Recovering Faded Photos (photoshop)

First let us make it clear at the time of this I am not a photoshop expert. I learn by showing others, so this is my inaugural photoshop trick/lesson. This time we are going to be trying to recover an old faded photo (misnomer, it is actually compacted, but faded is what everyone catches innately). This is done in less than 10 minutes (probably less than 5). There are multiple ways to do this, this is the one I know at this time and is pretty simple. I will also touch it up a little at the end.

Setup: In order to setup, make sure your image is scanned with the highest pixel count you can get (this photo is 600px scanning resolution), and scan it as RGB.

    1. Select yourself a nice faded photo for your use. Here is my grandfather and his mother in 1952 
    2. You will need to edit out the entire border area, the extra white space will from the photo will cause problems, so just crop it out. 
    3. The first thing you will do is make an adjustment using the levels tool located usually on the right of your workspace. Click it open and you will see how will show a histogram.

      Histogram for level adjustment
    4. The histogram graph should stretch from 0 to 255, but in older photos the black gets pushed into the middle, leaving it almost zero before and after the histogram in the middle. This effects how your photo looks. This is why it is actually not a faded photo, but the information has been compressed and doesn’t fully stretch out. From here it is going to be simple, select Adjust Levels, then where it says RGB click on the drop down menu and you will want to do this for each of the three levels, the R, the G, and the B.

      Selecting each section of the RGB
    5. You will want to pull the arrows on the bottom to be at the start of the actual histogram and the end of the histogram. The result is you would drag the left arrow until you get to the start of the histogram on the left, and drag the bottom arrow on the right (under 255) towards the left until you get  them to be at the start of both ends of the histograms. Once you are done it should look like this:

      Where to move your arrows to.
    6. From there I utilized the spot healing tool to do some cleanup on the photo (there was a couple of fold marks. However that isn’t required and I will cover how to use that in another quick tip. I just wanted to show you how I got rid of some of the bends if you noticed them.
    7. This is the final image, it is less than 10 minutes work (that includes a quick healing tool use.

      The final 10 minute or less quick touch up.
    8. This is a comparison photo between the two for the difference. I was actually shocked at how easy it was. I also found having to order it in a written blog format made it easier for me to remember as well. So be prepared for future things.
      The difference less than 10 minutes makes

       

      So there it is, my first quick photoshop tutorial. I love suggestions, comments or tips.

One quick note!!!  This logic works on other things as well, such as Mac’s Photos apps too. So I would follow same logic, same tools if you can and that should work if you don’t have photoshop.

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