has anyone found a photoediting software that can cleanup/enhance headstone engravings that you can't read

+7 votes
340 views
has anyone had success with photo editing software in trying to cleanup or enhance the engraving on a headstone photo that you can't read parts of
in Photos by Ray Long G2G Crew (430 points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
Try using one of the free photo enhancement downloads. Also, My Heritage has a free enhancement service. Fine tuning on other photo programs can be an added advantage.

7 Answers

+7 votes
I have had some success with Photoshop Elements, as well as other editing software.  Sometimes removing shadows helps; sometimes increasing or reducing highlights; sometimes changing mid-range contrast.  At times a really extreme modification makes the engraving readable even though the image becomes very unattractive.
by Jim Angelo G2G6 Mach 4 (45.6k points)
You can also duplicate the image A couple of times and then merging down , sometimes that helps.(just keep the original separate)
+4 votes
Photoshop works well.  Any program that will let you adjust the brightness, contrast, colors, will work to some degree.  But changing the levels (brightness and colors) allows you to really bring out some of the elements.  For Ubuntu the program Gimp (similar to Photoshop) works well also.
by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
And open source (and free) Gimp works on any operating system, so no need to switch to Ubuntu (yet).
That's great news Michel - I had no idea Gimp existed outside of Ubuntu.  So there it is Ray, download Gimp.

I usually go to:

Tools
Color Tools

and then select curves or levels.  With either, you just slide the various levels or curves up or down making the image darker, brighter, more contrast, less, etc., until you find that the details are more accentuated.  Sometimes I get into changing or manipulating the colors but usually these two ways work fine.
Thanks for the star Catherine!
0 votes

Not really. But there is a way to get much better photos in the first place that you won't need to fiddle with to read the inscription.

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:Off-Camera_Flash_for_Tombstones

I know it's not always possible to re-take the photos, but it is always better to capture a good image in the first place rather than try to fix it later.

by Jamie Cox G2G5 (5.2k points)
0 votes
I use Corel Graphics suite which includes Corel photo-paint. Sometimes you can find an older version on Ebay pretty cheap. Latest version about $400!
by Jim Slaughter G2G Crew (750 points)
0 votes
No amount of editing will improve a really bad photo. If the image detail isn't there, there is nothing you can do.

Sometimes, you can enhance a bad photo enough to get a little more detail, and most any photo editing software can do that. Those can range from free to very expensive.

There are a number of specialized techniques experienced image artists can do to help bring out more details. With most image editing software, even amateurs should be able to better enhance a photo to be good enough.

Best to start with a high quality photo to begin with. Start with the highest quality setting (most pixels) that you can get. Do not save as a Jpeg format (Jpeg compresses the image by throwing away details -- and continually re-saving it makes it fuzzier and fuzzier).

But usually, you can only work with what you have.
by Dennis Wheeler G2G6 Pilot (537k points)
+2 votes
If you wish - I am a (Qulaified Graphic Designer) and am willing to have a look at it for you. I would need a high hes image emailed to me. Can't promise anything.
by Robert Yeal G2G Crew (530 points)
Dear Mr yeak may i email you photo of tombstone to see what you can do>? rosemanlawoffice@yahoo.com
Dear Mr yeal may i email you photo of tombstone to see what you can do>? rosemanlawoffice@yahoo.com
+2 votes
I am going to attempt to overlay different photos of the same headstone I have found online and merge them into each other in Photoshop. Maybe the slightly different lighting in each will help. Migh also try creating different layers and playing with the exposure/lighting on each layer and then merge for a similar affect.
by Casey Cornelius G2G Crew (430 points)

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