- Arts and Design
How to Scan & Restore Photos - An Easy Step by Step Guide
Photo Restoration at Home
Here is my simple guide to “Scanning and Restoring Photos at Home” including some great easy ways to achieve instant photo enhancement.
Excellent results can be achieved from scanning and restoring photos that have been torn, scratched, water damaged, or have simply faded over time.
Thanks to the increasing simplicity of today’s technology and the more affordable prices of scanning equipment and photo editing software, more and more people want to digitize old photos at home themselves.
Restoring photos yourself can be a rewarding experience; by following this simple step-by-step guide, you can easily bring your old photos back to life.
Step 1 – Scanning Equipment
Step 2 – Photo Enhancement Software
Step 3 – Preparation for High Quality Scanning
Step 4 – Scanning the Photographs
Step 5 – Photo Enhancement Techniques
Step 6 – Enjoy Restored Photographs in Digital Format
So, let's begin!
Step 1 - Scanning Equipment
The best scanning equipment for photo restoration doesn’t have to be expensive.
There are several scanners on the market that come highly recommended and will each do an excellent job of scanning amazing detail of your original photographs.
For the absolute best photo enhancement results, I would recommend an Epson or Canon flatbed scanner.
Step 2 - Photo Enhancement Software
Depending upon your budget, I would recommend purchasing Corel or Adobe software for superb photo enhancement and editing.
Step 3 - Preparation for High Quality Scanning
It is worth investing in a “blower brush” to remove surface dust on your old photos before beginning the scanning process.
Handle photographs as little as possible to avoid finger marks (these really show up on digital images). It is definitely worth buying an inexpensive pair of photographers’ white gloves.
Wipe the scanner glass periodically with a soft cloth to remove smudges and fingerprints.
Step 4 - Scanning the Photographs
To begin, create and name a new folder on your computer where you will store your scanned photo images.
Scanning your old photos is probably the most important stage to get right! If you scan at a low dpi resolution, you will end up with a poor quality digital image. What is dpi? Dpi is a measure of digital resolution. The higher the dpi, the more dots per inch, which means a much better quality digital image.
- Set your scanner to scan your photos at a minimum of 400dpi.
- For black and white photos, select “Greyscale”.
- Set your scanner to save the images as a TIFF image; this will produce a large un-compressed file, which is ideal for the photo enhancement stage. (Alternatively, if you find these files too large, save them as BMP image. BMP images are smaller files than a TIFF, but not as compressed as a JPEG image.) You will want to improve/enhance/restore your image before you save it as a JPEG file (this is a compressed file, the most versatile format ideal for most uses, e.g. printing).
- Position and straighten the photo face down on the scanner glass, close the lid and begin the scan. The higher the dpi setting, the longer the scanner will take to scan the photo.
- Scan a maximum 2 photos at a time, your scanner will recognize the number of photos and will crop them accordingly.
- Save the images in the new folder, which you created on your computer earlier.
Step 5 - Photo Enhancement Techniques
Photo enhancement can be a time consuming process, but very worthwhile!
- Open the new folder in your software and select the first image.
- Depending upon your software, if your image is black and white you may need to select the “Greyscale” image mode.
- Keep your original image and do a “save as” to create a duplicate image to work on. Keep “saving” your new image to ensure you do not lose any of your editing work.
- Always work on your image “zoomed” in to magnify any blemishes, creases, or defects that need attention; it makes it so much easier!
- If your photo looks good “zoomed in” then you are guaranteed a good “normal sized” image.
- Choose dust/scratch removal - this will automatically remove the worst marks.
- The clone tool will help fix any problem area.
- Simply alt-click to select the area to replace the problem area and click, choose the size of your tool carefully and work a small area at a time.
- Sharpen the image if necessary.
- Red eye removal (with most software, this is just a click with the mouse).
- Brightness/contrast adjustment.
- Colour adjustment - This will improve colour in a faded photo.
- If the colour is still poor in your photo, choose the “Greyscale” option and make your image black and white. This can help to disguise lots of blemishes/stains and very often improve the “look” of your original photo.
- Crop your image.
- Save the result as a JPEG file.
If all this sounds like too much hard work or not cost effective, choose a company that will transfer your photos to digital format at a very competitive cost that includes the photo restoration work.
Step 6 - Enjoy Restored Photographs in Digital Format
Your photos in digital format open up a whole new world of possibilities, especially for that “unusual or special gift”.
To list a few that are available on various websites on the internet:-
Personalized film on DVD, Calendars, Photo Books, Mugs, T-shirts, Mouse Mats, Coasters, Jigsaws and Kitbags.
- Beach Wedding - Photo DVD Professional Service
Choose a Photo DVD Professional Service to transfer great photographs into a personalized film on DVD.