What’s the best way to restore old or damaged photos? News stories that interview victims of weather or natural events almost always mention lost or damaged photos. Photos showcase important events in our lives and are often thought of among the most valuable items anyone can lose or have damaged. For paper photos, the older they are, the more likely they are to deteriorate, fade, and tear. Be sure to scan paper photos and backup your digital photo albums.
If you have damaged paper or digital photos, photo restoration repairs, corrects, and enhances photographs so they look like new. … read more …
(or better). Advances in technology make keeping your photographic memories alive much easier.
Modern Photo Restoration
Today, digital processing and photo editing software makes restoring old photographs much easier. For paper photo restoration, the photo is scanned and then both digital photos (like those in a smartphone) or paper photo scanned results are altered on the computer using photo editing software such as Photoshop. Photo restoration does not seek to alter the original image. Instead, your photo is digitally altered to create the image anew. Then, you can print it through any photo-printing shop or online service.
Photo restoration usually involves the following processes:
- Adjusting the photo’s tone and contrast
- Repairing damaged or torn photographs
- Correcting fading and other coloring issues
- Enlarging and enhancing photos
You can either use photo restoration software to attempt to restore the photos yourself, or various businesses offer professional photo restoration services for a fee. Always keep a copy of your photo before sending to a company or service.
Whether you are attempting to restore the photo yourself or bringing it to a business, you should scan paper photographs at a high resolution, usually 300 dots per inch (DPI) or higher depending on the capability of the scanner (click here to learn how to find the resolution of digital photos). Many businesses offer scanning, photo editing and digital alteration in a single package.
Photo restoration software should also be able to enlarge photographs so you can print them as posters, banners or even wall murals. If you enlarge your small photo without photo enlargement software, then the enlarged photo may turn out grainy and difficult to see. Part of the photo-restoration process includes bringing out the detail in the photo, removing irregular colorations, and removing grainy textures. Photo enlargement can assist with these processes. Once the photo has been enhanced, it is a much better candidate for display.
Restoring Extremely Damaged Photographs
Digital restoration works on:
- Missing pieces of paper photographs
- Scratched or torn paper photos
- Sun or water damaged paper photos
- Spots or creases in paper photos
History of Photo Restoration
Photo restoration has changed significantly within the past century. Before computers and the advanced technology that we have today, photo restoration was a very different process. Artists often retouched the original photograph with ink or paint. They occasionally used airbrushing techniques to restore photos and remove flaws. They also pieced together different photos or negatives in the darkroom to “edit” the photos, and used knives on the negatives to bring out or blur certain details.
Restoring old photos in a dark room meant having an artist alter your photo’s negative by hand. Some artists were able to alter the original negative by painting it. They then used the altered negative to develop an entirely new photo. While this method helped avoid ruining the original photo, it altered the negative in a way that could not be undone.
Old photo restoration was an elaborate, expensive process performed by an artist. It took a significant amount of time to complete the restoration process, and, because the artist used the original photo or negative, restoring old photos meant risking losing the original photo or the negative.
Photos often serve as the only representation of past family members and fond memories. They are frequently the only way that you can show grandchildren and great-grandchildren their ancestors. Before photography, we didn’t have accurate representation of what many people looked like. Pictures of famous historical figures like George Washington (the first United States President) and others attest to this, so photography and photos are especially important in the long term. Keep those memories alive by backing up, scanning and restoring all your photographs. In many situations, you can restore photos to their former glory with a simple phone call.