How to digitize and restore an old photo: instructions and tips

Need to restore an old photo? This may be required in different situations. For example, when digitizing a family album or as a service in a professional photo studio.

There is nothing extra-complex in the process of restoring a snapshot. Knowing the basic techniques, anyone can cope with this task.

To restore the frame, you need to choose the right program for your computer. There is a lot of such software – there are simpler and more complex editors.

As an example, we will take one of the simplest editors – PhotoVINTAGE. It will help to qualitatively hide the cracks, adjust the lighting and colorize the picture. Working with it is quite simple, even without any experience in photo editing. You can download the PhotoVINTAGE program from the official website.

To simplify the editing process, we will show you how to restore an old photo using a specific photo as an example. On the images you can see the result of work in the photo editor: before and after processing.

Digitization of paper photographs

Most often, old frames are stored in paper form in albums. To start retouching an image, you will need to digitize your photos. There are several ways to do this.

The easiest option is to contact a photo studio. So you can get high-quality photos in high resolution, but scanning will take time (usually from 24 hours) and requires financial investments.

At home, you can use a scanner to digitize pictures. The device will allow you to get clear frames, adjust the resolution and format. Also, you can avoid many defects: glare, dust particles, light and other imperfections.

In the absence of equipment, you can use a camera or a camera on a smartphone. For this method, you need to be extremely careful: you need to capture the picture, set the lighting above it and focus with the camera. Important: position the light so that glare and light do not appear in the photo.

Using a scanner will allow you to get high-quality material.

Image retouching

After digitizing the necessary images, you can start editing them. Each frame has its drawbacks: it can be faded, overexposed or dark, have cracks, dust particles or spots.

We will show you how to fix the main problems using the example of an old photograph. From the step-by-step instructions, you will learn about the basic techniques and intricacies of photo recovery.

Step 1: Cropping and Correcting Distortions

Many old photographs have a border with the name of the photo studio or the borders of the film. Also, when scanning, the file size may differ from the aspect ratio of the image. In this case, the result of digitization may include an area with an image of the copier.

To get a high-quality photo, you need to remove unnecessary borders. To do this, use the crop function in the photo editor. Go to the “Tools” section and select the appropriate option.

The image may have been upside down during scanning. To change its orientation, rotate the image 90 degrees.

Then adjust the size of the frame: in this case, you need to move the left border and cut off the excess space. If you want to keep the original aspect ratio, click on “Original Aspect Ratio” before changing the frame.

If you plan to share your work on social networks, you can adjust the aspect ratio of the photo. For example, a square image is required to post on Instagram.

Set the aspect ratio to 1:1 and change the position of the frame.

When using a camera to digitize paper photographs, you could get geometric distortions in the photo. This may be due to the focal length of the lens or the tilt of the camera. Defects can be corrected by adjusting the proportions and distortion of the frame.

In the “Tools” section, use the “Geometry” function. If the frame is convex, increase the distortion value and increase the aspect ratio settings.

Step 2 Fixing the Lighting

The photo may be faded, shabby, dark, or overexposed. To improve old photos, you need to adjust the lighting parameters.

When processing a dark shot, go to the “Enhancements” section. Raise the exposure value to adjust the brightness of the photo. Then brighten the areas with shadows using the appropriate adjustment. For a dim picture, you need to increase the contrast.

If there are highlights in the image, lower the Highlights and Highlights settings.

For detailed settings, you can use the “Curves” function. It can be used to increase or decrease contrast, increase or decrease brightness, and adjust the blue, red, and green color channels.

You can use ready-made presets or adjust the curve yourself. For a dark shot, create three points on a straight line: at the top, in the middle and at the end. Drag them to the left side so as to create a smooth arc. An example of the setting can be seen in the picture.

For a bright shot, the settings should be opposite.

Step 3. Retouching a photo

Retouching old photos may be required if the picture has cracks, scratches or dust particles. You can remove them with the help of special tools – a healing brush, a stamp and a patch. Each option is suitable for a specific problem.

“Stamp” is suitable for removing cracks, scratches and stains. To use it, you need to adjust the brush size, feathering degree and transparency. Then select the unwanted element. Two areas will appear: one – masking the problem, the second – including a texture to replace the problem area.

To change the area of ​​the image that covers the defect, drag the second selection to a suitable location on the photo. The tool can be used multiple times.

If you need to hide small defects and dust particles, use the Healing Brush. It automatically replaces the selected area and sets the replacement texture to match neighboring areas of the photo.

When using the option, you also need to adjust the size, feathering level and transparency. Then highlight the problem area. The neural network will automatically hide the defect.

With the help of a repair brush, we removed dust particles and small scratches.

To cut out unnecessary objects, use the “Patch”. It will help you hide a car, a human figure, a hand or a head that accidentally fell into the camera lens.

To use it, circle the unwanted object with the mouse and drag the selection to a location in the image with a similar texture. In the picture, we hid the hatch by copying the section of the photo with paving stones. The program will automatically correct the replacement.

Step 4: Colorize the Photo

When correcting black and white photographs, you can apply automatic colorization. This will make the shot more modern and realistic, as well as give a glimpse of how historical events, personalities or old streets looked like “in life”.

For coloring, go to the “Improvements” section. Click on the inscription “Make black and white color.” The neural network will independently correct your image and add colors. After that, you can correct the result manually.

You can also apply photo effects. The corresponding category includes color and black-and-white filters that mimic photographic film, movie tones, as well as retro effects and toning.

You can apply any preset and adjust its strength.

Step 5. Export the result

After processing is complete, you can save your work in all popular formats. Click “File” and select the appropriate option: quick export to JPEG, PNG, BMP, TIFF, or output with custom size.

You can change the quality of the work.

Article Conclusions

Now you know how to restore an old photo. This can be done with different software. When editing, it is necessary to remove unnecessary film borders, adjust lighting, retouch and remove spots, cracks, and scratches. You can also colorize a black and white photo, apply photo effects and add captions. The main thing is to improve the quality of the photo and export it in a convenient format.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.