Add colour to B&W or remove colours to enhance a photo.

Family photo restoration

Family photo restoration 1970’s

They say no pain no gain. Never thought of that saying relating to restoring a photograph but I sure do now.
I had a visit from two lovely ladies who presented this photo to me asking if I could repair it. At first glance it looked moderately simple though on closer inspection it looked a bit of a nightmare. Many strange marks developed after apparently being under glass for perhaps 30 years or more. Looking at the marks I suspect they were caused by frequently cleaning the photo frame which may have moved the picture slightly over time.
family photo restoration showing damage and scan lines.


The damage was exacerbated when I scanned it in. It wasn’t possible to remove it from the cardboard backing which meant the scanner light created reflections all over the photo. So I had to dig into my bag of tricks and pull out a great macro that I’ve had for a while now.
It worked very well getting rid of all the reflections and also some of the small lighter marks.


The arms and legs on this family photo restoration presented a real task for me but with lots of patience, care and attention, I was able to clear most of it away.
Stains and scratches are pretty simple for me to erase yet marks like these in the photo took a lot more time.


Family photo restoration fully complete and ready for colourising.


Family photo restoration complete.
This is the end result, very much liked and appreciated by my customer which is the most important thing.
All it needs now is some colour. I love to add a little colour if the photo begs for it and this one screamed at me for that little extra touch.





So the family photo restoration is now complete and looking much more happy with the added colour. Looks great to me so I hope you readers like it too.

Royton Ginnel gang

Royton Ginnel gang, Spring Garden St.

These five youngsters including Harry Green, Jim Duxbury and Ron Allen are posing in the back passageway off Spring Garden St, Royton. The photo will go into my collection of old photos from my hometown Royton. I have a long term project of restoring all the old photos I can get my hands on and in most cases will colourise them and perhaps put them to disc later.
I have three photos of these particular cheeky kids but the other two require quite a lot of restoration before I can add any colour to them. I understand that they belong to a gentleman who does a lot of research on his family tree and who kindly gave me permission to use them. I hope he will be pleasantly surprised when I send these colour versions back to him. His name incidentally is Collin Wood and you can find his blog here should you wish to read some of his memoirs from Royton.
The photo didn’t require too much restoration and I do like to leave a certain amount of oldness to pictures that I repair. The colouring is never easy but I think this will end up as one of those iconic photos of Royton like the Ginnel Band I restored some time back.

Royton Ginnel Gang Spring Garden St.


An iconic photo from Royton's Spring Garden St.

School Photo

School Photo, Eustace St, Chadderton.

Eustace St School c1959A customer recently sent an old School Photo in for Restoration and Colourising. To my surprise it was one from ‘my’ old school and even more incredible, I was in it.
The picture was taken around 1959 in the yard of Eustace St junior school and was an annual event that got all the mothers combing your hair in the hope that you would look nice. Might sound great but having your mother brushing out knots, licking her hand to flatten anything out of place and making you change your underwear made you feel so uncool. Why the change of underwear, never understood till I had a son of my own. Anyway, the problem was soon resolved once out of eyesight by running your hand through your hair and diving through a few hedges. Peeing your pants was an option too but I passed on that one.
I hope they still take yearly form school photos, very sad if they don’t because looking back on them always brings back happy memories and wonderment.

The restoration of this School Photo was quite easy, just a few creases and stains to remove and bump up the contrast. Colourising was a little more intense as you can imagine. So many people and lots of clothing to colour. I have some tricks I use to do this kind of thing but you have to make the colours as authentic as possible. The red brick colour was taken from the original school and some of the children’s clothes are from my memory. How I remember them I have no idea.
The work on this photo and anything similar would be as little as £10.00 – £15.00, hope you like it.

The Memories I’ve recalled from this photo are as follows:

John Stott – 1st left back row. In our days you had one, maybe two bad families. John was part of a really bad one which was known as probably the filthiest on the estate. They were evicted from their house with all their belongings dumped on the footpath. Two workmen passed out with the stench, partially due to the kids climbing up to the front window and peeing down the glass. The next set of council guys had to wear breathing apparatus.
Peter Wood – 6th from left back row. Out and out Walter Mitty. He would have you believe it was raining right in the middle of a heat wave. An old mate from Friends Reunited says he met him recently and advised me that he was still the same.
Michael Booth – 3rd left middle row. Tallest lad in school even from the infant section. I do not exaggerate when I say he had a penis at least 12″ long and the girth was equally striking. Gentlest guy you could meet unless enraged by the rest of the school wanting to see it or wanting a donkey ride.
David Platt – 8th from left middle row. Poor guy lost the end of his finger whilst swinging on the school gate. One lad had the sense to pick it up and run after him to the headmaster. I recall it was successfully grafted back on.
Christine Dawson – 1st left front row. Wowza! You didn’t really notice girls till you got to the senior school but this one I remember as being pretty striking. I’m betting she grew up totally gorgeous.
Linda Verity – 4th from left first row. Really nice chubby girl always had a smile on her face. Her parents owned a Fruit and Veg shop where we occasionally got presented with an apple each so long as he considered them unsellable.
Mystery lad – Seated at the front right. We were all fairly poor back then but have you noticed he’s wearing wellies on a summers day. Hell his feet must have ponged after several hours at school.


Crompton and Shaw

Crompton Park, Shaw, Oldham.

As with many Victorian townships Crompton has it’s own community park, most likely donated by a local dignitary during the cotton boom in the mid-19th century, and still a much favoured part of the town.
Speaking of which, to ensure that the woollen trade was kept buoyant, a law existed from 1675 to 1814 to encourage Shaw and Crompton’s wool production. It required that the deceased were to be buried in woollen garments. Business made some laws then just as it does today, or am I being cynical?

Back to the park – One of the most popular facilities within Crompton park was the paddling pool. Just about everyone took their children there to play and splash around, particularly in the 50’s and 60’s. An odd thing though, photos of the paddling pool are very rare indeed as locals seem not to realise how important their own history is to the community. It’s mainly thanks to Facebook that people have started to donate their photos so others can enjoy the past, and that’s where this lovely photo came from.
I restored it to a modest level leaving enough of that 50’s look to keep it’s charm. After researching ‘Bubble swimwear’, very popular at the time and ripe for jokes, I added some colour. I like to do this as it adds some impact and certainly gives the viewer the proper memory they have of the day. People didn’t walk around in black and white so why not assist their memories with a little colour.

Crompton Park paddling pool WMThis is the original photo and I guess you can see it’s reaching that point  where it seriously needs some love and affection.
The borders are a big giveaway in as much that they will show the first signs of deterioration simply because they are meant to be white.
So this is where Photo Restore stepped in.



Crompton paddling pool c1950'sThis is as far as I restored it and I hope you think it’s nice to look at.
I rarely do full colour unless asked to do so. It can spoil a B&W picture if you put too much colour in so this has what I call a splash colour.
The wall, pavement, swimwear and skin tones are all authentic colours. I doubt the water would have reflected as much blue that I have added, but it’s created just the right balance I think.



Colour desaturation

Colour desaturation for a free Christmas present.

I‘m currently running a chance for people to get free work from Photo Restore. I am amazed how reluctant people are to take up this free offer but understand people always think there’s a catch. Ok I am already well known to undercharge for my work so a freebie sounds to good to be true. The point is that I love doing this work and as it gets really close to Christmas my workload reduces as people realise there may not be enough time to have a photo restored. Offering a freebie gives me something to do, good practice for me and gets me a little extra notice from the world at large.

The lady that contacted me asked if I could do a colour desaturation on a photo she had. No problem I said, just send it over and I’ll discuss it further with you so that we were reading from the same book.
After viewing the picture I suggested a few more bubbles and perhaps a colour tint in the little girls top. It’s a bit odd doing a colour desaturation when a huge chunk of the subject is already white so the lady agreed and was very pleased with the outcome. In fact her comment was that it looked fabulous and was to be framed and mounted on her wall.

What do you think?

colour desaturation