How to Restore Old Faded Photos?

Let's face it, with the passage of time, our old photos can get damaged or lose their charm. It's not just you? a lot of people also complain of their photos having a vintage tint or losing their colors. Well, the best way to fix this issue is by undertaking a complete old photo restoration process with any reliable image editor (like Photoshop). Here, I'm going to provide a stepwise solution on how to restore old photos like a pro. Let's begin!

Old Photo Restoration Banner

Part 1. Reasons for Old Photos Being Faded

Before you restore old faded photos, you should know about a few things that would help you keep them safe.

  • In most cases, photos fade with the passage of time due to wear and tear, dust, exposure to sunlight, and moisture.
  • In your house, they can be exposed to different chemicals or smoke that can decolorize them.
  • When photos are exposed to sunlight, the UV rays can break the chemical bond of the dyes and cause patches on your photos. The process is known as photodegradation, and it is recommended to keep your pictures in dark to avoid it.
  • Besides that, there could be any other reason (like exposure to water or fire) that can damage your photos.

Part 2: How to Restore Old Photos and Give them a New Life?

While your photos can fade or lose their charm with time, you can always implement some smart techniques to restore them. For instance, you can use an image editor (like Photoshop) to restore coloring on your photos or reduce noise. Here's how to restore old photos by following a stepwise approach.

Step 1: Digitize your Photos and load them on Photoshop

To get your old photos enlarged and restored, you need to scan them first. You can use any reliable scanner to make a digital copy of your photos and save them on your computer.

Now, simply launch Photoshop to drag and drop your image or just go to its File > Open feature to browse and load any old faded photo.

Photoshop Open an Image

Step 2: Make Minor Edits (like Cropping and Rotating)

Great! Once your image is loaded, you can start the old photo restoration process. At first, you can go to the sidebar and click on the crop icon that would let you crop your photo in a preferred ratio.

Photoshop Crop an Image

To get old photos restored, you might have to align them as well. To do that, just right-click the photo and go to the Ruler option that would help you straighten its alignment.

Photoshop Using Ruler Tool

You might have to rotate images as well to restore old faded photos. You can go to Photoshop's Menu > Image > Image Rotate and choose any predefined or arbitrary angle for rotation.

Photoshop Rotate Options

Step 3: Implement the Noise Reduction Filter

Adobe Photoshop has an inbuilt option to reduce noise in your photos that can be helpful in the old photo restoration process. You can access it by visiting its Menu > Filter > Noise and clicking on the 揜educe Noise?button.

Photoshop Reduce Noise

Now, Photoshop will display a new pop-up that you can access to customize the luminance and coloring noise in your photos.

Step 4: Correct Coloring in your Photo

A lot of old photos suffer from decolorization or faded spots. While Adobe Photoshop has an auto-coloring feature, I would recommend following a manual approach. For this, you can go to the Layers panel, click on the Adjustment Layer button, and select the Photo Filter button.

Photoshop Photo Filter

Now, you would have to manually set a preferred coloring option by visiting the Filter menu. You can choose warming or cooling filters with respect to the dominant color in your photos.

Photoshop Color Grading

Step 5: Make the Final Adjustments: Healing, Coloring, Vibrancy, and More

You are almost there in the old photo restoration process and could see visible changes in your photo. If there are any damaged spots in your photos, then you can go to the sidebar and visit the healing feature. From here, you can try the healing or spot healing brush to get old photos restored by fixing any faded area.

Photoshop Healing Brush

As the pointer would be changed, you can manually move it on the faded spots to heal them automatically.

Similarly, there can be damaged spots in the background of your images. To get old photos restored, you can choose the Patch tool under the healing panel. This will change the pointer to a tassel, letting you select any area that you want to remove from the image.

Photoshop Patch Tool

Lastly, you can work on the overall coloring and vibrancy of the image. You can simply go to its Menu > Image > Adjustments and find options to fix its exposure, hue, color balance, vibrancy, saturation, and other parameters.

Photoshop Change Vibrancy

After selecting an option, Adobe Photoshop will let you manually increase or decrease these parameters for your image to get the best results.

Step 6: Export the Restored Photo from Photoshop

After completing the old photo restoration process, you can save it on your system. Just go to its Menu > File > Export to save your photo in a preferred format to any location on your computer.

Photoshop Export Images

In this way, you can easily learn how to restore old photos on your computer with Photoshop. Besides that, there are several other options in Photoshop that you can use to improve the quality of your images. You can even try any other image editing tool to get old photos restored by following a similar approach.

Part 3: How to Prevent Old Photos from Fading?

As you can see, it is quite easy to get old photos restored by following a stepwise approach. Though, if you want to prevent your old photos from being damaged, then consider these suggestions:

  • Try adding an extra layer of protection (like of gelatin silver layer) that would protect your photos from auto-degradation.
  • You can consider getting premium photo frames that can block UV rays, protecting your photos from the sun.
  • Consider scanning your photos to make their second copy or simply digitize them to keep them safe on your computer.
  • It is recommended to store photos in a dark and dry environment where they can't be damaged by moisture or dirt.
  • You can place your photos in a premium quality album that would protect them from smoke, chemicals, and any unexpected damage.

I'm sure that after following this post, you would be able to restore old faded photos with the help of a tool like Photoshop. Although I have considered the example of Photoshop, you can explore any other editor for old photo restoration that would have the same features. Furthermore, to avoid your photos from being damaged, you can always digitize them or make backup copies. Feel free to implement these suggestions and share this guide with others to teach them how to restore old photos like a pro.

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