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Restoring Old Photos

Category Preservation
Saving old, damaged photographs can be challenging. This guide is about restoring old photos.


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December 18, 2014

I have seen several articles on ThriftyFun pertaining to the restoration of old photos. They were well written and often showed before and after pictures depicting very impressive results. In most cases those results were obtained by using a 'paid for' computer software.

One such software is 'Corel'. It can be purchased, outright. A lot of people first encounter Corel by it being included in the overall cost of their computer's operating system. It came with my computer, and would require purchasing if used past the trial period.

Adobe's 'Photoshop' is probably the most well known software for use in the restoration of photos. Without a doubt, it is an excellent software. You will pay dearly for that excellence.

But let's remember, this site is all about being thrifty and having fun. There is yet another software which can produce excellent restoration results and is completely free! That software is GIMP. It is written in many languages and is available for Windows and Mac. It's authors are experts from around the world who are constantly refining and updating the software.

What I like most about GIMP is how easily it can be adapted to your learning skills. Often, a picture can be greatly improved with one click of the 'White Balance' tool. In contrast, a badly damaged photo may require the use of many tools and take many hours to produce the desire results. You set your own pace and you can learn as little or as much as you want.

If you need advice on a project, or want to learn a new technique, the GIMP forum provides help at no cost to you. If you don't already have an image editing software, I urge you to take a look at GIMP.

I have attached an example of my work using GIMP. When you view the picture, remember these three things:

  1. I am a self taught amateur

  2. The Restoration is not complete

  3. ...and yes, I have done a few things to enhance the picture rather than attempt to keep it as near the original as possible.
Get GIMP, Y 'all!

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By 1 found this helpful
July 26, 2012

I am the person that restored these photos. I scanned them into my computer and used Corel Paint to do the work. It's not easy. You have to have a good graphics program and you have to play around with the different tools and features available. I did a lot of cloning, smearing, and light correction. I taught myself through trial and error. As you can see, I uploaded a before and after pic of my husband and his 2 sisters, so you see the difference.


Source: Myself and YouTube

By Leigh from Litchfeild County, Ct

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
July 3, 2012

You showed the results of restoring the photo, great job, but how did you do it?

By Betty-Ann J

Answer this Question...


Share on ThriftyFunCheck out these photos. Click at right to share your own photo in this guide.

By 29 found this helpful
October 20, 2010

I haven't seen any photo restoration on here yet, and since it is one of my favorite pastimes, I decided to post a before and after photo of my work.


My husband's father was a rake, and a handsome gambler. He died 2 years before I met my husband, so I never got to meet him. Naturally when I saw this photo, I had to restore it. This is eye candy from the olden days! I am pretty sure this was taken in the early 40's.

I also restored this photo of my mother-in-law, taken on her wedding day. You can see how damaged this was. It took many months before I finally got it right. I did the work using CorelDraw/PhotoPaint, and was able to maintain the original sienna colors. I am glad this one wasn't torn up! I don't know when this taken. I suppose I should ask the hubby!


By Leigh

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