Heritage Scrapbooking: Should I Enhance the Photo

Many genealogy conferences and websites have workshops on retouching old photos. Scrapbook websites have tutorials on retouching photos as well. What happens if the retouching work needed is beyond your skill set? Should you pay for a professional to retouch your work? Or should you just make do?

Vintage Baby Portrait Scrapbook Layout
Left side of portrait layout
Vintage Baby Portrait Scrapbook Layout
Right side of portrait layout
Credits: Paper: Hello Aunty kit by Correen Silke; Flower: Photogenic kit by Word Art World

Currently, I’m of the opinion to just make do with the photos you have. With this collection of photos, I know that they were not properly cared for through the years. Many of the photos have a pinkish halo around the subject of the photo (me) that provide great challenges to retouching these images. I could pay to have someone re-work the images, but I can assess that the work would be challenging. Thus, I decided to just use the photos I have and use a neutral, non-busy scrapbook design.

There are several reasons I decided to let the photos be, beyond the financial aspects. The strongest reason is that the strange coloration is telling of the time period when these portraits were taken.

Honestly, the decision to hire a professional when a retouch is beyond your skill set is your call. Just know all is not lost if the photos aren’t as ‘ideal’ as you’d like them to be.


Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

2 thoughts on “Heritage Scrapbooking: Should I Enhance the Photo

  1. Colleen, I didn't realize blonde hair turned brunette when scanning. Crazy! Your tip is great… if you can see the person and their face, leave it alone. You're right. Sometimes I wonder if the restoration artists are doing more harm then good. Some restoration work is amazing, removing tears and and stains. Others seem to be a little, well, interpretive.

    It was hard to say… just let it be, because I really wanted to reduce the effects of aging on these photos. However, what's done is done. I love the expressions of my younger self and that's the focus.

  2. I agree with your decision. I like the aged look of the photo. Sometimes when photo shopping older photographs the colors are changed; a pink dress becomes red; blonde hair becomes brunette, etc. If you can see the person and th efaciel features I say leave it alone.

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