how to enhance quality of photo

Old photographs have their unique beauty and charm. Some people keep them because of their sentimental value, and some simply enjoy vintage aesthetics. Some like to collect photos that picture historical events or use them to illustrate the content. The best way to preserve such pictures is to scan and save them in digital format.

Although many old images lose their quality and appeal after digitalization, online tools and graphic editing software are the go-to solutions to fix that. Read further to learn the basics of old photo retouching and upscaling.

Enhance old photos using Depositphotos Image Upscaler 

Enhancing old photos doesn’t always entail retouching, cropping, and editing. Sometimes, these photos might require quality enhancement, especially if you plan to use them in large formats. Smart online tools like Depositphotos Image Upscaler quickly and automatically deliver high-quality results for free. 

The Depositphotos tool runs on an AI-based technology to efficiently upscale photos. A neural network analyzes the uploaded image, identifies objects, reduces noise, sharpens edges, removes blur, brightens colors, and enlarges the file. As a result, you get a well-defined, high-resolution photo within a couple of seconds.

Here’s how to work with the Depositphotos Image Upscaler:

  1. Access the tool by following the link:
  2. Create a free account. You can enter your email address and set up a password, or register using your Facebook or Google account. 
  3. Upload a photo you want to enhance. The tool supports JPG and JPEG images with a file size of up to 15 MB. 
  4. Preview the result and check details using the magnifying glass.
  5. Download the upscaled image.

Edit old photos using popular tools in Adobe Photoshop

Old photo correction isn’t always a lengthy process. Some pictures may require minor adjustments like enlargement and resolution improvement. However, when a photo is scratched, torn at the edges, or damaged over time, you can use Adobe Photoshop to fix these issues. Here are the essential tools you will need.

Crop and Patch tools

If a photo has torn edges and visible folds, you can remove them with the help of the Crop tool. Select the Crop feature from the Toolbar, pick an area you want to preserve, and adjust the frame around it. Then, confirm cropping. 

However, when cropping out the imperfections, you might cut out important background parts, or it can look like some image areas are missing. You can fix this by using the Patch tool. Select it from the Toolbar and use it to define the missing area. Then, drag this selection to the visually matching section for duplication.

Clone Stamp

You can use Clone Stamp to efficiently fix a picture with highly damaged areas or significant imperfections, as it offers more precise retouching with pixel replacement. Select it from the Toolbar and drag the cursor to the place closest to the damaged area. Press Alt and click on that section. Afterward, drag the cursor to the zone that requires correction and paint over it.

To adjust blending, you can lower the brush opacity for softer edges. It’s also recommended to duplicate the image layers for non-destructive alteration. Besides, you can then choose a layer with the most fitting editing version.

Spot Healing Brush

This tool is the best option for minor corrections, such as retouching small creases, scratches, and dust spots. Pick the Spot Healing Brush from the Toolbar, go to the damaged area, and zoom in to view all the imperfections. Adjust the brush size for more precise correction. Paint over the area, using small strokes, until all spots and scratches are covered.

If a photo has too much noise, retouching it manually can take a lot of time. Instead, you can use a special filter to reduce noise and fix the rest with the help of the Spot Healing Brush tool. Select Filter → Noise → Dust & Scratches. In a pop-up window, you can adjust the Radius pixels and Threshold. Afterward, select Filter → Noise → Reduce Noise. You can also regulate the intensity level for better results.

Dodge and Burn tools

Old photos can be too dark or too light in some areas. Dodge and Burn tools can change that by enhancing the old photo’s brightness. For instance, you can use them to highlight certain areas or erase lines on a person’s clothing or skin. The Burn tool is responsible for darkening, and the Dodge tool is for lightening.

Pick an instrument of your choice from the Toolbar menu. Then, go to the area that you want to either highlight or darken and paint over it. You can also play with the settings: adjust the tool’s range, exposure, and brush size.

Color correction tools

The Sharpness tool can make an old photo sharper. To use it, select Filters → Enhance → Sharpen. In the dialog box, keep the default values of Threshold and Amount, but set the Radius to 1.00. Click Ok to apply the changes. 

If you want to color a black and white picture, use the Auto Color tool. It will add colors to a photo automatically. To keep your image monochrome but make it more distinct, select Color Balance → Hue/Saturation. Work on the adjustment layers until you’re satisfied with the result. 

To fix faded photos, use the auto white balance. Select Colors → Auto → White Balance. Change the blend mode to Multiply to make a picture look more saturated and dense. You can create a layer copy for that purpose and then merge it with the original layer.

Bottom line

Old photos have a unique appeal and are often worthy of preservation due to their historical and sentimental value. Modern technologies allow us to create digital copies of old photos, restore them, and enhance their quality in a few clicks. To preserve valuable memories or utilize old high-quality pictures in your content, use graphic editing software or opt for online upscaling tools for quick enhancement. 

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