Old Photo Restoration

Like many people I have a shoebox of old family photos (from 20 to 60+ years old). Some are in good condition, others faded and washed-out. A few have cracks or folds. I’m looking for the best (and most affordable!) software solution. iPad or Mac.

I’ll scan them at 1200 resolution.

You may have a look at free PhotoScan by Google Photos, although it seems that the app is not maintained anymore.

I used VueScan. It wasn’t perfect but it worked, and it supports a wide range of scanning hardware.

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How are you scanning? Flatbed is probably the best approach. You might not need 1200 DPI resolution unless you are preparing images for a major gallery presentation. The extra size on disk isn’t going to make the update process noticeably better.

(I must have a foot in the grave for thinking that “20 to 60+ years old” is not old. :laughing: Who didn’t take digital pictures 20 years ago? )

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I have a number of these apps. I’ve been trying to scan photos but I didn’t like the way they turned out. So I just had my printer scan them and they turned out very nice. I scanned about 6 photos at a time too.

If you “know what you’re doing” then Photoshop or Affinity Photo have all the tools you’ll need. In Affinity Photo, the Inpainting Brush is pretty useful, allowing many blemishes to be removed at a stroke — one thing I found is if there’s a long scratch you sometimes need to attack it in parts if it crosses over high contrast boundaries. Every so often I resort to the Stamp (clone) tool for particularly tricky bits.

For the original poster, out of curiosity and because I’m in a similar situation, did you decide on an approach?

99% of the repairs can be done in LightRoom plus isn’t destructive unlike Photoshop.

Be sure you keep a good original with the faults. Historians want the original and retouched images are useful but not as much as the originals.

Great book on how to fine tune the scanning process and what resolution makes sense for what types of images is
Digital Imaging Book

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