Restoring Old Tinted Photographs

Turning Wrong Colour Coats into Right Colour Coats

I am not a big fan of colourizing old black and white or sepia photographs, however, in the past black and white photographs were often painted to colour them. I have researched on the Internet in vain to find out exactly how they did this. These coloured photos generally seem to fade quite badly.
A computer graphics program can bring them back to life







Turning wrong colour coats into right colour coats.

The little girl in the green coat is me at the age of 6. There is a little problem with the colour of this photograph.
My coat was actually blue!
The photograph was taken at school.

When we brought home the black and white photographs, there was an order form enclosed that you could fill out to have the photograph coloured for a small fee.

My mum had made my blue coat, and she must have liked the photograph, because she filled out the form and sent me off to school with it. A couple of weeks later the coloured picture arrived, but the coat was the wrong colour, it was green!
Oh my, mum was disappointed but she didn't send it back.

My wrong colour coat remained the wrong colour coat for more than 50 years.

Let me explain how this is done.
Both Photoshop and PSP programs allow us to mask of any areas of a picture. For the purpose of colouring the coat, we need to mask off everything except the coat. [ pic 2] This will isolate the coat part of the picture so that whatever changes we make to the photograph, only the coat area will be affected. Then desaturate the green colour of the coat.[pic 3] Next we have to add a new layer on top of the photograph. We flood that layer with blue and then reduce the opacity of the blue layer until the coat shows through clearly and is tinted blue. [pic 4] The blue colour will only show on the coat because a protective mask covers all of the rest of the photograph. Just the same as when we mask off the woodwork when we paint the living room. We just have to merge the layers to finish.

After all these years my blue coat is finally blue, I wish my mum were here to see it.


For anyone interested in the coat here is a photo of the whole outfit. It was made to look like a Women’s Air Force [W.A.F.] uniform. My aunt was a W.A.F, my mother sewed this coat and hat to look like her outfit.


This picture [above] was taken sometime before 1918. It was tinted back when it was first taken. It is my grandmother, my mum's mum.
My mum had told me that this photograph was taken when grandmother was not yet 18. She believed this because my grandmother's waist length hair was not in an updo.
I loved this photograph when I was a child. It was always very faded, and has faded a lot more in my lifetime. As I worked on this photo I became a bit confused about dating it as her face looks to me somewhat older than a teenager. I brought the colours back using the same technique as was used for colouring the coat in the last photo.
I have to admit I did a lot of tweaking on this picture to get this to look like this. I am very happy with the finished project, and believe I saved it in the knick of time.

I think my mother looks beautiful in this photograph.
A framed copy of this picture sat on our fireplace when I was a child. The original photograph hardly shows any colour now, had I not been so familiar with the picture, I could not have got the colours correct. I remember how it used to look.
This is of my mum in 1937 when she was 19. My mother explained to me that it was the trend back then for young women to get dressed up in their best outfits on Saturdays, and then travel uptown to a get their picture taken. No appointments were necessary; you could just walk in to a photography shop and get 'shot'.
The picture above also sat on our fireplace.It is another colourized photograph. This photograph is easy to date. It is of my big brother and myself in 1944.
Again this picture was tinted right after it was taken. The colours were still quite good. Just a couple of clicks to deepen the colour and the contrast and this picture popped back to life in seconds.

page 1
Elizabeth Borrows Barbara's Blouse

page 2
Turning Wrong Colour Coats into Right Colour Coats

page 3
Saying " I Do'' in 1887

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