The Process of Restoring Old Pictures

old photographs restoration

You might have heard a term named photo restoration or image restoration. Photo restoration or image restoration can be defined as the use of computerized recovering tools to create electronic versions of physical images.

In addition to this, the process of restoring photos, past or present, also involves improvising the image quality and fixation of the damages.

Photo restoration is not a newly introduced term; instead, it has its roots back in the past. The term has now become more common among people as the general public has widely used it. Therefore, the old photographs that have been deteriorated by the surrounding or environment are no more a matter of concern to anyone.

Technological advancement has resulted in developing a wide range of image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop. Moreover, with the introduction of consumer-level scanners, picture restoration has become much easier for the common people. However, it is not guaranteed that people can restore the old photographs perfectly by owning the right image editing equipment and tools.

For this reason, people who genuinely master in the photo touchup process offer professional services with high-end results.

Learning and excel in image editing software and restoring and reviving old photographs is a lengthy and challenging procedure. It often requires months or even years to excel and create excellent results truly.

The restoration and reviving of old damaged photographs through digital image editing tools involve using multiple software instead of one.

Therefore, only one software cannot be considered as the best for image editing. However, ease of use and understanding are also regarded as vital in learning picture restoration software. Keeping in mind these factors, the article elaborates on the steps involved in the process of image restoration.

There is a wide range of software that can be used for the process of image restoration. These software eliminate scratches, marks and give your old photographs a new look. Some software also allows you to remove skin flaws and change the colour or design of the clothes electronically. However, neither all the picture restoration software are user-friendly nor give you high-end results.

Among the top-rated image restoration software, one of the most popular has been selected, which you can download on your PC or laptop. Adobe Photoshop

It is one of the popular photograph restoration software. It contains several plugins and is well-suited to a variety of image layouts.

It comes with the updated tools and a user-friendly interface. The software is highly compatible with raster formats. The primary Photoshop format, i.e. PSD, is compatible with other image editors.

The software functions on PC and also has mobile versions of IOS and Android. Adobe Photoshop has a variety of tools, but they are somehow difficult to understand for beginners.

The popular clone stamp tool can be used at the primary level to perform restoration operations. The tool duplicates pixels of the nearby areas and removes the defects in the image.

Photoshop is not an easy software due to its range of actions and overlays. By using this software, beginners are introduced to a variety of image restoration functions. Moreover, in this era of the internet, many video tutorials are available to learn this software.

Therefore, neither it is too easy nor too challenging to learn this software. Many people rely on this software because it is a former and professional level picture restoration software.

In addition to this, there is a range of online picture restoration platforms that can restore your old photographs. However, these online photograph restoration tools don’t give you high-end or up-to-the-mark results. Therefore, instead of relying on the results of online image editing tools, one can seek professional help from well-known photo editing companies.

If you don’t want professional service, learning the software mentioned above will be a better alternative.

Steps Involved in the Image Restoration Process using Adobe Photoshop

When you choose to restore your old photographs through the software, Adobe Photoshop would be a good option.

There are specific steps in the image restoration process that you must follow to achieve better results. These steps have been explained below.

  • This step involves the gathering of various photo pieces for restoration. In case of extremely deteriorated or torn images, you will need to put together all the parts and capture their shot.
  • After this, you will need to use the lasso tool to select a single piece of the photograph and perform the function of copy-pasting on different layers. After copy-pasting all the pieces, the original layer needs to hide.
  • Then, you will need to form a mask for all the layers you have worked on. After this, you will need to use an edged brush to reveal the edgy points of the original image. A brush named 23px Chalk Brush is suggested to perform this step. The recommended brush is up to the expectations and gives excellent results.
  • This step involves setting up a layer under another layer. At this step, you will need to cover a layer under the one filled with darker colours. This will help graphically that where and how to conceal.
  • Along the border of the photo, start concealing it to clear out the surrounding parts or areas. This is an essential step in restoring an old photograph.
  • Assembling all the pieces is the most straightforward part of the restoration process. All you need to do is to match the ends of the various image pieces jointly. You don’t need to reshape the pieces for fitting it, as it will affect the final results.
  • To bring all the pieces closer, use the options of movement and rotation. During performing this step, prevent the pieces from overlapping.
  • After properly joining all the image pieces, form a group and a duplicate layer for safety.
  • Merge the recently formed group and cover all the layers under this group. After this, proceed to the next step.
  • By using the clone tool, remove all the scratches and marks.
  • Use clear parts to repair the damaged areas of the image. Prevent the repetition, as it will make the image unrealistic.
  • Repair the damaged parts of the image separately. Modify the brush size and zoom in the image where needed.
  • Remove torn parts that are easily visible. You don’t need to eliminate the extensive details.
  • Remove the wrinkles and bends in the image. After this, adjust reflection and glow and make the image clear by replicating the defects with the clean points.
  • This step mainly deals with the restoration of the complex parts that have been missed in the earlier steps.
  • This step needs extensive care during the fixation of the faces. Choose the smallest brush size and clear the damage from one pixel to another. However, you can leave tiny details for the next steps.
  • Change the image colour into white and black. Regain the shadows and contrasts and turn them into sepia. Form an adjustment layer of black and white colour in correspondence to the restored layer.
  • Replicate the layers and merge them. Hide the original ones.
  • Select the colour range tool and choose the right bends to bring back the shine and environmental reflection to the image.
  • Choose a feather radius of 5 pixels.
  • Select the burn tool and choose a large and smooth brush. Apply it until the rest areas look similar to the shadowed areas.
  • Select the crop tool and crop the image. While cropping the image, keep in mind that the original image content should be at maximum level. Crop very carefully to prevent the elimination of the required content.
  • Select a spot healing brush and remove all the spots.
  • Find and remove the spots from the defective part of the image carefully.
  • For the non-removable spots, use the paint option to paint the spots with a 1px brush size.
  • Use the noise reduction tool for the elimination of minor stains left on the image.
  • Duplicate the layer and apply the required setting. Don’t overuse the noise reduction tool.
  • Select the smallest spot healing tool to eliminate the dust and tiny stains on the picture.
  • Remove the minor visible spots on the face and check it out through zooming in and out.
  • If there are still many details, use the brush tool or clone tool to remove it.

The above-described steps were to give you an insight into the photograph restoration process.

However, the steps may vary depending upon the damage and software you are using.


Adobe Photoshop is undeniably one of the best image editing and restoration software. Professionals mostly use it for improving and modifying computerized images.

It doesn’t mean that other software and tools are not good, but Adobe Photoshop has its expertise and level. It offers a wide range of tools to its users to restore the damage caused by nature, age, or other factors.

Although technological development has led our world to the next level, the most satisfying fact is that it has also created room to revive old memories.

By using several software, an extensively damaged photograph can be brought back to its original condition.

This is the actual magic of the process of photograph restoration. Therefore, by understanding and learning the process, you can restore the past images while living in the present.

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