How to Preserve Old Photos By Photographing Them, Part II

On Monday I detailed (extensively) how to photograph old photos. Today, WE EDIT! (In my head, that was said in a very WE RIDE AT DAWN! sort of way.)
Now that the pictures are on your computer, DO NOT resize them. If you do, I will come over and smack you with a newspaper.
Choose the best picture and open it using a photo editing program. I used GIMP. (These instructions will apply to anyone with GIMP [a free, open-source version of Photoshop] or some version of Photoshop.)

First, rotate the picture if it’s crooked. For the life of me I could not get the picture centered in the camera’s viewfinder, so it came out a little crooked. Use the rotate tool. 

And then my computer switched backgrounds and all the colors are different and it’s driving me crazy. Anyway, next use the crop tool to get rid of any extra space around the image.

Now, to edit. My camera did not capture most of the yellow tinge in the photo, but it still looks dull and washed out. My first step when editing is to create a duplicate layer. All this does is create an exact duplicate of your photo, so that all of the editing is done on a duplicate instead of the real thing. It makes things easier – if you screw up badly, you can just erase the entire duplicate layer and still have the original, untouched image underneath. 

Next, one of my favorite things in GIMP. Sometimes it does wonders, sometimes it doesn’t do much at all. It’s the white balance corrector. It’s in the Colors toolbar, under Auto.

Once the white balance was corrected….holy moly. This is probably much closer to what the original photo looked like when it was first printed. 

You can keep messing with the color if you like, or you can make it sepia, or round the corners, or do whatever the heck you want. I was happy with the white balance correction. When you are finished making changes, merge the duplicate onto the original, to create one edited image. To do that, find Merge Down in the Layers toolbar. 

Now, save the image as a .PNG. Save as .PNG, because JPEGs lose some of their quality each time they are edited. A .PNG will not lose quality. A .PNG is generally a big-ass file, but that’s okay, because it’s a high-quality big-ass file.
Want to see my end result?

PONIES, PONIES EVERYWHERE! Yes, I watermarked it. I generally do not like to do that, but I felt it would be prudent to do so, seeing as I am not the original photographer and have no clue who that person may be. Don’t steal my pony pic, people.
Now, it’s off to print! Use your favorite local printer, or print it at home if you have a good quality printer. (I sound like Ina Garten, asking you to use only good quality virgin goat tears for your soup.)

End result?

No joke, my photo of the photo looks sharper than the original photo. That is the most confusing sentence I have ever written, but it’s true. It’s not sharper, not really, but the stark black-and-white makes all the little details pop, and every face is sharp and crisp. There is no noise or grain of any kind. 

In other words…bam! 
The last step is to save the digital photo in a safe place (on an external drive or USB drive if that’s where you like to store such things) and then get a frame. 
I did frame this picture and hang it in my house, but I forgot to take a picture of that. Oops. But it looks cool, trust me.
See you later!