Do you have piles of family pics that you’d like to preserve as heirlooms? But you aren’t sure how to restore old photos that may have signs of damage or have faded?
Well fire up your scanner and I’ll show you some tips and tricks for photo restoration to bring them back to their original glory using Luminar Neo, like the image below.
To get started with photo restoration you need to first digitize your old prints. You can either do that yourself if you have a good scanner (use the highest resolution possible), or you can take them to a camera store that offers that service (it can be expensive if you have a lot of prints).
Make sure you start with good original files. You want the highest resolution, a good sharp scan, and try to eliminate as much dust during the process as possible. Don’t make more work for yourself later by being lazy with the scanning and doing it in a hurry. Take your time and clean everything including the scanning surface.
What is photo restoration?
Back in the days before digital photography, the process of restoring old photos was much more tedious and not really something you could do yourself. The prints had to be photographed first, then any dark spots or marks had to be retouched on the negative. Next, a new print was made and retouched, and finally, that was photographed again to make a new master negative.
Now with the availability of scanners and photo editing software, you can do this at home much easier. The key to photo restoration is to bring them back to life by fixing issues like fading, damage, scratches, color shifts, and more.
It can seem daunting but if you follow these few essential steps and work slowly and methodically, you can achieve really good results.
- Crop to the image edge and straighten
- Fix contrast issues and darken faded areas to bring back contrast
- Retouch spots, scratches, and other flaws
- Fix and sharpness issues
- Correct faded and off-color, color images
- Make the image larger and printable
Using Luminar Neo to restore old photos
You can use any software to do this, but if you are a beginner or new to photo editing I recommend Luminar Neo. The tools in this software will help you restore your photos to their old glory.
Watch the video tutorial below to learn which Luminar Neo tools to use for each of the steps above.
As mentioned above, you can also do photo restoration with Photoshop or Lightroom if you use Adobe products. Or if you have Lightroom, Photoshop, and Luminar you can use a combination of all three.
Just do your first edits in Lightroom and use it to catalog and sort your images. Then right-click an image and choose Edit as Smart Object in Photoshop to open it. From there you can apply Luminar Neo as a Smart Filter (non-destructive editing) and any other tools you want to use in Photoshop.
If you have images with a lot of damage like tears or pieces missing, then you may have to use Photoshop and some advanced techniques. But that kind of editing is beyond the teaching of this tutorial and you’ll need some mad skills to pull that off. I’m not even sure I’d take that on myself, to be honest.
Here are a few more before and after examples of the images demonstrated in the video above.
Now it’s time to dig out those old photo albums
Do you have any old family photos lying around in albums or boxes?
Have you wanted to do something with them but weren’t sure how to go about it? Tell me in the comment area below if you’re inspired to take on this project now! I think I’ve inspired myself!