Do you have any old family photos from the days before digital cameras (yeah, remember those days?)?
Maybe they’re really old photos from your granny or great-granny’s time and have suffered through the passage of time to look a bit battered and worn now.
How frustrating it is not to be able to create great scrapbooking memories from them just because the quality is so poor.
So I thought we might look at some ways in with you can use your computer and photo editing software to try and fix up these photos and give them a new lease of life.
Damage around the edge of your photos
Many of our really old photos have had a hard life. And it often shows in the dog-eared edges that they have developed over the years.
If the damage around the edges of your photos doesn’t extend too far into the photo, and if the background in this area is not important to the context of your photo, then the easiest way to deal with this is to crop the daggy edges off.
Now before we go any further I need to stress that you should not physically crop your old photos. It is the digital versions that I’m talking about. The digital image you have created after scanning your photo (using some of the tips in 6 Top Tips to Photo Restoration with Your Scanner).
The instructions in this article are based on Photoshop Elements but all good photo editing software programs will have similar tools and functions
- Load your scanned photo into your photo editing software
- Select the Crop Tool from your tool bar and drag the mouse across the part of the image that you want to retain in your restored photo.
- Release the mouse button and click on the accept check mark to crop your photo.
Dark and Gloomy
Often your old photos will actually grow darker with age as the black ink on your black and white prints starts to ‘take over’.
It’s important to try to fix as much of this as you can at the scanning stage as described in my earlier article on using your scanner to help with photo restoration.
By adjusting the lighting with your scanner you can capture much more detail and you will be able to further improve on this using your photo editing software. If you don’t make this adjustment at the scanning stage then this detail will be lost and no matter what else you do, you won’t be able to get it back.
Once you’ve scanned in your photo, play around with the lighting, shadows and highlights functions and also with the brightness and contrast as I described in More Tips for Photo Restoration.
Here’s how to lighten up those dark and gloomy looking photos: