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Colorizing/Color Correction

Contents of this page: 

Creative or Partial Coloring

Sepia Tone Demonstration What is sepia tone?

Total Coloring

Colorizing and Decorating with Photos

Albumen Gelatin Silver Repair

A Generation of Damage Photographs Color Correction and Repair

Understanding Digital Color Issues

Uneven Exposures

Scanning photos that are embedded in or mounted on something? There is only one and you wish you could share it?  Well....if we can scan it... we can restore the image and you can have copies to share.

Tintypes that darken with age can be lighten and enhanced.

Sometimes "Black and White Is Better" or preferred, see for yourself!


Creative or Partial Coloring

A black and white film was used by mistake but this moment  was salvaged.  Even if they were satisfied with the black and white you can see the original still needed professional retouching.






These are the originals, yellow, dark and damaged.



These are restored only. Meaning the damage of yellowing has been removed or color corrected.  The damage of darkening over time has been enhanced and damage of tears wrinkles or stains have been removed. Also standard sizes achieved.



Colorizing photos from a black and white era is a preference, not everyone cares for it.  It depends on what you are trying to achieve with them. It also depends on how much money you want to spend and what's it worth to you to see them in color.  These are restored and colorized.  It's important that they be colorize at the same time so that the color of the three match as a group.


Submitted by Roberto of San Diego

Restoring an image just as it is, is special and sometimes kicking it up a notch with color or a different background is better!





















Do you have a portrait photograph of your dog?  Look for some like these to include in your family tree or create a special place in your scrapbook or wall.

Visit "Pet Portraits"






Circa 1960. Get ideas from greeting cards on how you would like your photo colored. Makes a very sentimental gift. See custom gifts.








Circa, 1945. Refrigerator magnets are fun and easy to recreate yourself. Have the photo restored and mount it yourself to a sheet magnet you can find in any craft store like Micheal's.






Adding creative or partial coloring is less expensive than coloring every detail..





The cost of some completely colored images are kept down because of the simplicity of the image. This photo had very little details and the dress actually stayed the same because the client said the dress was silver, how fortunate!


Taken in the famous, Waldolf Astoria Hotel in New York City, Circa 1950. Colorized and glare removed.









Circa 1950. Removed fade, colored birthday girl and the mischievous brother that would be hard to notice if it weren't for the coloring, cropped and enlarged.

Total Colorizing


Circa 1925. Even after restoring the crack and turning it to a black and white, this American flag was barely visible. Coloring it made it much more interesting. 

See a puzzle of this photo. in custom gifts!

There were few objects to color.

Grass, trees, blue sky, white clothes and the color of the flag.


Repairs AND total coloring. The more details to color the longer it takes, you know that old adage. "Time is Money".



Mantel and logs

Flower pot and plant

Lamp and shade

Skin and hair

details on Clothes 

Lips, cheeks.


Window, curtains.




This tiny photo (1 1/2 x 1 1/2)  benefited by coloring so that you could see it better. If a tiny photo is in focus it can be enlarged to see it better along with colorizing.  When it is not in focus and enlarge you will be able to see that it is not in focus.  When it was small the fact that it was out of focus was not obvious.


Sepia Tone Demonstration


What is sepia tone? 


In the 1880s, sepia was created by adding pigment to a photograph.  The word sepia came from a component of the pigment, a sepia cuttlefish. This chemical process made the photo much more resistant to deterioration over time. This is why old photographs are sepia toned and have survived until today. Sepia tone and black and white images were printing method but today they are used to give a softness and vintage feel. 

This definition is as simple as we can make it, for our clients. In general our clients are not techy and want a general understanding without a whole lot of reading.  If you would like very technical terms and explanations of what sepia tone is made from and alike, simply do a search for sepia tone and enjoy the reading.

This is the original photo used to create a Tintype effect in the photos below.  Adding sepia tone with image editing software helps to blend away uneven or blotching problems with vintage photographs or having fun like this one.



The following photographs are samples of what is thought of as Sepia Tones or Monochromatic.


What many people call black and white, are not, they are shades of the same color. The only one that comes close to the description of black and white is actually the grayscale.


A monochromatic image is one whose range of colors consists of shades of a single color or hue.  Monochrome images in neutral colors are also known as grayscale or black & white.






Coloring/Decorating with Photos




Collect a subject you enjoy and restore them.  Group them together like these baby photos.  Go directly to Decorating with Photos under "Custom Gifts" from here.












Even if you don't need restoration of your family photographs, you may consider colorizing and enlarging them to decorate with, making a great conversation piece. Some people make cards out of them to mail at reunion parties or the holiday season. 



























Circa 2000. There are many reasons to change the color of a photo.  Grey tones and slight coloring to the skin to coordinate with an antique silver frame is one.  Then there is the matter of shape. It's not as simple as just cutting the photo to fit the frame.   





This moon photo was restored then colored and enlarged but if you notice even the stars have been re-arranged to make a more balanced pleasing photo.  The stars were crowded around their heads.

















To display a not so attractive photo by bringing it up to date or doing something cute with it.


See an example of a color painting improved by turning into a black and white. 



Albumen/Gelatin Silver Correction

1900 Gelatin Silver typical yellowing and foxing. When a photo is this yellowed some may say "it appears to have very little damage. However that is not the case. 


Can you just remove the yellow and it's okay"? Most of the time photos like these, fall into the badly damaged category and here is why.










Here is the same photo with yellow removed and now you can see what damage needs to be repaired.













Restored, cropped and sepia tone added











Totally colorized and sky added.










Sometimes a photograph can be brought back by doing one adjustment to the entire photograph and yet in other photographs some the first routine adjustments don't produce much results and then all the details must be worked on individually to get a good result.  Making this restoration very time consuming.






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A Generation of Ruined Photographs  late 1960s through early 1970
















Color Correction. Circa 1960's.  Restored color. An era of photos ruined due to industry experimentation with unstable photographic chemical processes. 



























Submitted by Rosalind Heaps






After taking a photo with a Polaroid camera you had to swipe it with a chemical to stabilize it and if you did not put enough on, like this one, the parts that had insufficient chemical faded away.  As  you can see we managed to salvage it!




Understanding Digital Color Issues  


A Good Candidate for Color Correction, means that you would be happy with the end results of a color correction or conversion.  Answer these simple questions to find out by adding up 

How realistic should Skin Tone be? 

1) just so it's not freaky   

2) falls into a natural range   

3) Close to reality as possible

1 2 3
Your photo's color had faded. Would you mind converting to monotones? For example, turning it into a black and white or some color sepia tone.

1) would it be okay to apply a sepia tone to save money  

2) it would be okay to sepia tone most of the photo and color just the focal points of the photo. 

3) I insist on color, even if color didn't exist at that time.

1 2 3
How important is exact color of specific items. 


1) don't care

2) can't decide

3) very important

1 2 3
How important is eye color. Viewing the photo from 5-10 feet away, mounted on a wall.


1) satisfied with close resemblance. 

2)  it doesn't matter, but should be same hue 

3) must be just how I remember them

1 2 3
Besides the faded color, is the image faded too?

1) a little bit   2) much of it  3) most of it.

1 2 3

Rate what level of coloring improvement could you live with?.  

1) better than what I have  

2) greatly improve  

3) like it was taken yesterday

1 2 3
You would be satisfied with the results, if you score 3 or 6. 

You would not be satisfied with the results of colorizing if you scored 9. 


Very Satisfied




To understand color correction in photo restoration with Image Editing Software you need to understand Color Perception



Understanding Color Issues

When bringing back the color to these faded photos, your expectation of color is subjective.  What one person calls cherry red, someone else calls orange.  What color is on your screen and what color comes out on your paper are different.  You will never achieve the exact color you remember.  There are many reasons why coloring in a photo are subjective.  Just to name a few, there is the influence of the color lighting in a studio or outdoors, even the color of the clothing worn effects the coloring of the skin or eyes.  It is very difficult to tell the true color of someone's eyes in a photo and really doesn't matter when the photo is on a wall 5 feet away, you get the idea.

The objective to coloring these types of photos are to be able to display again, not necessarily to match your remembrance or obtain perfect skin or eye color.  The essence of the person is still captured.






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Skin Tones is another area that is expected to be met with some clients and it is not possible.  Satisfaction depends on your expectations, understand of the technology of image editing.



Restoring the Color to Tintypes 


Tintypes brought back to life. If you can see something, there is hope as you can now see.  Results vary with each photograph depending on the degree of deterioration and under or over development. 











Circa 1930. Removed yellowing, repaired fine cracks and added slight sepia tone.





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Applying contrast improves the coloring.







Circa 1911. Developed from glass negatives. Removed fade, add sepia and enhanced individual subjects.








Circa 1950. Removed yellowing, writing, and small crack.






Uneven Exposure






Circa 1912.  Half the photo is over exposed because of the day light and the other half under exposed because of shade. Each half was color adjusted to meet the other so the exposure appears even.





Circa 1890's. Darkened over exposed areas.

Circa 1930. repair cloudy bottom half and enlarged.

Scanning Photos That are Embedded or On Surfaces

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Circa 1922. If it can be can be restored. The original was an orange yellow fading on a ceramic round button with an oval surface and about 3 inches wide by a 1/2 inch thick. We corrected the color and make it a 5x7.



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This image is the original scan of a paper weight.  You can see the beveled edge with chips in it.  Scanning it enables the owner to share it with family members.



This image has been enhanced and can be taken a step further by adding more details to the dresses, upgrading it to a higher level of restoration.





Painted Photographs

Our desire for color shows in colored tintypes and cabinet cards of the 1800's and it was very popular in 1930's and 40's to paint photographs.  too.  They may or may not have been pleased with the results at the time but once done to the original they had to live with it, if they didn't have the negative.  Now with digital restoration you don't have to live with it, or without the negative.













It is a lot less expensive to simply remove color than to add it.

Sometimes black and white is better than colorizing.

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Genealogy Corner 

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Search for relatives in rescued photo albums with full names!


Read about the value of photographs.


Learn what decade a photo was taken?



Photo Dating Service


Be An



It's a huge mistake to choose a restoration service based on price or distance from your home alone.


Compare apples to apples.

(read pros and cons of each)







Image Editing

Price Wars 

(a must read!)

Lets talk about a photo restoration costing only $29.99. The old adage,

"You get what you pay for" still applies.



Bulk Rates



Custom Gift Ideas

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Before and After Military Restorations






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Always a work in progress, please visit often. We apologist for any long periods between entries some times medical issues prevail.

 Rev. 06/23/2017






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