The world we live in is fast-paced. We are exposed to so much information that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and sometimes numb. The beauty of photography is that it allows us to pause and reflect with a new sense of perspective, unlike the flash of an instant.
Old photographs are a beautiful representation of the past, capturing moments full of meaning for their subjects but seem mere memorabilia for us now. But sometimes, we can find something special in these photos.
The good news is that there are many techniques for restoring and improving old pictures, some of them simple. All it takes is a bit of patience and creativity. This article shall discuss some of the top ways to restore old photos. Those ways include;
1. Fixing the minor old photo issues
The first thing to do would be to fix the common issues that often come with old photos. In most cases, the background is too dark, or parts of the image are faded out. Fortunately, there are many ways to fix these issues. Here are the more popular ones:
1.1 Fixing background issues with filters in Photoshop
If your photo has some dark backgrounds, there’s no need to worry because it’s effortless and fast to fix such an issue. Just open the photo you want to restore and use the Crop tool to remove the unwanted background. Then, follow these steps:
Set your camera’s image mode to RAW. Now open your photo in Photoshop and hit CTRL + U to unify the layers. Now you can use any of these two filters to fix/enhance your old photographs.
1.2 Fine/Medium Grain
This filter simulates the texture of your film, which is very good for black and white pictures.
1.3. Gaussian Blur
This filter softens the image; it’s more natural than using the ‘blur’ tool. You can also use the blur tool to fade out dark areas in your photo.
2. Get a picture frame made from the same material as your photo
You can try this technique if you want to restore old photos into new ones and bring back the original color. However, it is also good to find old frames similar in color to your photo. The trick here lies in matching the background with your photo since it’s difficult to do if they are of different colors.
How to know what size picture frame you need?
Just measure the size of the photo and remove (cut) the extra space from around it. Remember that you need to be careful about the photo’s proportions. Otherwise, you will end up with a picture that does not look very natural in its new frame.
Another option for places that do not have frames of your desired color is to print your photo in white and mat it in black. You can easily make any color frame look like one from any era.
3. Consider photo enlargements from original photo negatives or old prints
If you want to restore old photos, but are underwhelmed by the quality of your image, don’t give up yet. You might be able to resolve this problem by considering photo enlargements from the original photo. However, larger photos will only work if you have access to the film negatives or old prints that you can use as reference.
4. Scan the photos in high resolution
If you want to restore the highest quality photos, the best thing to do is to scan the photographs at a high resolution. However, if you use a flatbed scanner, you need to be careful about its settings. The scanner should be set to the highest resolution possible.
You will avoid distortion since these pictures were shot with low-quality film. If you use a flatbed scanner, remember that you should scan photos in black and white (without any color settings). The resulting image will be much sharper compared to scanning a color photo.
5. Use different colored backgrounds for your photo
This exciting technique can bring new colors and create beautiful effects if you want to restore old photos.
To better understand how great this technique can be, consider the following example: you have a black and white photo, but you want to give it color. The first thing to do would be to add a blue background. Then use the Pen tool or whatever else you want to use to create colorful shapes over it. You can also use a color picker to add color to your photo.
As you can see from the example, this technique can have many different effects, and it brings new colors that make the photo much more enjoyable. So if you want to restore old pictures, this technique is a fantastic way to do it.
6. Use a software program for igniting (darkening) the whole photo
The software can be very effective for restoring old photos. It also helps to create a professional-looking result with many effects. If you want to restore old pictures, you can use this technique to highlight details and make your image stand out.
7. Put the picture in a locket
Another option is to put the photo in a locket. If you are using a locket, it should match the color of your image, so you will have to make sure that they have similar backgrounds. That way, you can get a unique locket that matches your old photos perfectly.
How to get a picture for a locket?
The careful process of restoring old photos will allow you to make a picture for a locket. You can even find lovely frames which you can use to put your photo in it and give it the same look. When choosing the picture for a locket, you need to consider the following;
Background of the pictures
The background of the pictures you need to choose should match to avoid looking weird.
It is possible to use photo restoration techniques to cause the background to match your picture. You can also place the picture inside a mat board with a color matching the image or put it in a locket and attach it to your chest.
You can also use other creative methods to add pictures to lockets. For example, you could make an image on paper, then arrange it so that each side matches precisely with the locket.
8. Print your photo in a digital photo printer
If you want to restore old photos, you could use an app or digital printer to print out your picture. The process is relatively easy, but the result is not always satisfying. This printed photo hardly stands out from other images taken from high-quality film or scanner machines. However, if printing is the only option, it’s better to use a good inkjet printer.
Restoring old photos is a challenging task that requires patience and much work. However, you will be so glad you did it in the end. By restoring old pictures like that, you are not just making them look more appealing; you are also helping preserve history by making sure that important events in history never get lost.
I’m a writer, artist, and designer working in the gaming and tech industries. I have held staff and freelance positions at large publications including Digital Trends, Lifehacker, Popular Science Magazine, Electronic Gaming Monthly, IGN, The Xplore Tech, and others, primarily covering gaming criticism, A/V and mobile tech reviews, and data security advocacy.