Photos lying scattered on table

Whether you are preparing a family history book, creating a wall of family photos or constructing a collage, you can repair your old or damaged photos yourself. Photo restoration is often fairly easy and with a little time and patience, you can save a lot of money. Mouseover the images to see the original photo.

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Put on a pot of coffee and open a document on the computer or have a pen and paper handy. It’s time to sort through the boxes of old photos, noting who is in the picture, when the photo was taken and any story behind it that you can recall. 

Get all the old albums and any slides and negatives you have stashed, too. If you had the old albums with the magnetic pages, your photos may already have shifted color but don’t worry. We’ll have it looking like new with some simple photo restoration.

Whether you are preparing a book or creating a wall of family photos,  you can repair your old or damaged images yourself. Photo restoration is often fairly easy and with a little time and patience, you can save a lot of money. Put on a pot of coffee and open a document on the computer or have a pen and paper handy. It’s time to sort through the boxes of old photos, noting who is in the picture, when the photo was taken and any story behind it that you can recall. Get all the old albums and any slides and negatives you have stashed, too. If you had the old albums with the magnetic pages, your photos may already have shifted color, but don’t worry. They can look like new with some simple photo restoration.

What if they’re damaged?

Almost everything is repairable. If you can color inside the lines, you can do almost anything with a photograph. Water damage, mold, rips and tears, rippled paper – all of it can be brought back to new condition with a little know-how and a delicate touch.

Do you need Photoshop to do photo restoration?

If you think you will be doing a lot of work with photos, then Photoshop is definitely worth the investment. It is the program of choice for anyone doing this kind of work but there are other programs that will serve the purpose just fine. One of the most important features to look for is Layer Masks that have variable opacity.

Don’t worry if you don’t know what that means right now!

It will all make sense as we go along but it’s important to make sure your program has it. GIMP has this feature. It is probably one of the best free photo manipulation software programs available and is Windows and Mac friendly. Get GIMP here. Take a moment to look around the GIMP site while you’re downloading and you’ll find pages and pages of free tutorials.

If you are using Photoshop, the version doesn’t really matter. Earlier versions as far back as PS7 can do anything the later versions do except it may take 2 or 3 steps more.

Software like Irfanview, as excellent as it may be for many jobs, is not the best choice for photo restoration.

Now that you have your photos organized and your software ready, it’s time to start getting those images onto the computer. If you have a home scanner, it will get lots of use. If you don’t, go through your photos and decide which ones you want to use and have it done professionally. Although many online businesses offer low rates, it may still be more affordable and safer to invest in a scanner and do it yourself. You don’t want to trust your treasured family photos to a company you don’t know.

If your photos are really dirty or dusty, you may want to prepare them before scanning. Find out how here. All set? Let’s get started scanning.

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