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The Picture on the Wall (pt 2)

In the second tutorial on problems that can be found when taking a picture of a picture hanging on a wall we’ll cover glass glare. Glass glare can come in many forms, such as the glare made by the flash of the camera against the glass of the photo or from a light source behind the person taking the picture. Unless you’re in a controlled environment it’s likely if you take a picture of a picture on a wall you will have some form of glass layer.


In this example I’ve marked in red that delineation of light and shadows caused by the glass clear on this photo. This is a pretty straightforward example with large areas of both. I’m not saying you need to mark your photo up in red, but you do need to make note of these areas, the glare and the non glare, the dark and the light, to help you better repair these areas.


While there are a number of ways to fix glass glare, levels, layer styles, and curves to name just a few, my favorite and the one that seems to work best for me (most of the time)is a Curves Adjustment. Make curves adjustments and take them down into the darker areas of the photo. Remember glass glare will be lighter, or brighter, so you want to bring the light areas down to match the darker areas. Uses many curves adjustments as you need to, blurring the edges to blend, in lower opacity layers, to achieve subtle darkening. It’s always better to do a lot of layers subtly, then one big step a layer.


After a few (or more than a few, depending on the photo and the amount of glare) curves adjustment layers, you should have a fairly even surface to begin your restoration on.

Bonus Tips:

One way to get rid of the color cast caused by the camera and/or room lighting is to do a Levels Adjustment, adjusting each color channel (R-red, G-green, B-blue) individually by bringing the adjustment sliders back into the area where most of the color information resides. Slide the two sliders at each end towards the middle until they line up with the beginning of the histogram.


Another way to cut a color cast is to use a Photo Filter Adjustment in an opposite color. Want to cut a blue cast? Use an orange filter! Use the color wheel as your guide and go to the opposite end of the wheel from the color cast on your photo.


Yet another way to cut the color cast is to go black & white, just remember if you do that straight black & white rarely looks great! Hit your B&W with a bit of tint or even a slight duotone. It will cut the harshness and still give the photo that antique edge!




About Janine Smith (114 Articles)
Janine Smith is the owner of Landailyn Research and Restoration, a Fort Worth, Texas based company whose services include family history research and photo restoration. Janine honed her skills in restoring badly damaged photos as a volunteer with Operation Photo Rescue, a non-profit organization whose mission is to repair photographs damaged by unforeseen circumstances such as house fires and natural disasters. <br> Janine’s work is well-known in the world of genealogical and historical societies, museums, libraries, university archives, and non-profit organizations; appearing on the board of directors for several organizations and institutions. She is a sought-after lecturer on photo restoration and preservation to libraries, genealogical and historical societies. <br> In addition to being a Lynda.com author, Janine is the author of many articles on research and restoration appearing in newspapers and magazines, both on and offline. Janine's history and photo restoration columns appear regularly on TipSquirrel.com and in the popular Shades Of The Departed Digital Magazine. <br> Janine is the winner of the 2010 “Photoshop User Award” in the photo-restoration category.

3 Comments on The Picture on the Wall (pt 2)

  1. SHAZnyc // 14/01/2010 at 6:55 am //

    I really enjoyed the post. I liked part one as well.

  2. SHAZnyc // 14/01/2010 at 6:55 am //

    I really enjoyed the post. I liked part one as well.

  3. Really handy post. I’ve had a few photos which have these horrible levels. Dually noted!

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