Photo Restoration [Photography Contest Announcement]


This week, Dustin and I (Jim) worked on a photo restoration and gave some tips on how you can restore old photos on the computer.  Now, we're inviting you to participate in a photo restoration contest.

I searched through my family archive for eight old photos you can choose from.  All you have to do is download the photo, edit the photo in whatever editing program you like (Photoshop, Lightroom, or even free programs like GIMP), and then upload the photo as your entry in the contest.


STEP 1: I have uploaded 8 old photos from which you can choose which picture you will edit for the contest.  View and download the photos here.

STEP 2: Edit the photo using any software you choose.  If you don't own Photoshop or Lightroom, you can download a free 30 day trial from Adobe's website, or use a free tool like GIMP.

STEP 3: Now submit your photo to our group by simply putting it in our Flickr group.  To do that, go join our Flickr community and while you're at it… you can friend Jim and Dustin on Flickr.  Then, upload the edited photo to your flickr stream.  Once your photo is on your flickr stream, click on it to view it large.  At the bottom right of the photo, you'll see three horizontal dots.  Click on the dots and then Add to Group (see screenshot below).



  1. Only ONE photo entry per person.  Do not post more than one photo.
  2. Deadline has passed.  You can view the winners here.
  3. Any amount of post-processing is allowable on the photos.
  4. You may only submit one of the 8 photos available for download.  We want to see what everyone can do with the same photos, so we compare apples to apples.
  5. Please do not be a poor sport.  After each contest, there are always a few who choose to nitpick the winning photo, suggest that a different photo should have one, etc.  This contest is for fun and for learning, so please resist the urge to complain.


There are three categories in this contest.  All photos will be considered for all three categories.

The “Best Overall Edit” winner will receive $100 in cold hard cash and a free Online Photoshop Course.

The winner of the “Best Historical Restoration” category will receive the keys to Dustin's 2013 Volkswagen Jetta GLI.  Actually, no.  But this person will  win an online Photoshop Class from Dustin and I.

The winner of the “Most Realistic Restoration” category will also receive an online Photoshop Class from Dustin and I.  This category is for colorizations of old photos, old photos made into art, restorations that have drawn-in details, etc.  The goal for this category is not to change the historical scene, but to enhance it with one's creativity to give the viewer a more complete idea of what the scene looked like.  In short, the goal of this category is to give the photo the quality of a modern picture, but being true to the historical scene.


Jim Harmer and Dustin Olsen will judge all of the photos submitted according to three criteria: (1) Does the photo restoration enhance the viewer's ability to see the photo and people in the picture? (2) Is the photo free from any technical defects or post-processing mistakes?  and (3) Does the photo restoration go beyond basic fixes and really show off the editor's skill?

Remember, there are usually HUNDREDS or THOUSANDS of entries in contests we do on Improve Photography.  Especially in a contest such as this where there are only 8 different photos to work on, you need to do more than just fix tears and exposure in the picture.  Challenge your skills by doing something different than everyone else in the contest.  There will likely be dozens of photos that look “good” so you need to decide how you can show off your skills if you want your photo to get noticed.

Important Fine Print: By entering this contest, you give Improve Photography LLC a limited license to post your photo on its website and on its social media profiles in articles or posts pertaining to this contest only.  Entrants must be 18 years or older to enter.  No purchase necessary to win.  By entering in this contest, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless Improve Photography LLC, and their employeees, assigns, licensees, sublicensees, and owners.  Contest open to contestants worldwide.  Void where prohibited.

12 thoughts on “Photo Restoration [Photography Contest Announcement]”

  1. Cheryl Pierce

    Jim and Dustin,

    Thank you! I’m learning post-processing and this is a great opportunity to learn something new. I appreciate all you do and all you’ve taught me. You’re both terrific!

  2. hi Jim and Dustin

    am I doing something wrong? I download photo#4 but the photo is tiny and when I try to zoom in to try and work on it the photo get very blocky like a 80,s video game so I cant work on ot


  3. @Barry Porter – That photo should be 918px by 1290px. Make sure you downloaded the larger version after clicking on the photo to enlarge.

  4. This contest sounds really awesome! 🙂 But im curious, if someone wins one of the three ‘awards’, and they used photoshop as their editing program, how would they benefit from an online photoshop course? If they are that skilled in the program to win, what will the course cover? I don’t mean any offense at all. Just curious. Thanks!

    1. We have both beginner and advanced Photoshop classes. Most photoshop users–even experienced ones–would benefit from Dustin’s advanced Photoshop 2 course.

      You could NEVER learn all of Photoshop! There are TONS of different approaches, techniques, and faster ways of working.

  5. Hello,
    I was wondering if I can use some of these photos to showcase my restoration skills on my instagram page. With given photo credit to you guys of course.

    Is that at all possible?

    Thanks in advance

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