On Grayscale and Composition

In the course of photo restorations I've come to some conclusions.
Grayscale is very cold looking.

When I work from scans they may have a sepia cast or not. I scan them in full colour mode regardless and work from those results but the end product is open to a lot of interpretation both colour-wise and from a compositional point of view.
I personally think that if you're going to print out an image from a black and white negative it actually looks nicer as sepia which is easy to do on the computer with just about any image editor. Even the instant photo service centers probably have a feature that allows for this.
While gray-scale probably looks better for some subjects than others portraits are not one of those things. Sepia is warmer- closer in flesh tone than gray and that's why sepia has such charm for me.
Then there's composition.
When I scan in an image I try not to crop it except where the edges are useless and can't provide any worthwhile imagery to clone from. Cloning plays a huge role in restoring images: the source material to cover up damaged areas of a photo may well be on the edges of the original.

The picture below represents the original scan; note the excessive amount of space on the left side.

For the print I cropped to the people in the photo which results in a more personal image.

Most of restoration is about scratch and speck removal. It's very tedious but I enjoy watching the image become whole again.
The finishing touches involve effects that bring out sharpness and exposure adjustments...fortunately the latest bunch of images I'm working on don't have too many exposure problems but there are a few tragic cases of damage that are beyond salvaging; a lesson to people who value their photographs is to take care of those prints and negatives. Don't just drop them all in a shoebox or sticky sided albums (those things are terrible!).

Prop a photo up against a thick book on a table in good light with no glare.
Set your camera up on a tripod with the lens at the same level as the print.
Make sure the angle of the front of the lens is facing the print dead on without any off-kilter tilting.
When you have finished taking pictures of your prints save those images on a labeled external drive with a note as to what the pictures are about- preferably you can save that image to the same drive.

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