Restoring old photos using Photoshop

photoshop photo restoration service

Photo Restoration is an art that can bring memories from the past to life again, Restoring Old Photos using Photoshop needs skills that only can be gained through years of learning and practicing to give professional results when repairing an old photo.

If you ever wondered how a photo got restored, scratches removed, or even colorized.

In this article, you will find some technics that photo retouchers use to restore an old photo to look clean and finalized.

Here in Photorelive, we can fix your old photos professionally, with an affordable price for Old photo Restoration Service.

One of the most known problems of old photos is the cracks and creases in the material of the photo, which often happens by time when the photos are not stored safely.

Photoshop tools can handle these issues easily and remove the cracks or creases though the time it takes, it will look fixed in the end. Either the Stamp Clone tool, Healing, or Patch tool these three tools do almost the same job but in different ways.

In the Photo Restoration process, the first thing that needs to be done is the removal of the noise over the image which is very tiny scratches on the photo.

Here is an example of an old photo with cracks which was restored using the Clone tool:

torn photo restoration

Scanning the photos properly and cleaning them from dust can help not to scan much dust to ease and shorten the time of restoring the photo. Which is known to be time-consuming.

What is also known by the perspective of a photo, as the human eye can perceive and correctly identify if the horizon or straight lines in general are crooked in a photo.

Photoshop can fix this by making a lens correction to fix the perspective of the photo horizontally and vertically which makes the photo look more appealing and professional.

This is used more specifically in real estate and architecture photography, which is the most important thing to consider if a photo is taken by a professional photographer or not.

crooked horizon photo before crooked photo fix straighten photoshop

When scanning an old black and white photo it often includes a textured pattern that almost looks as in the pattern of bee cells, this is caused by the material of the paper the photo was printed on, old photographs usually had that pattern.

This is one of the most complicated things restoring an old photo as it costs the photo to be less sharpened to completely remove the textured pattern, the first solution can be done is finding the Negative of the photo and reprinting it on a smooth textured photo.

However, Photoshop can remove the texture as we mentioned by using:

  • The gaussian blur on a duplicated layer of the photo
  • Lower the opacity of the layer
  • Set the blending mode to luminosity
  • Use Unsharp mask to increase sharpness

The photo below is an example of a textured pattern scanned photo with the before and after version:

removing textured pattern from old photo

It was very rare in the past for colored photos to take place, they were either black and white or sepia colored tone which is that warm brown muddy color, we may call it black and white but it's actually not.

Sepia photos are black and white photos with slight red and yellow colors added to give that look.

Until today some people still prefer to have their special photos and memories colored in Sepia, which keeps the old feeling of a picture.

For making a Sepia colored photo on Photoshop the photo must be converted to black and white first, followed by applying Red + Yellow from the color balance tab.

sepia old photo

This is one of the things that take much time in the photo restoration process of an old picture, and the first thing a retoucher should do to clean the scratches here and there for a professional look.

Scratches are often found in old pictures if not stored in a good way, scratches would appear more clearly when the photo is scanned although the many scratches that appear on the digitally scanned photo wouldn't appear in the real old photograph.

However, an artist making the restoration on a photo must scan the image with High resolution to take a high-quality copy of the photo, although this will bring all the tiny scratches to appear clearly.

photo restoration scratches removal

The removal of the tiny scratches on the surface of the photo is usually in hundreds and can't be edited by hand, a retoucher would use a noise filter for the removal of scratches.

Photoshop has filters for that matter, though it doesn't do the best job all the time when restoring a photo.

A filter such as "Noise ware" that you have to purchase out of Photoshop can do the job with great results. And for the rest of scratches, the bigger ones get removed by hand using the Clone or Healing tool.

photo restoration scratches removal colorizing

One of the beautiful things Photoshop can do is colorizing old black and white photos, which needs a professional artist to colorize a photo, it starts by restoring the photo cleaning scratches, creases, torn parts.

The retoucher can then start the colorizing process, which he does through selecting each part and object in the photo and adding color to it.

The color must be as close as it can be to how the photo looked in reality, this depends on how creative the artist is when restoring and colorizing a photo.

Adding the colors to each part, followed by applying effects to make the color more contrasted and natural.

old photo colorizing

The most used tools in Photoshop regarding the sharpening is either the "Smart Sharpen" and the "Unsharp Mask".

Each has its job, while smart sharpen works more on the little details of a photo, Unsharp Mask sharpens the big and general objects in a photo.

They are both used on restoring old photos which are usually blurred to make the photos look clear.

Sharpening a photo must be used accurately so that it will not look overly sharpened, it needs an expert who understands how much an image would need when doing a photo restoration on Photoshop.

Chemical interactions can cause the photos to go yellow over time, with the sensitivity of the material of old photos. Photo color may change by time making the color being faded somehow yellowish color.

Photo Color Corrections can be done to restore and fix the colors of a faded photo or low contrasted through levels, curves and many other tools using Photoshop and other software.

restoring old faded photo colors photo color correction

Classic old photos with vintage color and feeling is still appealing to the eyes until this day, it has that warm and beautiful feeling.

A vintage photo is almost a piece of art that no one can resist looking at, discovering the past decades and how was the life back at those times.

old vintage image vintage photo sample old photo vintage colored vintage old colored photo


Restoring old photos is a type of special art that brings back memories from the past, making it a unique piece of art just.

To restore old photos nowadays is much easier with the wonders of Photoshop and other filters, though it still needs a professional retoucher to restore your old memories.

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