The truth is that few people actually take good care of old photos. With time, these printed photographs may be discovered in leaky basements or musty attics. Unfortunately, at this point, there may have been quite a bit of damage done to these images.
Before you despair, though, there is a way to restore these pictures. Sure, you may not be able to fix the physical copy but you can certainly alter a digital version to reclaim the lost glory of the photograph. Here are your top tips for doing so.
Digitize the Images
The first step to repairing the images is to first digitize them. When doing so, it is best to use a scanner
rather photographing them or using a smartphone app. It is only a scanner that will really be able to capture important details to construct an image that is as close to the original as possible.
You should also scan the image in color - even if it is black and white - and do so at the highest quality possible. At the very least, scan in 600dpi. This will make it a lot easier for you to edit the image later on, particularly when it comes to smaller details.
Crop Out Damaged Backgrounds
It shouldn't come as a surprise to find that the outermost portion of your photo is most damaged. After all, it is the edges that are most likely to get bent, creased, and be torn. The good news is that these edges aren't all that important in most photos. In fact, they probably contain blank spaces or minor details.
This is why you should crop out these areas of the photo. Otherwise, you will end up spending more time on something that you may not be able to fix. It makes more sense to simply get rid of these areas and focus on the significant elements of the photograph.
Brighten Up Faded Images
You may also notice that the colors in your photographs are quite faded. This can happen with black and white photos as well! When an image fades, though, it becomes harder to distinguish between all the details there. So, you will need to brighten it up.
This is relatively easy to do
with a software program like Adobe Photoshop. You can manage it by following these steps:
Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curve
Then select the black-point eyedropper icon and proceed to click on the darkest portion of the image. After this, select the white-point eyedropper and click on the brightest part of the picture. To soften this effect a little, reduce the opacity.
If you would like to color correct the image further, do this:
Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation
Then move the Saturation slider to its starting point. This should work to fix any of the remaining color issues in the photo.
Fix the Details
When you want to fix details in your photo, there are two tool options here - healing spot brush and the clone stamp. Now, if you want to fix minor flaws in the background, then the healing spot brush is your best option. This will simply fix the texture of the problem and make it fade away.
If you want to fix a bigger issue, then the clone stamp will come in handy. This tool allows you to create an exact replica of a particular part of the picture and then recreate it somewhere else. Regardless of which tool you use, make sure to zoom into the images first.
A Note About Significant Photo Damage
Now, once you start with this project, you may realize that the damage done to the photo is just too significant. Therefore, you may not have the technology or the skills to fix the problem. This doesn't mean that you have to give up, however. Rather, look for a professional photo restoration service. To find out just what these services can do, check out the options here
These experts are able to even repair torn pictures and can handle most types of damage. So, while you may have to pay for these restorations, you can at least have peace of mind knowing that it will be handled properly.
These are the top tips to follow when bringing your old photos back to life. Just follow these instructions and you are sure to work wonders with the images you have.
John Sullivan is a professional photograph editor and has spent a number of years perfecting his art. He has developed quite a knack for altering and improving all types of images. He now takes the time to help out anyone learning his craft.