The Retouching Process
All of our original images are extremely high resolution digital images. Most of them start as TIFF format images, which allows us to do a lot of editing and saving without losing any of the tones, sharpness, contrast or brightness of the original. However, TIFF files are enormous, with most of them over 100Mb, with some up to 300Mb in size.
The original scans were done at 300dpi, so there is a lot of detail in the photos, which allows for good enlargements. We have blown up some of the photos which are approximately 5000x 3700 pixels to 1.1m x .82m and they still hold lots of detail and depth of tone.
How do we retouch the images? We use digital imaging software to modify the images. We spend countless hours reviewing nearly every pixel to identify and remove a blemish, scratch, mould, coffee stain, tear and so on. And we do this without destroying the original tones of the subject. We do not just increase the brightness or contrast to wash out the sky. We also do not apply sharpness, nor reduce speckles just by clicking a button. Our goal is to restore the images back to how they looked the day that the negatives were developed.
Below is an example of some of the problems that we encounter with the unrestored digital images. This is an enlarged section of the City Baths image, and you can see hundreds of black dots, scratches, mould and discolouration. If you place your cursor over the image you can see the amount of retouching that we go through to correct and restore the original image.