How to Restore Old Color Photos

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Restoring old color photos is something you can do on practically any computer in existence. Restore old color photos with help from an experienced photography professional in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Tips for Photographers
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dan Reinecke with Unknown Media, and today I'm going to show you how to restore an old color photo. For this, we are going to get into our photo editing software so let's get to it. Alright so this is the old photo that I'm going to use to show you how to restore your old photos. First off I'm noticing this white line up here, usually that's what happens when photos get scanned in so what I'm going to do, I'm going to select my marquise tool here. I'm going to go ahead and I'm going to crop the image just a bit, just to get rid of that and maybe reframe it a bit. Now from here I'm going to go ahead and I'm going to add a curved layer. I want to go first and create just a nice general S curve, bring up the highlights just a bit and definitely deepen those shadows a little bit more because everything was a little bit too washed out and that's pretty good right there and you know, everything kind of has a little bit of a yellow tint to it. So I'm going to go into my blues and let's just add a little bit of blue to those highlights there to make that background white, there we go. Now let's go ahead and add a vibrance layer and let's just kick that up a bit, make the colors pop a bit more. Now what we can do from here, I'm seeing some dust specks and things like that so what I'm going to want to do is just select my background layer and we'll go ahead and select the healing brush. Now zoom in nice and tight in there. Now what you're going to do is use option just to get a sample of an area close to it, just to get rid of all these little, these little specks that are just kind of taking away, it could have got there through the scanning or you know, just old photos tend to do that on the white background here. Now just going around I could probably do this just about all day but for the sake of this we'll just clean it up just a bit more, the same with the background. Now I'm noticing there's a little bit too much red in the skin tone so we'll go ahead and add a color balance and here we can adjust everything from our mid tones to our shadows to our highlights. I'm going to go in here to our mid tones and just take a little bit of the reds out and that might be a little bit too much but I think that's pretty good. So with that with your vibrance and curves and color balance and just a little bit of the healing brush you can always restore your old photos. I'll go ahead and hide the layers that I used so that's what the photo was originally and that's it when it's finished. And that's how we restore old color photos. I'm Dan Reinecke, take your best shot.


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