Restoring Old Photographs

I'm curious if anyone has a thought on a process to accomplish the following. I have an 11"x 14" black and white photo that is showing some wear and tear as well as a few spots of foxing that caused some small areas to look as if they were bleached away.

I assume there is a way to scan it then use a program to digitally "fix" the image as best as it can be. That is a bit out of my wheelhouse. It is not valuable or even terribly sentimental to me. I want to give it to an old friend I haven't seen in 20 plus years as a gift since he liked it and recently recalled it. I did use a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol on it. That did take some dirt away but not much. I prefer not to experiment and leave it to a person who knows what they are doing! LOL.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.


Options in reverse order:

I've used ScanCafe.com before for both the scanning and the photo fixing. Even for a single picture, it's not expensive at .35 ea, a bit more if you want higher resolution. It includes adjusting it if its fading. They can fix the spots and tears but it's not included in the base cost. That you can decide how much you want to spend and then they fix for as many minutes/hours you pay for. You could spend $1, you could spend $100 if you'd like. One thing that brings the price up a bit is shipment is UPS each way.

That's the professional option. Option two, particularly if you self scan, is what you described. Photoshop has a photography specific subset called "Light Room". It does the adjusting of colors and removes fading well. There is a spot removal tool built in. Probably more than you want to invest in yourself, but I have it for even the relatively modest amount of photography I do. Almost all the photographers around here have that or full photoshop. You might see if one of them will do it, or I could possibly do some minor editing.

Next option is similar, just use a quick tool yourself. You may not want to try to learn about the spot removal, but programs will easily fix quite a bit. Freeware program I've used is call Irfan - https://www.irfanview.com/ One command and it'll fix all the fading and colors. That would be super easy, and maybe you just leave it at that.

Final option for a different route - take it to Staples and they will do the scanning. If you get a good tech who doesn't mind taking a second or two, they'll adjust the fading and colors and fix up quite a bit. You can even have them do that while they reprint it for the final result. All they charge for is the final print.


Along the lines of gC’s final recommendation is to take it to Dan’s Camera City. They have people there who do this regularly.

3wbdwnj 3wbdwnj
July 2nd

Hello, I have several photos that require restoring. They were my mom’s family photos and she is now in a Nursing Home. I would like to show them to her again at least better than the are now. They have been waterlogged in a photo album.

Alex Riddick Alex Riddick
July 2nd

Re: Restoring Old Photographs

Hello I have several photos that were my mom had in her photo scrapbook for years.
These photos date back to 1941 and afterwards. They were kept in the basement of our apartment building and the building was flooded and most were really tarnished.
However a few may look like they might be able to be restored. I wonder if you might be able to restore a few. I really hope you can look at them.
I have a few on my Facebook page- Alex Riddick.
What makes really would like you to observe them as these ladies lived in now defunct TB sanatorium called Glen Gardens which was on huge estate that housed my mother’s sister a other residents women and men in separate dormitories. This is historic in itself.
I have numerous photos from this year 1941.
Thank you, Alex Riddick.

Alex Riddick Alex Riddick
July 2nd

Re: Restoring Old Photographs

To Alex Riddick
I wonder if this retouched photo photo is of some help to you. Not professional, just trying to help

wondering wondering
July 2nd

Back to the Top | View all Forum Topics

Leave a Reply

To comment on this topic, fill out the form below. If you would like to comment directly to one person, you may click on the envelope next to the posters name if they provided their email.

Re: Restoring Old Photographs
Name (Required)
Email (Protected)
Add Photo (Optional)
By pressing Submit Comment, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions.