Making Old, Lackluster Photos More Respectable

Shinjukunonhdrsmall  ShinjukuHDRsmall

You can spruce up those old, lackluster shots from years ago using HDR and tone-mapping techniques, even if you weren't shooting in RAW way back then.

Consider: The raw material is a snapshot, taken while hurrying across a street at dusk in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo in 1992. It was originally a slide, scanned to jpg, and it's dark and not much to work with. In Photoshop CS3, we went to Image -> Adjustments -> Exposure and saved a file over-exposed to +2, a file under-exposed to -2,  combined them with the original image and tone-mapped the result in PhotoMatix, a program downloadable for $99.

Chances are you won't win any awards, but you can't beat it as a way to resurrect those old, borderline photos and make them a pleasure to see again. Check out larger versions of the original and then the rehabilitated photo, after the jump.

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