How to improve photos dramatically using MyHeritage


Colourized and Enhanced by MyHeritage

I recently used the genealogy website MyHeritage to drastically improve the colour and clarity of an old Toronto postcard showing the historic Goel Tzedec Synagogue (at lower right in above image).

This rare postcard provides an excellent view of the synagogue in situ on University Avenue in the 1920s. The synagogue was built about 1905 and was torn down in 1955.

I have seen several versions of this postcard, showing the same scene but each colourized differently. The previous colourizations were not great, and the dpi quality of the postcard also left something to be desired.

I decided to see if I could improve the postcard using the latest Photo Colourization and Enhancement features of MyHeritage. I would have called the application of this new AI technology on the postcard nothing short of “miraculous” were it not for the fact that we’ve all grown used to new AI “miracles” demonstrated every day in our Brave New World.

The original photo, below, is grainy and altogether too yellowy. The colourized and enhanced photo, above, looks much better. The colours have been corrected, the graininess reduced, and the contrast sharpened.


It took less than five minutes to improve the postcard. First step was the remove the colour, which I did in photoshop by converting the image into black and white mode instead of (RGB) colour mode. Next I uploaded it into MyHeritage’s colourization engine: all you do is drag and drop the photo and wait, maybe ten seconds. Then you are shown a Before and After view for your approval. It’s easy to download the improved photo, or to enhance it further.

The enhancement in this case cleaned up the photo and brought out the highlights. When dealing with human subjects (of which there are none visible in the postcard), the enhancement feature often makes the eyes shine and clears the complexion. It can either look amazing — or even a little spooky. If the original is black and white, it assigns hair and eye colour based on best guesses, so it’s not always to taste.

In the case of this cityscape, I consider the results spectacular. MyHeritage, based in Israel, has been on a course of self-improvement for many years and is one of the top sites internationally for web-based genealogy. ♦

University Avenue Synagogue, Toronto, 1928