We all have those special moments captured on camera that we always cherish in our hearts. Those moments could be periods of one form of celebration or another, be it birthdays, picnics at the beach, anniversaries, night outs with your partner or spouse, etc. Once upon a time, almost the whole world was all about Polaroid pictures. We are in the information age now, and digital photography has taken over. But those old photographs are there, and you just don’t want to do away with them. How then can you give life to your old photos? These photos have a tendency of deteriorating, speckling, fading, creasing, and cracking with time. Is there a way you can keep those treasured moments for life without sacrificing quality?
The good news is, yes! You can give life to old photos using the number one design software in the world, Adobe Photoshop. With this tool, formidable though it is, you can restore your old photographs and preserve them for life! Digital photo restoration is a bit challenging artistically as well as technically, but with the necessary skills, you can restore old photographs and preserve them for generations in the future. Let us check out the top five ways of giving life to old photos using Photoshop (this is after you must have re-photographed or scanned the old pictures and then opened up the image in Photoshop):
Digital photo restoration is a bit challenging artistically as well as technically, but with the necessary skills, you can restore old photographs and preserve them for generations in the future. Let us check out the top five ways of giving life to old photos using Photoshop (this is after you must have re-photographed or scanned the old pictures and then opened up the image in Photoshop):
1. Create a duplicate of the original layer
One of the best ways that designers follow when restoring old photos is to create a duplicate layer of the original image. All your work will be on the new layer so that you can always check the original version on the original layer so that you don’t go overboard with the restoration process. Duplicating a layer in Photoshop is easy; just select the layer you want to duplicate on the ‘Layer’ panel and press ‘Ctrl-J’ on your computer keyboard. Never work on the original layer that bears the original scanned image of the old photo.
2. Tidy up the borders by trimming or cropping it
Since the picture was scanned and uploaded to your computer, the edges may be visible and it is necessary for you to cut the borders. Of course, you know where to find the cropping tool in Photoshop.
3. Get rid of speckles
One of the most common features of old photographs is the presence of dots or specks. If you don’t remove them from the image, the outcome of the photo restoration process may not be too good or satisfactory.
Make sure that you work at 200%; this will enable you to see what you are doing very clearly and then use the spot healing tool to remove the specks. For detailed cleaning of the image, use a small brush size. Do your best and leave the rest.
You can also use the clam stamp tool if you find out that the background of the image is a little too smooth. This tool can be used to restore the texture of the background.
4. Using the Clamp tool for cleaning out large marks
Before using this tool, duplicate this layer so that you can keep checking the previous version to verify if you are still on course or not. With this tool, you can clean out large marks by selecting ‘sample: current layer’. Then hit the ‘Alt’ button while clicking at the same time on a part of the background with a bright area. Lowering the opacity of your brush tool may help as well, although this depends on your image.
Whatever anomalies have been left behind when you were using the spot healing tool can be erased using the clone stamp tool. Re-sampling is important (just press the ‘Alt’ button and left-click) for each area that you choose so that you get the best match possible.
5. Use the Burn and Dodge tools to restore detail
This is where you will do your best to restore whatever part of the photograph that has been affected as a result of aging.
When you select the ‘burn tool,’ you can then set ‘range’ to ‘shadows.’ Also, duplicate this layer as this would allow you to lower the opacity later on so that you can get the correct balance. You can name the new layer any name you can easily remember.
Whatever shadow that has somehow been faded out should then be ‘burned’ gently. This is to enhance the details of the shadows to give them more clarity.
Once you are satisfied with the outcome of the last layer you created, you can create another layer so that you begin the process of merging the background of the image. On this new layer is where you will be using the dodge tool, but sparingly. In fact, you don’t need to work at 200% or even 100%. Just make adjustments according to your requirements.
The main point to take away here is all about restoration. You may think you should go ahead and use the full extent of the photo editing program on the old photograph, but resist the temptation to do this. It’s all about making sure the picture looks like it used to be when it was first taken many years ago.