A good restoration can make damaged or faded photos look as good as new – if not better than the original images. But not everyone can do a proper photo restoration
– it requires a keen eye, attention to detail, and an artistic sensibility.
The same skills that photo restorers use to breathe new life into old images are also the qualities of a great artist. In fact, learning how to repair photos can make you better at your chosen artistic pursuit.
Whether you’re a painter, a drawer, or even a sculptor, here are some of the lessons you can learn from photo restoration to improve your own art.
Learn The Importance Of Good Lighting
One of the most frequent issues that crop up in photo restoration is poor lighting – many old photos can have sections that are too dark or overexposed. A skilled digital restorer will work to correct image contrast, increase lighting in the right sections, and allow certain details to “pop” more clearly.
By restoring photos, you can learn about lighting and how to properly render it – fundamental skills for every artist. You’ll also learn how to adjust the highlight and shadow levels of a photo to draw the viewer’s eye to a specific focal point.
Improve Your Understanding Of Color
The right colors can set the mood for artwork and photographs alike. Some photos look better with cooler tones, while others are much better when rendered in warm shades. Others look most dramatic when done in sepia or black and white. Of course, it all depends on the story you want to tell.
Photo restoration not only brings lost details back to treasured family images, but it can also alter or improve upon the original photos. By changing the color balance during photo repair, you’ll see firsthand how the right tones and colors can create a drastically different image or mood. This will help you in selecting the right shades and hues for your own artwork.
Make More Realistic Work
Photo restoration often involves restoring detail to faded or heavily damaged images – it takes a lot of skill to restore the details of a water-damaged face or background.
Even the keenest of eyes will have to spend a lot of time ensuring that the restoration work looks as realistic as possible. Any restorations or repairs should not only be accurate and realistic, but they should be seamless as well.
Poor photo restoration is often the result of failing to render realistic details. As you learn to restore details pixel by pixel, you will also learn how even small technique changes can make your art look more natural.
Grasp Composition Better
Many artists are familiar with the “rule of thirds” – you break your image into nine equal blocks, helping you identify where to create tension and place detail. This grid is created by intersecting two parallel horizontal lines with two parallel vertical lines.
According to this rule, details are best highlighted when they’re placed at the intersections of this imaginary grid. However, many old family photos may not necessarily follow this rule, resulting in an imbalanced photo.
Image restorers often have to recreate backgrounds or crop images to create more dramatic or energetic images. By learning how to alter background details, sizes, or angles, an old photo can be given new life – not just as a memento, but also as an art piece that adds depth and color to your home. Similarly, artists can learn from photo restorers how to compose their subjects and backgrounds to draw the eye to the right element, making the entire piece appear more dynamic and vivid.
Sharpen Your Artistic Skills With Photo Restoration
In many ways, digital photo restoration is much like painting or drawing – that’s why an artistic eye is so important when one is repairing photos. If you try your hand at photo repair, you will also learn a lot about how to render more lifelike and eye-catching artwork.
Learning to recreate an old photo and turn it into an emotional, beautiful image requires just as much artistry as creating original work. The best part of digital restoration? You can do it again and again to build your skill and improve your own eye without wasting art supplies or damaging original pieces.
Try it and see for yourself!