My Heritage is providing free access to both of its Enhanced Photo and In Colour features until 10 September 2020. Not only is it free, you are able to upload and enhance and/or colour an unlimited number of photos during the free-access period.
Above : Before and after photo of Captain John Croker, 17th Regiment of Foot, English Army in the Crimean War 1856. Courtesy of the US Library of Congress
Although the My Heritage features are aimed at photos, I have also had good results by enhancing copies of old documents which has made them easier and clearer to read.
In my experience, overall the results vary from remarkable to barely noticeable. However, I firmly believe it is certainly worth taking the time to put your old photos through the process - particularly where the original picture is fuzzy. After all, you have nothing to lose given the original photo does not change. My Heritage makes a copy which is then enhanced and/or coloured.
Above: Edward Croker's picture before and after enhancing. From a photo of a 17th century group painting at the Irish National Gallery.
In some (but not all) photos, My Heritage also extracts and enlarges individual head shots of the people. The above before and after photo of Edward Croker is an example. He was one of a dozen people portrayed in a 17th century painting. As often happens, when a photo is enlarged it appears to lose focus and becomes fuzzy. This photo was no different, however My Heritage's Enhance process made a significant difference. The results are a very clear picture of the subject's facial characteristics not visible when looking at a photo of the original painting.
Extracting the head shots is very welcome addition which appears to be for the purpose of tagging the photos. But be aware that sometimes the process distorts part of these head shot extracts. From my observations, the distortion appears to occur mostly where the individual is not pointing toward the camera face on. To be fair, I've probably been using it for purposes for which it was not intended, however, some of them have been fantastic.
Examples of excellent, reasonable and probably unusable results appear in the tryptich below. I was delighted with the first example; a little disappointed with the distortion of the left eye in the middle photo and very disappointed with the third picture. Having said that, in all three photos, I gained a much clearer picture of the individuals' respective facial characteristics and was very pleased I took the time to put them through My Heritage's process.
Above: examples of enhanced and enlarged face shots extracted by My Heritage from the original photos.
The first photo above was originally in black and white. It has been enhanced and colourised. The head shot was extracted from a full length photo by My Heritage for tagging purposes.
The middle photo above was in black and white and was enhanced only. My Heritage extracted the head shot from the original full length photo. Note: when I look very closely at the fuzzy original, I can see that the left eye looks somewhat distorted. The enhancement and enlargement just makes it much more obvious.
The third photo above is from the same 17th century painting as Edward Croker. The original photo was in colour and enhanced using My Heritage. As with the first two, the head shot was automatically extracted for tagging purposes.
Above : A comparison of the original photo side by side with the enhanced photo.
For more details about these features, see my previous Blog posts about My Heritage's Enhanced Photo and In Colour.
So don't procrastinate further. Get over to My Heritage and start uploading your old photos and documents to see if you can improve on their clarity with just the click of a button. And don't forget if you have any feedback about using these photographic processes don't hesitate to leave a comment in the box at the bottom of this page.
Your Family Genealogist
Pictures: From the author's own collection and the National Gallery of Ireland.