There are many reasons why people want to restore vintage photographs. They are proofs of the eras that have gone by. They might even act as an historical reference to those times. For the subjects of such photographs and their family, such photos also have a bounty of emotions attached to them.
Memories of generations are kept safe in the forms of little trinkets or photographs from the past. Photographs from the old era normally carry a lot of emotional value. Vintage photographs represent a beautiful era where everything was very different from the way it is now. Photography used to be an elaborate process in those days. The equipment was different and not very commonly available. This is why, the photographs of that time represent special or important occasions and this is another reason why we should make a conscious effort to restore old damaged photographs.
Since digital photography was not there at that time, the manner of saving these photos was very different from what it is today. The camera reel had to be developed and all such photos used to be taken to their owner. The photographs that used to be taken would be kept safely in beautiful photo albums. Nice as this concept is and even though it is still widely in practice, there are some problems that crop up with storing photos in this way. Albums are not opened every day and as time passes, these photos tend to get stuck to each other and when one tries to separate them, they may get slightly or completely damaged in the process. This is a very common problem in case of vintage photographs that have been kept in photo albums. Another problem is that since the photos in earlier days were developed using ink and paper of lower quality, they get subject to wear and tears. This meant scratches or marks on the photo surface, curling up of the sides and fading of the photo itself.
With the advent of digital photographs and high-quality photography equipment, this is no longer a problem. Instead of developing the photos, people now prefer to get them printed. This is also cheaper and quicker than getting an entire reel developed. Various tools have now been introduced that aim to restore, fix or correct the damage that has been sustained by vintage photographs. Sometimes, you have to finally convert to black and white photos so that perfection is achieved. Adobe Photoshop and AKVIS Retoucher are examples of best photo restoration software programs that are being used to fix vintage photos. Photoshop takes a lot of effort depending on the damage sustained by the photograph but the end result is always satisfying.
Hopefully, the following steps will make the entire photoshopping experience easier for you.
STEP 1: The first thing that you need to do for repairing old photo in photoshop is to scan the vintage photo so that it can be transformed into a digital copy. Brilliant scanners are available from HP which aren’t heavy on the pocket. Take a digital picture of this vintage photo, trying to capture the maximum essence of the photo. Ensure that the bed of the scanner is completely clean and the digital image is of high quality; you should make sure that you are getting as much clarity as possible. This will also make your process of restoration a tad bit easier.
STEP 2: Improve the composition of the photograph by cropping and straightening it. This way, you also save yourself from fixing the border of the photo which would probably be a little distorted around the edges.
STEP 3: Make sure that the titled horizontal lines are running parallel with the overlay grid. Tweak basic settings like brightness and contrast so that the colours of the photograph are enhanced and more vivid. Photoshop restore old photo color options can come handy.
STEP 4: Keep an original copy of the scanned digital image. It is always a good idea to keep a backup. It also helps you as you can compare the difference that you are making in the edited photo. Try and stick as close as possible to the original photo.
STEP 5: A Healing Brush Tool comes in handy to fix damages like scratches, spots and wrinkles. You need to blend the texture from the source point with the colour of your desired result. To colorize old photos Photoshop takes the maximum amount of time because correcting the damage needs an eye for detail.
STEP 6: Some details, like a faded face, cannot be fixed. However, where there is a large area in a photo that needs to be fixed, you can take a similar area from another part of the photo and superimpose that selected area as a replacement.
STEP 7: Make sure to adjust the opacity of the image so that it lines up similar to the underlying pixels. Blend the edges that surround the image so that it looks natural and fresh.
STEP 8: If you want, you can fill colours in the picture. If the photo was originally black and white, you might prefer letting it stay as it was. Colours can be filled in, changed or refreshed as well. However, the effect of these colours is not similar to the digital coloured photos that we have now. If you want to colour the image, use solid colour adjustment layers that have specific modes of blending. Your aim is to get a natural looking photo with all the efforts that go in for digital photo restoration.
STEP 9: Save the restored image. Do not forget or you’ll have to go through the whole process again. Before saving, make sure that the end result is to your liking. Zoom in to check properly. Sometimes, we are oblivious but an apparent smudge or a weird spot is still left somewhere. So, make sure that does not happen.
Photoshop takes time to master. There are so many tools that one cannot possibly understand in a single sitting. Do not fret. Start with tools that are easier to understand and simpler to implement. Begin by restoring photos that have been only slightly damaged. You can start from the least damaged ones and slowly build your way up. All photoshop Software come with extensive directions so that the user can utilise the offered tools to their maximum ability.
Also read the step by step guide to restore heavily damaged images in Photoshop.