How to Restore Photos
Restoring Old Photos
Photo Editing Software
Most photo editing software will have the tools for restoring photos. There are some very basic photo retouching tools that are automatic. They will enhance your old photos at the click of a button.
In this hub, I will be using Corel PaintShop Pro X4 Revision 14.2.01. The software is available from Corel.com or several online vendors such as Amazon.com, Target.com or others. I have also included a link to the photo editing software available at Amazon.
PaintShop is intimidating at first, but after having used it for over ten years, I can safely say it is the easiest photo restoration and retouching software available. It is reasonably priced at about $50 which is way less expensive than the "name" brands of digital photography manipulation software. After learning to navigate the interface, you will be using it like a pro.
How to restore a photo - my experience
Adjust the size of a digital photo
Scanning - step by step guide
Photo RetouchingClick thumbnail to view full-size
I found an old photograph of my son that really needed help. It was black and white, grainy and out of focus. It will never win any photography awards, but it has a lot of sentimental value to me. I wanted to make a cute little photo for a memento box and this one was perfect.
I use a scanner to get my photos into my computer. This took a bit of practice to do the first time. You will need to read the directions for your scanner, but the biggest trick is finding the photo again after you get it scanned. So, before you even scan the photo, learn how to save documents to "My Pictures" or another file folder that you have created on your computer.
With Corel PaintShop Pro, there is an import button to click on under the "file" menu. You will have the option to import photos from your scanner or camera. This is how you get your photos into your workspace.
- After scanning the original photo into my workspace, the first step will be to "resize" the photo to a size that is easier and faster to work with. Web photos only need to be about 600 to 800 pixels wide or tall. If you are concerned about quality, make sure you are scanning to 200 dpi (dots per inch). Click on "image" then "resize". A dialogue box will open. Choose your settings and click on OK.
- The first step in retouching your adjusted photo after resizing it is to crop the photo with the crop tool to get rid of unwanted background or distractions. When you hover your mouse over a tool or other object, you will probably get a pop up display of what you are hovering over. You can alternatively crop first, then re-size, but get the basic photo the way you want it. Click on "file", "save as" and name this photo. The original will still be there, so you may want to save that too.
- Working with your cropped photo, find the "adjust" drop down on the menu bar. A dialogue box will drop and you can choose "One step photo fix" which will automatically fix most problems with lighting and scratches and such. Do another "save as" to save this third photo.
- Now comes the fun part! On the menu bar there is a button for "effects". Start going through each one that looks interesting and apply it to your working photo. If you do not like the effect, just hit the "undo" arrow. You can also find this function under the "edit" button on the menu bar drop down. Keep trying different effects and filters until you find the one you like. You can "save as" on any effect and create a new photo. Or you can just undo whatever step you just took. You may "undo" several steps if you choose by clicking on the undo command as long as it is active. For this photo, I found an effect called "vivid" which I liked and saved.
- The next step may or may not be the "clone" tool. There are other tools available, feel free to experiment! The clone tool is fabulous for getting rid of small to moderate sized blemishes in a photo, like the grass clumps. It can be tricky to use, so remember that undo command. In PaintShop Pro4, you also have the TIPS section for each tool. These tips generally pop up automatically when you select a tool to use. If the tip dialogue is not available, go to "help" plus "Learning Center" to display the tips on the right hand side.
- Since the sunflower was very washed out in this photo, I used the "paint brush" tool to color the petals. This took some experimentation and a generous use of the undo function. I finally found the right paint brush setting and added the color. I zoomed in to the photo to make this look really natural. Don't forget to "save as" and keep your original copy. All of the tools have individual settings and you will have to experiment with each setting. There are thousands of adjustments to make if you so desire.
- Lastly, I applied an effect called a "vignette". This applied a soft white fuzzy border around the center of the photo. It popped out at me and I cropped the photo again to its final size and printed it on matte photo paper. This is the photo I will decoupage to my little treasure box.
- The last photo in the slide show is a "save as" that I did when I applied a "sunshine" effect. i liked it a little, but not a lot. It's saved and I will delete it eventually. Don't be afraid to try new things. You never know!
With just a little bit of practice, you will be using PaintShop Pro X4 like a whiz kid. There are so many effects, you will have fun playing with them. Some of the other things you can do with photo editing:
- Get rid of "red eyes"
- Get rid of whole backgrounds and place your photo on a background in Paris or on the beach.
- Convert photos to black and white from color.
- Remove scratches and tears in a photo.
- Sharpen or blur things in a photo.
- Chop off their heads! Remove an old boyfriend/girlfriend.
- Turn people into cartoons.
- Add GHOSTS! or put Jesus in a cloud.
A good photo editing package includes everything you need to use your computer as a digital darkroom. You can highlight and dodge, print photos and add text or cute little effects. PaintShop can even make your photos have burnt curling edges just like the rookies used to do it.
The help files in PaintShop will guide you on any tool or on how to restore photos. The help files are probably easier to use than this guide. They are quite step by step and written so you can understand them. Make use of these files and play with your software. Think of it as a puzzle. How do I...? How do I get rid of a green shadow. Ask the help files!
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© 2012 Austinstar
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