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Using Photoshop Actions to Fix Washed Out Scanned Slide Images


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This Blueprint will show you how Photoshop actions were used to save an 50+ year old, washed out scanned slide image.

Didi Miles, a photographer, sent in this story with her Blueprint:

It has been a weird-yucky-crazy 6 months. I’ve lost huge cornerstones of my life in the last 6 months. In order…..My Grandma Dorothy passed away in September, and my mom Vicki died in December. My mom was my very best girlfriend- so it’s been really hard.

BUT…….My life is blessed & beautiful and does go on. 🙂 And I get glimpses of them every day- in little ways that make me smile.  When my mom passed in December- I was too crushed to worry about anything other than holding up my family and keeping them from falling apart. And I’ve maintained that stance- my job has been to take care of the details- the things she would have done……

March 26th, I was driving the 6.5 hours from the Seattle Metro suburb of Lake Stevens back to my small hometown in central Idaho to visit family, take care of some official business stuff in relation to my mom’s death and to help daddy- he was ready for some help going through stuff.

I personally needed to look through photos- it’s my passion- is was OUR passion- we live/lived life through our cameras….there are thousands and thousands of prints- and external hard drives and discs of photos. And that is not including all the boxes of old slides that were my granddad’s and great-grand-dad’s……(she was the care taker of them and most all things of family significance…..because she valued the history in them -and wouldn’t let Papa throw them out when they sold the home place 20 years ago.)

And crazy as life can be, I was 1/3 the way there- when my aunt phoned me to say that Papa Manning had passed in his sleep that morning…… so on my ‘vacation’… my whole family descended from places afar, and we started reminiscing and looking at photos.  Then we dug for the slides and soon- all of us were making piles and baggies of these slides- because there were photos of us, or our parents or our grand/great-grands- that we had never seen!

I volunteered to take on the restoration project if they could all help with getting the images scanned to a disc and shipped to me.

The tricky part is that many of these prints and slides are 50-100 years old!  And while they have been stored pretty well and are in surprisingly good shape, it was explained to us that by even viewing the slides with the old projector (which IF you can find the bulbs….cost a fortune-@ $65 and up!!!!) that the slides could just crystallize and break from the heat. Just the sheer age and probably the lack of good cameras sometimes leaves you with traces of what could be a classically great image. The colors were skewed and many were super faded.  This is the case with this photo I’m sharing with you for the Blueprint.  This is my great grandpa Floyd Manning on a fishing trip in the back country of central Idaho, where I’m from. Snapped by my granddad (his son) Donald Manning some 50+ years ago.

gpa-set Using Photoshop Actions to Fix Washed Out Scanned Slide Images Blueprints Photoshop Actions Photoshop Tips & Tutorials

Here is Didi’s Blueprint:

  1. I scanned the image into my PC using my Canon PIXMA MP980 Printerir Using Photoshop Actions to Fix Washed Out Scanned Slide Images Blueprints Photoshop Actions Photoshop Tips & Tutorials (which has a happy little slide tray tucked under the lid) and saved as jpg.
  2. I cleaned up the big dust/hair/scratches with the clone tool and burned the edges a bit in Photoshop. I ran MCP Color Burst Photoshop action and pumped it up with the magic boost layer (which I truly wish was its own little tool because I love it!). Had the opacity at about 30-33% and extra kick to about 60-65%.
  3. I used Burnt edges I, MCP’s Free Photoshop Vignette action and used this at 60%.
  4. I then used Skin Cast Blast from the Magic Skin Photoshop Actions Set to reduce blues and warm the skin.
  5. I finished with Blog It Boards Photoshop Actions and a top/bottom branding bar in black. I added text and saved as jpg.

Didi then wrote, “Thanks again for the awesome workflow tools- you make my life infinitely easier and more creative!  I’m a self taught photographer and Adobe user- it’s been 6 years of just playing/trial & error. I’m blessed that I have a group of folks who like what I do, promote me shamelessly and keep calling me…”

Didi Von Bargen-Miles, Natural Approach Photo


No Comments

  1. jodi Sware on May 28, 2010 at 11:43 am

    this is awesome…thank you!

  2. Noa on May 28, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    My favorite is the light set! noa_le at

  3. Ally on May 29, 2010 at 12:40 am

    I love, love, love the light flare set! allymarie_13 at

  4. Marsha on May 29, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    What an amazing difference you made on that slide!

  5. bloggerchamps on May 30, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Great post for me, i also clear my photos by Adobe photoshop. I am not an expert in graphics but still manage to make some photos. see it.

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