Today, it’s easier than ever to store your images – the vast majority of today’s cameras use digital formats, so as soon as you upload your pictures on the computer, they can last forever. But not too long ago, we didn’t have this privilege – photos that were taken before pixel images took over the world are still part of our lives and need to be preserved, which can be a challenge. But no matter how carefully you store your photos, they will succumb to wear and tear sooner or later, and the only way to ensure that they remain in your possession forever is to restore and colorize them.
But how can you do that?
Well, to get you started, here’s a guide on the entire process.
Convert Your Collection to Digital Form
The first step to restoring your old photographs is converting them to digital form – only when the photos are on your computer will you be able to ensure that they are safe. Your photos are exposed to numerous elements such as water, heat, humidity, or mold, just to name a few, and no matter how you store them, time will still inevitably make the photos lose their quality and colors over time. However, if you put your photos on a computer, you can rest assured that they will always remain in perfect condition and, as long as you keep backup files, will be protected from any accidents. An additional benefit of photo digitization is the possibility to restore colors and correct any imperfections using software – sometimes it’s even possible to restore damaged pictures to almost perfect form.
But how can you scan your photos?
Well, it’s not an easy process and does take quite a lot of time. You will need to clean each photo individually and then scan them one by one, which can be a hassle if you have hundreds or even thousands of pictures you want to immortalize. Any dust or other particles left on the photos when scanning will be visible on the scans, so you need to be meticulous in making sure that each picture is properly cleaned.
Try Out Automatic Photo Correction Features
After you digitize your images individually, load up your digital files on image-editing software – the scans likely won’t look good initially, so you’ll need to work to ensure that the colors are restored and that you remove any imperfections or damage. The first and easiest step is to try automatic correction features that are available with your software. They should be able to correct the most common and basic imperfections that are a result of scanning or typical photo wear. Although it won’t solve all of the issues, at least not on all the images, it’s a quick way to improve the photos automatically, so you only have to fix the more complex issues yourself.
It will modify the colors and contrast, identify and sharpen the edges of the pictures, accentuate particular details and allow the image to become more defined. Since some dust or scratching will likely still be visible on the scans, you can use the software to remove these as well. Obviously, even though this feature is powerful on some of the modern photo editing software solutions, it won’t be able to fix all of the issues, especially if the scanned photos were older or had suffered damage from the environment.
Manual Photo Editing
For situations where auto-correction of the images doesn’t work, you can use the advanced manual tools that allow you to fix issues on your own.
These tools can help you tackle more complex problems such as blemishes or discoloration, to name a couple. But keep in mind, there is a learning curve when trying to manipulate images using the software – some of those programs are used by professionals and can be quite complex, thus be prepared to spend some time figuring out the features and learning to use them effectively on your images.
Luckily, all of the leading software solutions offer extensive manuals on how to use them, and if you want a more user-friendly way to consume the same info, you will probably be able to find tutorials and guides created by other users online.
Print Out Your New Photos
Finally, once you edit your photos and achieve the quality that you desire, you can print out your newly-restored pictures if you still want them in physical form and not just as files on your computer.
But if you do decide to print them again, make sure that they stay in good condition for as long as possible – store them in a dry and cool place where they’re protected from mold, heat, water, or insects.
A Simpler Way – Outsourcing the Entire Process
As you have probably gathered from this guide, photo restoration and colorization processes are very challenging and time-consuming, especially if you don’t have professional-level equipment and years of experience mastering the craft like a professional photo restoration services provider would.
What’s more, even if you do dedicate yourself to the project and spend months cleaning, scanning, and editing your photographs, the results will likely not be anywhere near what a professional could offer.
That’s why it makes sense to find a local photo scanning services company that can offer to handle the entire process for you. It will not only save you a ton of time, provide better quality results, but might actually not be that much more expensive than doing it yourself, considering the equipment and software that you would need to invest in otherwise.
And, instead of having to wait months to receive your digitized, restored, and colorized photographs, you might be able to receive the digitized pictures in a much shorter timeframe.