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Digitizing and Retouching

Posted by Lauren Baldwin on December 9, 2022.

There is something nostalgic about a printed photograph, especially those that are attached to a special memory. While this is true, the task of preserving printed photographs and other printed items can be difficult. Over time, prints become faded and take on damage. Luckily, with digital technology, we can digitally store these items, and they can be reprinted as needed. In addition to digitizing, technology allows us to digitally restore documents and photographs.

To digitally restore this photograph, we corrected the yellow spots, and adjusted the hue to remove the green tinge.

Before: left. After: right

To digitally restore this photograph, we corrected the yellow spots and adjusted the hue to remove the green tinge.

How the Digitizing Process Works

Digitizing sounds great, but what is it? Digitizing is the process of creating a true representation of an item in its current condition. The typical digitalization takes place in three steps.

Step 1. Prep for scanning. A great scan is one that needs minimal editing afterwards. In order to achieve this, we clean our scanner to avoid capturing any dust in the scan. In addition, we gently brush any dust off of the item as well.

Step 2. Scanning. To scan, we use a scanner or professional camera to take a high resolution image of the item, capturing as much detail as possible. In the case that the item is too large for either method, we may take multiple scans and seamlessly stitch them together in Adobe Photoshop.

Step 3. Upload and edit. After we scan the item, we upload the image to Adobe Photoshop. In this program, we crop out any background that was captured in the scan. In addition, we edit the image size to match the existing item's dimensions.

In a regular digitalization, this would be the end of the process. However, if the image needs retouching we would continue editing.

Before: left. After: right.

To correct this photograph, we stitched the four pieces together seamlessly in Adobe Photoshop. Then, we removed the spots in the photograph and lightened the ink drawn in on the eyes.


There is a never-ending list of issues we can fix while editing. Here are some of the most common corrections we make.

Color Adjustments. In photoshop, there are several color adjustments we can make. First, we can alter the overall tone of the photograph to look more cool or warm toned, sepia toned, or black and white. In addition to altering color of the entire photograph, we can also edit specific hues within the photograph, such as toning down the reds in a photograph.

Adding/Removing Items or People. This is a fascinating ability of photoshop. We can take a person out of one photo and edit them into another. We've used this when a customer wanted a photo of all their family members together.

Contrast Adjustments. Adjusting the contrast can help define components of the item. In a document, this would make it more readable. In a photograph, this may increase the visibility of something that has faded.

Removing/Correcting Damage. The most common correction we make is to remove damage that has been done to the item. Whether it's water stains, dirt, or even if it's ripped apart, we can usually make it look good as new!

Colorizing Black and White Photographs. Colorizing old photographs can give them a more lively appearance. However, we cannot guarantee that the colors will be 100% accurate, so we do caution using this edit on historical items. But for those that just want to add some color to personal photos, this is a great option!

Before: left. After: right.

To correct this photograph, we removed the white line across the top. Then, we adjusted the hue to remove the yellow tinge.


After we've digitized and retouched the item, you can either take a digital copy on a USB drive, or we can make a print for you. We have many materials that we can print on, but the following three are great if you want the product to look as close to the original as possible.

Archival Matte Paper. This paper is a smooth, high-quality paper with a matte finish. This is perfect for reprints of documents, newspaper articles, posters, art prints, and photos that were printed on a matte paper before.

Glossy Photo Paper. This paper has a glossy finish, and creates highly-saturated prints. Typically, this paper is used to print photographs.

Gallery Wrapped Canvas. This canvas is printed on décor canvas made of 100% polyester matte canvas. The texture of the canvas comes through your photo giving it an artsy feel. This is perfect for any art re-print.

Digital retouching is an amazing and rewarding process! If you have any items that you are thinking about getting digitized or retouched, contact us here or visit us in store to discuss!

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