Old photos restoration

How to restore old photos

Restoring old photos gives memories: long lost relatives, friends from school and photographs of memorable vacations decades ago constitute memories that are way too precious to be allowed to wither away.

Create a digital copy

Make a good quality high resolution copy. There are two way to do that. The first method is to make a scanned copy. The second method involves making a high resolution RAW photograph.

Use photo editing software

Preferred tool for restoring old and worn out photos is Photoshop. Lightroom does not nearly offer the same flexibility as Photoshop.

Adjust the white balance, repair color, brightness and contrast issues. Fix scratches. Make sure you work in a new blank layer and in any case, keep a backup of the original RAW photograph or a scanned copy.

The Spot Healing Brush tool gives the option to make quick fixes to areas of the photograph that may have been damaged due to passage of time. This tool can be used in content aware mode. It means when you brush over an area that is damaged, Photoshop automatically samples the nearby areas and patches over the affected area. This tool is ideal when you want to restore sections of the photograph that is completely destroyed.

Sometimes the tool may not work as expected. You will need to subtly go over the areas once more, sampling and retouching to ensure that the final result is acceptable. The Clone Stamp Tool allows you to do finer editing, especially for the areas where Spot Healing Brush tool is ineffective. The Patch Tool is a very useful too. It allows you to select patches of the photograph, even those which are right at the edge, and to blend a texture over it. Make sure you do it in the Content Aware mode.

The final touch up would be to decrease a bit of contrast. Contrast is not always necessary to be added when restoring old photograph.

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