Spring clean your old photos with PaintShop Pro

Three years ago a terrible thing happened. I dropped my portable hard drive and lost a bunch of my photos. I was devastated because I hadn’t gotten around to backing them up and learned a very painful lesson about the importance of duplicating your digital pics. I hunted thru every email attachment, Facebook post and Flickr upload to salvage what I could, but most of those photos are now just faded memories.

During a recent spring cleaning session, I dug out a box of old photos I hadn’t seen in ages. I don’t have many pictures of my mom when I was little because a basement flood destroyed many of our photo albums. I knew “backing up” what I had left was critical, so I made it my mission to scan, repair and share my photos with my family. Years of sitting in a box or being stuck in one of those old yellowing photo albums meant a little TLC was needed to clean them up.

If you have the same need to “back up” your original photo prints, here are a few photo editing tips that helped me.

1. Scanning:
If you’re going to touch up or reprint old photos, scan them in at a high resolution. This gives you more pixels to work with and will let you reprint them in a larger size, if you want. I used a 300 dpi setting.

2. Cropping:
I had a lot of images to scan so I placed as many as I could on the scanner bed at a time and used Crop Tools “Crop as New” to quickly separate my scanned photos.

Unless you want try and restore the original photo edges, it’s best to crop them out too. You can always add a new border or photo frame when you’re done.


Always save your images and back them up. I create a folder for “Scans” and another for “Edited”.


Before retouching a photo, I duplicate the background so I can separate my edits from the original images. That way I can experiment more easily and show/hide my layers to see how it’s progressing.

In the Layers palette, right-click on the Background layer and select “Duplicate”. Make sure you apply edits to the duplicated layer.

3. Photo restoration tools
Here are some of the photo Restoration tools in PaintShop Pro that I recommend you experiment with. The tools you use will depend on the type of damage you are trying to repair. I start by trying to correct obvious scratches, discolorations and spots before making all over enhancements.

Fixing damaged areas:

This image had some discolored lines and spots, so I used these two tools for spot fixes:

Scratch remover: Select this tool from the tool box. The Learning Center palette will give you step by step instructions on how to use it. To turn the Learning Center on, press F10 or select View menu > Palettes > Learning Center.


Blemish Remover: Select Makeover tools and choose the Blemish Fixer from the Tool Options palette above.

4. Overall adjustments

Noise removal:
Adjust > Digital Noise Removal
For this image, I used a correction setting of 30.7 and left everything else at the default.


I selected the Straighten tool from the toolbox and used the back counter to place the straighten guideline on.

I used Fade Correction found in the Adjust Menu > Color > Fade Correction to bring back some of the detail, and then added an adjustment layer for Vibrancy to enhance the colors.

5. The finishing touch

Finally, I added a Vignette to give the edges a soft look. You can find that in the Effects menu > Photo Effects > Vignette.


These photos mean the world to mean and my family. Being able to preserve and share them is priceless.

If you have any tips for photo restoration, let me know below!

About Evelyn Watts

I’ve spent over 12 years in the software industry, with the last 6 years as a Product Specialist and Field Services Manager for Corel. This requires the ability to learn quickly, travel a lot, speak in front of hundreds of people and essentially be a software jockey and corporate ambassador. Recently I’ve become the Global Product Marketing Manager for a product I’ve loved for many years.
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4 Responses to Spring clean your old photos with PaintShop Pro

  1. Matthew says:

    Awesome work Evelyn. I know how devastating losing an entire harddrive’s worth of data is. What I want more than anything is to learn advanced methods of data recovery because often it’s thousands just to get these things looked at. Which is a shame.

    And these are all excellent tips. I’ve used them myself when my mother was scrapbooking and to repair some old Kodak slides that had been damaged in preparation for my Grandparent’s 50th Anniversary.

    Would it be wrong for me to also suggest a book along with your tips Evelyn?

    Robert Correll, as you know, has done video tutorials and beta tested Paint Shop Pro and has a very good book that helps to go over many of these same things with some fun extras for dealing with photos you just can’t do much with. It’s called “Photo Restoration and Retouching with Corel Paint Shop Pro X4”

    I also recommend looking at Photoshop tutorials. Some of my processes for color balance and fixing images, and various graphical effects, came from tutorials that used a completely different tool like Photoshop. Unless the tools have become somewhat standard in all editing software the tutorials aren’t guaranteed to transfer well. But when you get that one great piece of advice it makes a world of difference. (Using the delete key to move backward along a selection with the lasso tool, I learned that from a Photoshop video and was surprised to see PSP offered it also) It also helps you to learn PSP when you’re forced to look for equivalents in places where you never thought you’d originally go.

    PSP’s more graphic editing tools are perfect for a lot of photo restoration and retouching if you know how to mix them just right. 😀

  2. Pingback: The Corel World # 9: The Smartphone Geek’s Guide to Better Photos | Corel Blogs

  3. I enjoy Paintshop Pro. It has many of the features of its more expensive competitor and is user friendly.

  4. Lynn says:


    Thank you for your article. I also use the Salt & Pepper filter for my scanned photos. I leave it on default. Its under Adjust – Add/Remove Noise – Salt & Pepper Filter.

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