A Quick Fix for Faded Photos

with 8 Comments

Faded photos and so-so snapshots… we all have our share, don’t we? Maybe you have old family photos stuffed into shoe boxes or sitting around in albums. And as the years go by, they quietly fade into oblivion. But you don’t have to lose those memorable moments someone captured long ago. With a few simple steps, you can preserve those precious family photos so future generations can enjoy them too.

Or maybe you have some images that look, well… okay… but there’s just something about them that you feel is lacking. They might look a little dull or uninteresting. They could use a little zest and vibrancy.

Here’s a super simple technique you can use in both cases to enhance your images before using them on your scrapbook layouts.

 

For Adobe Photoshop Version click here.

Step 1: Turn Back the Clock

  • Open your faded photo in Elements. Press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) to duplicate the layer. Name it Enhanced.

  • Go to the Menu Bar and choose Enhance > Auto Levels. Already you may see some improvement in your image.
  • With the Enhanced layer still selected, press Press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) to duplicate that layer.

  • With the top layer selected, go to the Blend Modes menu and click on Multiply. You may find that this significantly darkens your image, or it may only darken it a little bit.

  • Lower the opacity on this layer until the image looks good to you. I set mine at 60%. Yours may differ.

  • Finally, with the top layer selected, press Ctrl E (Mac: Cmd E) to merge the two Enhanced layers.
  • Click on the eye icon next to the restored layer to hide it, and then compare it with your original image. Big difference, eh?

Now save your enhanced image as a JPG and rename it, leaving your original image intact.

Step 2: Turn Up the Volume!

You can also use this same technique to punch up any image that you feel could use a little extra boost of contrast or color. Take a look at these water lilies…the original image looks pretty nice. But, wow… what a difference in the enhanced version! Just follow the same simple steps outlined above.

And that’s how you can turn back the clock and turn up the volume on faded photos and so-so snapshots!

Image credits: Morguefile.com

Download a PDF version of this “A Quick Fix for Faded Photos” tutorial.

Windows: Right click on the link and choose “Save Target As” or a similar command. Mac: Click on the link to download the file.

 

Step 1: Turn Back the Clock

  • Open your faded photo in Photoshop. Press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) to duplicate the layer. Name it Enhanced.

  • Go to the Menu Bar and choose Image > Auto Tone (or Auto Levels if you’re not using CS5). Already you may see some improvement in your image.
  • With the Enhanced layer still selected, press Press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) to duplicate that layer.

  • With the top layer selected, go to the Blend Modes menu and click on Multiply. You may find that this significantly darkens your image, or it may only darken it a little bit.

  • Lower the opacity on this layer until the image looks good to you. I set mine at 60%. Yours may differ.

  • Finally, with the top layer selected, press Ctrl E (Mac: Cmd E) to merge the two Enhanced layers.
  • Click on the eye icon next to the restored layer to hide it, and then compare it with your original image. Big difference, eh?

Now save your enhanced image as a JPG and rename it, leaving your original image intact.

Step 2: Turn Up the Volume!

You can also use this same technique to punch up any image that you feel could use a little extra boost of contrast or color. Take a look at these water lilies…the original image looks pretty nice. But, wow… what a difference in the enhanced version! Just follow the same simple steps outlined above.

And that’s how you can turn back the clock and turn up the volume on faded photos and so-so snapshots!

Image credits: Morguefile.com

Download a PDF version of this “A Quick Fix for Faded Photos” tutorial.

Windows: Right click on the link and choose “Save Target As” or a similar command. Mac: Click on the link to download the file.

 

8 Responses

  1. Joyce
    | Reply

    Thanks, I appreciate your time. Love the tutorials

  2. Marzia Aldrighetti
    | Reply

    thanks ! I ‘ll make soon good use of it!

  3. Kathy Kaskowitz
    | Reply

    The link for the photoshop version doesn’t work.

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Hi Kathy. The Photoshop link will take you to an anchor further down the page where the PS version is. I checked it and it seems to be working great. 😀 Let me know if you continue to have problems.

  4. Trevor Mawson
    | Reply

    The picture illustrations to this tutorial are not appearing in my Safari web browser, nor in Internet Explorer.

    • lsattgast
      | Reply

      Hi Trevor—We accidentally deleted a folder of images on our website and have been trying to round them up again. In the meantime, you can download the PDF at the bottom of the tutorial, which contains the images as well as the instructions.

  5. Joe O
    | Reply

    I don’t see the blend menu in Elements 11. Is it named something else now?

    • Charlie Sattgast
      | Reply

      Hi Joe,

      There’s no Blend menu, but the Blend Mode dropdown is at the top of the Layers Panel. In default mode it will say “Normal.”

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