Many of us have photos lying around that are beginning to take a beating. Don’t throw them away! Here’s how to repair your old photos.

Most of us have a few old photos; some of them may be from high school graduation, some from wedding, some from old family holidays or maybe even some from special family events. But if you haven’t had the chance to back up your photos, you probably have some that are really old and might be damaged. Some of them may be too old to be useful nowadays while some may be just too precious to ever throw away. As the photos get old, some important ones are lost forever.
Exposure to moisture, water, sunlight and dirt for many years can severely damage photos. Sometimes, even improper storage of new photos can cause damage. Fortunately, digital technology makes it possible to restore the old photographs. Today you can restore images taken centuries ago to their original splendor using innovative digital tools.
So, do you want to bring back life to your old photos? If yes, then this article is for you.

Learn How to Repair Old Photographs
Can photo restoration happen at home? Can you afford a professional to restore your old photographs? Which software do I need? Photo restoration is a delicate process that can sometimes be overwhelming for the beginner. Here are some tips to get you started. 

  • Quality scan – The first step is to perform a good scan of the photograph. If your photo doesn’t scan well, you can set a copy stand and photograph it. While scanning the photo ensure that the resolution is right and the output is of an ideal size. 
  • Use good photo editing software – Restore old photos using photo editing software. It is the best way to save your photographs. We recommend using Adobe Photoshop as it offers many powerful features to restore even centuries old photographs. Open the image in Photoshop and enlarge it. Then use tools such as “clone stamp”, “blemish repair brush”, “repair tool” and “content aware filler” to remove wrinkles and blemishes. You can begin with the face, since faces are the focus of attention in any photograph and they must appear flawless. The blemish repair brush is perfect for removing small stains. Experiment with brush types to see the effect that best suits a particular setting. The patch tool can do wonders for the background, and can quickly and effectively repair large areas of stains and scratches without deleting details. For the large background area in an old portrait, the repair tool can easily speed up the process and make effective repairs. Remember, with all these tools, you usually don’t have to be perfect and get the best results in the first try. You can remove the largest and most obvious stains initially and then cover the smaller details later. 
  • Fill the void – If a larger gap or hole damages your photo, you need to do a reconstructive surgery. The larger the gap and the more detailed the details, the more difficult it is to reconstruct. You can use the paint bucket to fill the void without significantly changing the shape, texture or details.
  • Restore colour – Color photos often require different types of repairs. Even when stored under ideal conditions, the organic dyes on color prints will degrade over time and cause discoloration. Normally, the colors are not as bright as before and colour shifts also might have occurred in the photographs. Although it is sometimes impossible to perform color restoration, Photoshop offers you a simple solution. It offers automatic adjustment of contrast and color for creating beautiful color photos. You can use the “Auto Color” in the “Image” menu. Click it and Photoshop will analyze the scene and correct the color balance.

There are several options for restoring old photographs, depending on the extent of the damage and how difficult the damage is. If you want to do much more, hire a professional. While doing the restoration will cost you money, it can save your sentimental photos. Professional restoration of photos can prevent further damage to the original material and the editing techniques can improve focus or sharpness while providing vivid colors to images.
SBL offers professional photo restoration services that are highly effective with no damage on the original photos. Contact us to know more about our affordable photo restoration services.

Candida Xavier
Manager- Key Accounts – ITeS