Photo Enhancement & Creative Imagery


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Reconstructing A Photo With What's Left

Posted on February 23, 2015 at 2:10 PM

Photos having sentimental value are high on the list of ones that should be repaired and restored.  The image shown below (or rather what was left of it) meant a lot to the client and her family even though she had other photos of her father that were in better shape.  At first glance I was a little concerned, but upon closer inspection, I realized it was a basic outdoor park scene without any specific or recognizable landmarks, and that most of the main subject was still there. 

I considered using a scenic background from another source, but then decided to try to adapt the trees, the sky and the grass that already existed.  Portions of these were copied, manipulated to look slightly different, and then pieced together to create and fill in, while trying to avoid any tell-tale repetitions.  I did need to "borrow" the foreground grass from another photo in order to center the portrait a little bit better.  After careful blending the result was a believable background that combined with the original fragment to create a 5 x 7 frame-worthy photo.  The client loved it!

Changing Relationship History - Removing People

Posted on November 25, 2014 at 10:05 PM

There's an (over) abundance of photographs all over the internet that have been altered to remove an unwanted person.  Some results are good, you would never even know they had been in the picture in the first place.  BUT some "fixes" end up badly composed with odd arrangements.  For example, take the following reenactments below based on actual "retouching" as seen on the web:


Prom Date Before and After:


It's clear there's something missing in the "restored" version.  Who says the photo has to remain the original dimensions and size?  Why have prom guy all by his lonesome off to the side when you can just crop the date out and turn it into a portrait?  Now the big question, why does mom not like her? 


Wedding Party Before:



Wedding Party After:



If this one's absolutely necessary (and who am I to judge the removal of a bride in an obvious wedding portrait?), I would think that eliminating the negative space by bringing the other people closer together would have been a help.  How about making separate, smaller pictures instead? 

Of course, there are photos that benefit from extracting someone.  Maybe it's unflattering, it could be only a portion of the person, or you might want to feature the other as more of a formal portrait.  The trick is to create a finished picture that doesn't look obviously tampered with or leave the viewer with unanswered questions.

Removing a person and recreating the background isn't cheap or quick, especially if it's done right.  In many of the samples, the backgrounds didn't line up and some were left with weird spotting.  When having retouching done, it's important to think about all available options and know that you're not limited to the restrains of the original photograph. 

Enter to Win Your Own Cartoon-ized Photo!

Posted on September 9, 2014 at 9:10 AM


A big thanks to Facebook friends who have liked my page and visited my website!

NRSMDesigns will randomly pick one person to receive a comicbook stylized digital image made out of your own photo (a service soon to be offered on my website!). Enter by commenting on this Facebook post - winner chosen Friday!

This sweepstakes has ended Make sure you "like" NRSMDesigns to be notified of upcoming giveaways, contests, and for some vintage photo fun!

Like me on Facebook here!

Tell It Like It Was - Peeling Paint

Posted on June 2, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Old photos often hold visual clues of how life really was, and it usually wasn't perfect.  Unless you're planning to turn a picture into a formal portrait, I say leave in the laundry, the weeds, and even the peeling, flaking paint! 

The photo below shows my dad in his walker (or is it a riding lawnmower?).  I could "repaint" the house, but in 1949 the house was lived in.  When I look at this picture, after I fixed the scratches, ink marks, and creases, I think of my grandparents raising four kids in house built at the turn of the century.  A house that still faces the Upstate NY winters - except now it has vinyl siding.

Restoration Video - New Background

Posted on January 30, 2014 at 4:15 PM

It's important when replacing a background on a photograph for it to blend seamlessly and look like it could have been part of the original, matching both tone and texture.  Many times I see "restorations" where the subject appears to have been "cut out" and "pasted" bringing visions of scrapbooking to mind.

Check out how Uncle Hip's WWII Army Air Force Portrait looks with a new background!

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