Sources - Where?

Old photos that have been stacked tend to stick to each other. When prying them apart, these photos can tear and be ruined. Humidity is the biggest detriment to old photographs. It causes the edges to curl and makes photos stick together. The sun can also damage old photos by fading them. Use these steps to restore your old photos.


Obtain a high-quality scanner.

  • The price of scanners has decreased considerably. You can buy a good-performance scanner for less than $100.
  • Clean the glass of the scanner to ensure it is dust-free.
  • Scan the photograph.<br><br>[[Image:Restore Old Photographs Step 2.jpg|center|550px]]
  • Choose a high-resolution scan sized to at least 100 percent. Going too much higher than 100 percent might cause blurring. Scan the image a couple times at different sizes to determine the best percentage.
  • Save the file as a tiff rather than a jpeg. The jpeg format tends to lose detail.
  •  Put the original photograph back in a safe location.

Open photo editing software. 

I use Adobe Photoshop.

  • Repair colour, brightness and contrast issues.
  • Open the basic editing levels in your editing software.
  • Play around with the sliders. Move the brightness level up to brighten a dark photo. Adjust the colours to remove a red tint. Bring up the contrast for washed-out photos.
  • Save each version you create under a different file name so you can compare later and choose the best restoration.
  • Fix scratches
  • Magnify the photo on a specific scratched area. Keep a window open of the whole photo so you can observe the changes made.
  • Open the "dust and scratches" filter and begin applying the cursor to scratched areas. Work slowly and check the image often. This filter tends to remove detail along with repairing scratches.
  • Fill in missing portions
  • Open the "clone stamp tool" on your editing software. It might have a different name depending on your particular software.
  • Select a portion of the photo you would like to clone. Click once.
  • Move the cursor to the area you would like to repair with the cloned material. Apply the detail carefully. Fill the area completely.
  • Adjust shadow detail with the shadow options on the clone stamp tool. Look at the image as a whole to determine if it looks natural before continuing.
  • Crop away torn edges with the crop tool.

Print the image.

  • Use an inkjet or special photo printer with glossy paper to print out your restored photograph.


  • If you perform an action by mistake or do not like something you've tried to repair go to "Edit" and select "Undo".
  • You can scan your photographs at a print and copy store relatively cheaply if you do not have access to a scanner.
  • Even if the photograph is in black and white, scan the image as a colour image to capture the nuances of the black and white.


  • Do not rip photos apart that are stuck together. Placing the group of photos in a bath of warm water for about an hour can loosen them without damaging the picture.
  • Restoring a photo that is severely damaged can be quite difficult. If more than half of a subject's face is damaged, you might not be able to repair it without the assistance of a professional.

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