Damaged, faded old photos of your ancestors, family heirlooms and childhood memories can be given new life with old photo restoration services. But should you use a local store or online site? Here we review the pros, cons and top providers of on-site and online old photo restoration.
Local Photo Restoration Services
Walk-in photo restoration chains like CVS, Walgreens and Walmart offer convenient on-site service during business hours like 8AM – 9PM. Turnaround is usually under 1 hour for basic repairs and enhancements. What makes them favorable are in-person help and fast turnaround. However, it may require higher costs, and results can vary in quality depending on technician skills. Original photos must be handed over temporarily during service.
- Color correction and exposure adjustment
- Cropping and red eye removal
- Basic retouching of small scratches
- Reprinting restored photos
Dedicated local restoration shops provide more intensive repairs for seriously degraded heirloom photos. Services take 1-2 weeks but quality is superior.
- Expert manual restoration work
- Repairing tears, mold, fading, stains
- Reconstruction of damaged sections
- Scanning and digital delivery
- Photo printing and album arranging
Pro shops deliver better restoration but are expensive and not widely available. It costs $50+ per photo and has inconvenience of mailing originals.
Online Photo Restoration
Online services provide restoration through uploaded digital copies so originals are not needed. They comes with AI software and human experts for restoring images.
Photoshop has powerful tools that can help restore old, damaged photos and give them new life. With some patience and practice, Photoshop’s retouching tools can help salvage old pictures. Here are some tips for reviving faded and scratched images in Photoshop.
Scan the photo
First, scan the old photo at a high resolution to capture as much detail as possible. Save or export the image as a JPEG or TIFF file.
Analyze the issues
Open the photo file in Photoshop and examine it closely to identify problems like scratches, dust, tears, stains etc. This will determine the restoration techniques needed.
Clean up dust and scratches
Use the Spot Healing Brush to easily remove dust particles and minor scratches. For bigger scratches, try the Healing Brush.
Fix tears and missing areas
Use the Clone Stamp tool to recreate and blend any missing areas or tears by sampling from other parts of the image.
Adjust colors and brightness
The Color Balance and Levels tools can adjust highlights, shadows and bring back faded color. Boost vibrance and saturation.
Use Unsharp Mask to resharpen blurred or grainy photos to bring out finer details.
Add finishing touches like cropping, straightening or lens correction if required. Finally flatten layers and save the restored photo.
By using Photoshop’s photo restorer, you can have more control over the image. It’s great for major color and repair issues but it may require professional skill in photo editing.
For those who are not familiar with Photoshop, AI photo restorer can be your go-to choice. For example, AiPassportPhotos has an AI photo restoration tool for automatic color, repair, enhancements. It works on both smartphone and PC computers, you don’t have to install any program. Steps to repair old damaged photos are as follows:
- Open AiPassportPhotos website and choose “old photo restoration”
- Click “Restore photo” and upload any image
- AI can automatically remove scratches, tear, enhance quality and colorize photos
- Save your new photo
Online pro services offer the best balance of quality and affordability. AiPassportPhotos provides high-quality automated restoration cheaply. Both free and subscription plan are available to choose from. No need to ship originals.
This powerful photo editor also lets you blur photo background to highlight your subject, retouch photos online, color correct images, cut face out of picture and more. Photographer, content creator or graphic designer can make good use of it easily.
For the widest access to quality photo restoration, online services beat out local options. Automated AI tools make professional-grade restoration affordable and convenient through digital delivery. Upload your old photos for a new lease on life!