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.
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.
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
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!