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How do I remove the excessive black speckling in this image? I'm not sure how to tackle this, the background I'm not worried about. Its more of her face and gown.


Edit I started playing around late last night got this, was able to remove the heavy stuff now. Going to play around today and see how I can help her face. I thought there would be a slightly easier way but I agree with the other comment eye dropper and careful painting/texture.


3 Answers 3


That is not noise, that is probably a fungus or something, and need a pro retoucher to reconstruct the image.

The image needs to be reconstructed almost entirely, digitally painted if you will. But probably it is a good idea for you to send it to some artist to make an artistic representation of it, pencil, pastels, oils, etc.

  • Could be ground pepper for all we know, but it's still noise and makes no difference in terms of how one would fix it.
    – Joonas
    Feb 14, 2019 at 13:37
  • 1
    It makes all the difference in the world. Noise can be easily removed with automatic tools like ni.neatvideo.com this damage needs to be worked by hand. At least for now.
    – Rafael
    Feb 14, 2019 at 17:16
  • I'm pretty sure that is not the definition of noise. Why can't it be noise and fungus (or something) at the same time? You're basically saying it can't be "noise" if it's not digitally created...
    – Joonas
    Feb 14, 2019 at 17:30
  • I am not saying Digital. It can be analogic.
    – Rafael
    Feb 14, 2019 at 18:51
  • Analog with what? That term has lost its original meaning in the hands of businessmen about 50 years ago. Before that it was the opposite of digital strictly in one field: How to compute functions and solve equations. One solution was to build a circuit which obeys same equations (=has an analogy) and measure from it.
    – user82991
    Feb 15, 2019 at 9:03

As others here have already said, that's not noise but some sort of damage on the surface of the photograph itself. There's no automatic way to fix it. It will require manual retouching.

A possible technique includes using the eyedropper to sample colours, and to then paint out the individual black spots with a very small brush - almost like stippling. Obviously it will take a long time, possibly many hours to perfect, and some portrait sketching skills would be essential. The human eye and brain will be required to decide what is damage, and what is detail.

A quick example, showing partially completed sections around the eyes, before and afer:

enter image description here

  • That's what I end up settling on, slow and steady ;-)
    – digitaldog
    Feb 14, 2019 at 15:42

A "Pro Retoucher" would use Photoshop painting tools like the Clone Stamp and spend at least a few hours. It's not simple and certainly not for the untrained. That's how you get headlines like:


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