right hand column is the "Technique's Handbook" (must be signed in) and on page 7 expresses what we allow and what we don't. I realize that it is a humorous comparison but it does set our guidelines. The first six pages will show you different ways to color correct. Page 7 below.

1. We want the background restored unless it is impossible and even then ask your distributor or post to the forum your original photo and your WIP. Our purpose is to restore rather than retouch. Yes, it is more work.

2. A studio portrait or a school photo needs to be restored as close to what it was originally. Typically studio photos have a commercial backdrop and it looks better to keep that. I will try to find some another post showing how to do this.

3. The question of determining a proper color balance for the person/their clothing--refer to the Technique's Handbook. The first thing you are going to do is color balance. That will color correct the entire photo. Only rarely do we start tweaking individual items in a photo and then it is do bring back the original--not to make it what we think might look better . I don't even want to think what a Pandora's Box it would be if everyone started playing with what they thought would be a better color to match the person's skin, clothing, etc. We our here to restore the original. What is important is that the people do have their originals and they are able to tell that we didn't try to recreate something that wasn't there.

Post any photo you are working on a we will help you with any questions you might have.


"carpe diem"

Margie Hayes
OPR President
[email protected]