My Heritage has done it again. This time releasing another photographic tool which, in one step, takes our old, out of focus, family photos and drastically improves them. The tool is called simply, Photo Enhancer, and the results can be startling.
Above : Before and after photos of Your Family Genealogist's great great grandmother circa 1870. The photo was first enhanced then colourized using the My Heritage tools. Some of the more obvious white spots visible on the original were removed from the enhanced photo using Photoshop.
I was a little slow off the mark to test the new offering when it landed in my inbox a couple of weeks ago, but now I’m making up for lost time. As you can see from the before and after photos of my great great grandmother above, the technology takes photos which may be small or fuzzy and by increasing their resolution, makes the photo much clearer.
The Photo Enhancer is particularly useful when looking at early black and white or sepia photos of our ancestors, but it also works with modern colour photos. Who hasn’t taken a photo only to find the subject moved at the critical second or, as the photographer, we failed to hold the device steady and the picture was spoiled by camera shake?
My Heritage’s Photo Enhancer tool complements its successful and very popular Photo Colourizing function released earlier this year. The new Enhancer tool works as quickly and as easily as its sibling program. Simply upload your photo to the My Heritage website and click the Enhance Photo button.
If you missed reading my previous blog post about My Heritage’s Colourizing tool then click here because you’re in for a treat.
Does Photo Enhancer work for group photos?
Yes, happily this tool also works for small and large group photos.
Can I use both the Photo Enhance and the Colourizing tool on the same photo?
Yes, absolutely. For the best of both worlds, you can enhance and colour the same photo. Personally, I achieved best results from enhancing first then colourizing.
Above: Before and after photo of Your Family Genealogist's 3xgreat grandmother. The photo was colourized and enhanced using the My Heritage tools. The more obvious white and black spots were removed in Photoshop.
Is it difficult to use the Photo Enhancer?
It’s quick and simple to use the photo Enhancing tool:
Go to the My Heritage website and log in (it is free to join if you do not already have an account);
Hover your mouse over the Family Tree menu then, from the drop down list, select Enhance Photos;
Click on the Upload Photo button and find the photo you want to enhance on your own computer;
Click on the photo and hit <<Open>>
You will see Enhancer tool working for approximately 15-30 seconds.
Voila! The before and after results are visible. Use the vertical scroll bar on the photo itself to see the before and after results.
As with the Colourizing tool, Photo Enhancer does not replace the original, rather it creates another working copy. You have the option to download the new, improved photo, download your original or download the comparison photo.
Above : Example of a downloaded "Comparison" photo. Your Family Genealogist's 2xgreat grandfather.
My own results were mixed. As always, results vary depending on the original photo you are using. Several of the photos I enhanced achieved excellent results, while others resulted in no discernible difference. My best results came from photos which I had not previously edited or tried to improve in Photoshop.
Is there any free access to the Photo Enhancer?
My Heritage currently permits non-subscribers to colourize up to 10 photos free of charge before having to pay for one of their plans for continued access. So I recommend choosing and prioritizing your photos wisely before trying the software.
Unfortunately My Heritage does not have monthly subscriptions. Having said that, I think Photo Enhancer and Colourizing tools almost make a 12 month subscription worthwhile for these functions alone.
Note: Unless you are a subscriber, the My Heritage and Enhanced logos will appear on the bottom left and right respectively of your enhanced photos. Dare I say it; these can be removed in Photoshop if you have the time and inclination. Alternately they can be easily cropped out (see the tryptic below).
Above: Your Family Genealogist as a young child with her father. The black and white original photo was first colourized then later enhanced using the My Heritage tools. NB: the enhanced photo was subsequently cropped slightly.
Personally, I find the Photo Enhancer tool even more useful than My Heritage's Colourization tool which itself is pretty amazing. We're all different, but being able to see my ancestors' features more clearly is far more important to me than seeing them in colour. So get out all your old (and new) fuzzy photos and start enhancing them.
Don’t forget to spread the word. There are few genealogists who wouldn’t have old fuzzy photos which would benefit from the Photo Enhancer. I would love to hear your views on this tool in the Comments section at the bottom of this screen.
Your Family Genealogist
Pictures : Your Family Genealogist’s own collection