lightroom tips from michael maersch


Image Repairs: 'Spot Toning' Old Film-Generated Photos, Part 2

Here is a photograph I made from inside the Rigsarkivet, the Danish National Archives in Copenhagen, scanned from film I had processed there by a One-Hour-Photo center. It has LOTS of machine scratches, embedded dust and schmutz that nearly made the image unusable.

In Part 1 of showing you how to repair dust/lint/schmutz imperfections in scanned prints or negatives I suggested you do as much of the repair work within Photoshop CS5+ before moving back into Lightroom for making repairs on spots where you are experiencing problems with Photoshop generating pixel-smudging.

NOTE that when you begin again your work inside Lightroom, even though your original is now a layered TIFF or Photoshop file (PSD), Lightroom works with it as though it were a flat file. Lightroom doesn't "recognize" layers. The rendering instructions Lightroom writes to metadata while working there will affect your image globally and not affect any individual layer that exists in your master file. (Perhaps one day Lightroom may recognize individual layers in future releases of the application.)

image scan with scratches and dust imperfections

Above example and below: NOTE scratches and white globs – tiny debris particals in film processing chemicals dried into the film's emulsion.

film detail of imperfections

I can repair most everything in Photoshop with it's remarkable Spot Healing Brush utilizing it's Content Aware Fill feature working its magic. However, a few problems remain, some produced by the way Content Aware Fill renders its pixel-fixes.

This is where working with Lightroom – using both applications together – comes in.