Photo by duncan1890 via iStock
Whenever you come across a bunch of old photos, whether you found them in your parent’s basement or a box shoved in some dark crevice in your own attic, it can be a little overwhelming. Digitizing photos is always pretty time consuming, but you know that if you don’t do it, all of those memories could be gone forever.
This process only becomes more stressful when the photos you find have been damaged in some way. Photos can be easily damaged by water, even by humidity in the air, by sunlight, and by the passage of time. So, chances are you will likely need help learning how to restore photos at some point.
Restoring photos doesn’t have to be stressful. In order to help you bring those old memories back to life, I’m going to walk you through a couple of tips for restoring photos. Let’s get started.
Restore the Photo in Photoshop
One of the most important steps in restoring photos is to digitize them, as I already mentioned. But, how do you digitize your photos?
You need to scan them. You can either purchase a photo scanner to do this or you can take the photos from your smartphone using a scanner app (which is what I recommend, since you’ll likely put your project off for longer if it requires a trip to the store).
Once you’ve digitized them, the next step is to bring them back to life in Photoshop. Of course, this means you have to learn how to restore photos in Photoshop. Thankfully, it really isn’t a difficult process. You can watch the video above if you’re a visual learner. Otherwise, I’ll walk you through it here as shown in the video above by PHLEARN.
All you have to do is open your image in Photoshop and create a duplicate copy. This way you have the “original” if you want to edit it a particular way later on.
Next, you’ll need to crop and straighten your image. In order to crop an image, just click the Crop icon and draw your area. Then, press enter or return. In order to straighten your image, click on the Crop icon and then click on the Straighten icon. You’ll need to drag a line along a particular horizontal element. You could use a coastline, the ground, or any other flat surface at the bottom of the image. Once you realize your mouse, Photoshop will do all of the hard work for you.
Next you’ll want to pinpoint the specific corrections that you want to make. This could be something as simple as a color correction or as difficult as correcting a stain.
You may need to use the spot healing brush, the patch tool, or the clone stamp for this part of your editing process. Thankfully, there are easy YouTube videos for all of these.
Finally, you will choose a filter to help get rid of any noise in your image.
Colorize an Old Black and White Photo
If you are restoring photos that were created before color film, then you may be interested in colorizing them.
Once again, you can watch the YouTube video above from PiXimperfect about how to restore old photos, or else I’ll summarize it for you.
Restoring photos that were originally black and white is one of my favorite parts of the process because I think it really brings them to life. You’ll need to do the same thing that I discussed above by scanning your images into Photoshop.
Once you’re in Photoshop, you can colorize your images using the brush with Solid Color adjustment layers. In order to do this, you just have to change your blending mode to Color and then invert your layer mask to black. Then you can paint each part of your image that you want in a new color.
Another option is to use the Quick Selection tool with Solid Color layers. To do this, you just need to outline whatever part of the image you want to colorize before adding a Solid Color Fill layer and choosing your color.
Finally, you could use Curve adjustment layers to colorize your image. You’ll just need to choose the color you want via the color curves and use a brush to paint them on.
Have Professionals Restore Your Photos
If restoring photos isn’t your forte, you definitely aren’t alone. You can always turn to professional photo restoration for a quick fix.
When I was restoring photos a few months ago, I got a little overwhelmed and turned to PhotoRepairPro. I actually found them a few years ago because they worked with Costco.
I like their website because each photo you send in gets a flat fee and in return you can expect your photo to be restored before you get a JPEG of it and two 5x7 prints of it. Their website is also really easy to maneuver.
All you have to do is click “Start My Order,” upload your image, and then choose what repair services you’ll need. They can colorize old images, retouch new ones, and work with faded and discolored images.
Plus, they have a really fast turnaround time. It will take one week for your service to be completed and about 1-2 weeks for your images to reach your home.