Lately I have been learning photo restoration from expert Janine Smith, owner artist at Landailyn CPR. Online learning is great; I work through a section or two of the course, and then spend time practicing and getting a little better with each round.
Photoshop Elements 9: Scanning and Restoring Photos is available at Lynda.com, online website offering video training on all kinds of computer software and computer tasks. I've enjoyed Janine's regular feature articles and how-tos in Shades of the Departed Magazine, and am learning even more in the self-paced course.
Original color print, faded and yellowed.
The Brown Family (from left) Arline, Suzanne, Frank, date unknown.
I've been blessed with hundreds of old family photos in all conditions, but most of the images I want to share and reprint for the family need some touch-up work. Since I can't afford to have all the photos professionally repaired and restored, I wanted to learn a few techniques that might help me fix some of the less badly damaged pictures. Janine has obviously worked with more photos than I have in my collection because she knows exactly how to hone in on the major problems with many old photos.
Ta-da! My first attempts at restoring the color to the photo. Much improved.
It's easy to get started at Lynda.com. After registering at the website, I was free to begin viewing any of the online courses. At $25 per month, membership is a bit like an all-you-can-learn buffet. I bookmarked Janine's course so I could get back to it easily, and started with the first section. The course outline describes each segment and lists the video length so you can plan ahead how much time you want to spend on a session. I liked working through at least three or four episodes at a sitting so I could see how they worked together.
I did not opt to purchase the practice files for the course, but had no trouble using my own photos. I found I learned the material best by watching the video through completely, then importing a photo similar to the sample into Elements and working alongside as I played the video again. Online learning used as a working tutorial is a real advantage to old-fashioned classroom instruction.
Janine’s skill as a trainer really shines as she demonstrates how to fix common problems with old family photos. She carefully explains each step, demonstrating with the video as she works to restore the photo. The course outline is clear and well-organized with skills building from easiest to more difficult. Janine has a pleasant speaking voice, and her instructions are direct and clear. I found it helpful to use the pause, and replay buttons when I wanted to make sure I understood all steps of a technique. I also turned on the Closed Captioning feature, and made use of the Transcript feature to check back at the instructions.
The course opens with a section on how to get photos into PSE9. I have used various versions of PS Elements since it’s first days as PS Album, so getting the photos into the progam wasn’t particularly difficult. I did have trouble, however, trying to save my photos and the various edited versions. Fortunately, my month-long membership to Lynda.com gave me access to the PSE9 Essentials course, where I picked up a few file management techniques for the program.
While one major lesson I learned is that photo restoration is a fine craft requiring patience and experience, I also learned that it's a lot of fun and can greatly improved old damaged photographs.
The course covers six essential photo restoration techniques
- Fixing Faded Photos
- Fixing Color Cast
- Removing Dust, Spots, and Texture
- Fixing Damaged and Torn Photos
- Reassemblig a Photo from Pieces
- Repairing Documents
In addition, Janine also demonstrates the Sharing features of PSE9
- Making a photo book
- Making a calendar
- Creating a personalized greeting card
- Making a Windows slideshow
- Creating a unique flyer for your next family reunion
Photoshop Elements 9: Scanning and Restoring Photos with Janine Smith is an excellent introduction to the art and craft of photo restoration. Anyone interested in learning or brushing up on photo restoration techniques with Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 could benefit from this online learning experience.
Available through lynda.com. Membership $25/month.
Disclosure. I purchased my own membership to lynda.com for this course and did not receive any form of compensation for this review.