There are a lot of benefits to restoring old photographs, with nostalgia playing the most prominent role. Advances in technology have aided in enhancing extremely old photographs. We have to get them into digital form first and then we have powerful tools at our disposal. Photo restoration has never been easier.
The Importance of Photo Restoration
Few people consider the importance of restoring older photos until they find themselves in an awkward position of needing them. Don’t wait until you’re in a crunch for time. Above all else, don’t wait for your physical photos to become so aged that you can’t do anything with them.
There are a lot of dangers in storing photos physically. One fire can wipe away an entire childhood of memories. So it’s a good idea to get your photos into digital form. With that in mind, here are some other reasons why you might consider restoring your old photos.
Genealogy: Anyone looking to build their family tree will find that restoring older photos makes the album much more enjoyable.
Damaged Photos: Photos get scratches and fade over time. Digital restoration can reverse this damage.
Easier to Share: Converting photos into a digital form makes it much easier to share them with friends and family.
Add Color: Photo restoration provides us with the unique opportunity to transform black and white photos into full-color images.
There are several benefits to restoring old photographs, but following through with it is a bit trickier. You can do it yourself or hire Back Office Pro professionals to assist. If you choose to do it yourself, here’s a step-by-step guide to help.
Convert Photos into Digital Form
The first thing you’ll need to do is scan the photo to get it into digital form. It’s important to note that even if you hire a professional, you’ll still need to follow through with this step. There are three choices here:
- Use your printer/scanner to scan the image into the system.
- Take a picture using your digital phone or camera.
- Use a scanner app available on your smartphone.
You want to scan the image into the system using the highest quality setting possible.
Note: Make a copy of the file and save it in a separate folder. You need a backup just in case the photo editing process doesn’t go as planned.
Import the image into Photoshop
Photoshop is the powerhouse of the photo editing world, so we’re going to use it to restore these photos.
- Click on File and Open. Then, choose the photo that you want to edit.
- From the Taskbar, click on Layer.
- Select Duplicate Layer.
- Rename the Layer so that you can keep the two separate.
Cropping and Straighten the Image
Borders may appear ragged or have too much white space at this point. If so, then you can use the Crop tool to crop those borders out. The goal is to create a well-oriented image.
Cropping the Image
- Go to Toolbox, click on the Crop tool.
- You’ll notice that the sides of the image become clickable. You can click any edge and drag it to the desired position.
- Press Enter to crop the image.
Straightening an Image
- From the Toolbox, click on the Crop icon.
- You’ll notice that the four corners of the image have a curved, double-ended arrow. Click that and drag it the correct way to straighten the image.
- Press Enter once the image is to the desired alignment.
Rotating the Image
- From the Taskbar, click on Image.
- Select Image Rotation.
- Change the rotation of the image to achieve the desired effect.
Reduce the Noise
The noise of an image is a photography term that describes cosmetic issues like scratching, dust, and other blemishes on the picture. You have to get rid of noise manually, but it’s not too complicated.
- From the Taskbar, click on the Filter icon.
- Select Noise and then Dust & Scratches.
- A window will be pulled up. Here, you can increase the Radius and Threshold levels. Do this in very small increments until the noise has been reduced.
- Move back to the Taskbar and click on Noise. Then select Noise Reduction.
- Make small adjustments until you have achieved the desired result.
Fix Photo Damage
This is going to take the most time and requires a great deal of patience. There are three separate phases here.
Spot Healing Brush
- From the Toolbox, click on the Spot Healing Brush.
- Select the size brush you need to reach the damaged areas efficiently.
- You have a choice between Content-Aware and Proximity Match.
- Use either of them by clicking on the damaged spot to see if they give you the desired effect. If not, then you can always click on Edit and then Undo any changes.
- From the Toolbox, click on the Spot Healing Brush.
- Click on Patch Tool.
- Click on the Source button below the Taskbar.
- Now you can encircle the damaged area to select it.
- Click and move this selected area to a clean spot that is close in appearance to the damaged area you are fixing.
- From the Toolbox, click on the Clone Stamp.
- Select the Brush Size you want to use.
- Use the Alt+Click combo to choose a spot to Clone.
- You might need to adjust Opacity.
- Now click and drag the brush through the damaged area. It will now paint the area using the cloned area.
Correct the Color
- From the Taskbar, select Image.
- From the drop-down menu, click Adjustments.
- Select wither Auto Tone, Auto Contrast, or Auto Color.
Adjust these in small increments until you achieve the desired result.
Final Thoughts on Photo Restoration
Photo restoration has reached a ground-breaking point in our technological development. However, it can also get a bit complicated for those of you who are not skilled in Photoshop. If you need help, contact the professionals at Back Office Pro.