How to Enhance Old Photos: Step-by-Step Guide
Want to improve old family photographs without spending lots of money? Don't want to give strangers access to your private archives? Good news: with the help of special photo editing programs you can digitally enhance old photos yourself.
In this tutorial, we'll show you how to do that with PhotoGlory using a specific photo as an example. This easy but effective software is perfect both for novices and professionals and allows you to achieve impressive results hassle-free. We'll also share with you a few other old photo enhancement apps that you can use on your PC, Android and iOS smartphones, or online.
An impressive result, right? Want to achieve a similar one? Then download PhotoGlory and follow the step-by-step instructions below. There, we'll tell you how to do old photo enhancement: crop damaged edges, remove imperfections and noise, bring back colors, add captions, and more.
1. Get Rid of Geometry Flaws
In the past, tripods were only used by professional photographers in their studios. Unlike today, ordinary people did not have them at home because they were bulky and expensive. So distorted geometry, like a tilted horizon or poor framing, was quite common since it wasn’t easy to achieve a harmonious composition. While you can no longer retake those shots, you can use modern editing software to digitally enhance old photos by eliminating such flaws.
- Upload the image you want to fix. Run PhotoGlory after installing it to your computer. On the startup window, click the Open Photo button and select the image you wish to improve from a folder on your PC. Alternatively, you can drag and drop the picture into the workspace.
- Adjust the photo’s geometry. Go to the Tools tab and select the Geometry tool. Drag the Rotation slider left or right to straighten the tilted horizon. To simplify this task, check the Show Grid box to use the grid as a reference. To correct poor framing, use the Crop tool. Choose the Golden Ratio or Rule of Thirds overlays to improve the proportions of your photo.
2. Crop the Edges of Your Old Photo
Your image may have torn and ripped corners due to bad storage, which spoils the overall appearance of the photo. Perform an enhancement of your very old photo by cutting off the edges of the image if they are too damaged and can’t be repaired.
- Choose a cropping preset. While still in the Tools tab, select the Crop option. Pick a cropping preset on the sidebar, such as 5:4, 4:3, 1:1, or adjust the picture proportions as you like with Free Aspect Ratio.
- Cut off torn corners. To crop the imperfections around the edges, drag the markers on your picture in a way that the damaged area is outside the frame.
3. Eliminate the Image Imperfections
Photo paper is quite fragile, and as time goes by, scratches, cracks, and holes appear on it. All of these can be easily erased with PhotoGlory’s mighty yet easy-to-use editing tools.
- Remove the stains and cracks automatically. Go to the Enhancement tab, click the Restore Old Photo button, and wait a bit while the program auto enhances your old photos. The artificial intelligence detects the flaws in your image and removes them delicately yet effectively. If there are still small defects left after that, you can fix them manually. Find out how below.
- Erase any remaining defects with retouching tools. Switch to the Retouch tab and pick the tool according to the size of the remaining defects. The Patch tool can help you remove big, oddly shaped flaws by making a precise selection of a damaged area and using another area in the photo as a repair source. Clone Stamp is quite similar to the previous tool but handles smaller defects better. Healing Brush is great at dealing with minor imperfections.
4. Increase the Sharpness of Old Pictures
It used to be a challenge to get a clear photograph. Camera lenses were not as good as today's ones, the paper could have minor imperfections, and light sources were often too dim. All of these defects caused blurred images. However, it is quite easy to get the sharpness back by making old photo enhancements with editing software. Go over the process essentials with the steps below, or delve into the topic with our guide on how to sharpen an old photo.
- Sharpen your image to remove the blur. Go to the Enhancement tab and find Sharpness on the sidebar. Move the Amount slider to the right to increase the image clarity.
- Adjust the radius. If you want to make your photograph appear even sharper without destroying its quality, adjust the Radius slider slightly.
5. Bring Back Colors to Enhance Old Photos
Want to know how to colorize old photos on your PC with ease? Enhance old photos with AI technologies. PhotoGlory can recognize various objects in your image (for instance, the sky, the greenery, and people) and assign appropriate colors for each one.
- Use the automatic colorization feature. To enhance old photos lacking a color, hit the Colorize black & white photo button. Wait a little bit while the neural network inside the program detects and colors the objects.
- Adjust the colors manually. If you’re not completely satisfied with the result after the automatic colorization process, choose the Coloring tool on the Retouch tab to modify the colors manually. Set the brush size and color, then paint over the areas of the image you want to alter (for instance, repaint the blouse or change the hair color).
6. Make Old Photo Enhancement with Filters
Want to transform old photos of your relatives into scenes from famous movies? Add some modern flair to your images, or simply boost the colors? Create whatever you like with PhotoGlory’s built-in collection of 100+ photo filters.
- Explore the vast collection of filters. Switch to the Effects tab and check out the collection of effects in the sidebar. Look through the preview thumbnails to see how each filter will perform on your photo.
- Stylize your old photos using one of the filters. Choose one of the filters from the Toning Effects or Quick Enhancement sections of the drop-down list to add a beautiful hue to your new color photo. To recreate a frame from some famous movie such as Titanic, Fight Club, or Dirty Dancing, try out same-name filters from the Movie Effects collection.
7. Write a Meaningful Caption
Found pictures of distant relatives in your family archives and don't want to forget their names over time? Maybe your family member once pronounced a phrase that still resonates with you? Inscribe the words that matter to you directly onto the digital photo with PhotoGlory.
- Type the words significant to you. Switch to the Captions tab and click the Add Text button. Type the words you want to engrave on your photo using the text field below the button.
- Stylize the text using the built-in font collection. Choose a text style from 90+ presets from the program library. To customize the font, text size, its color and opacity, go to Custom Settings on the sidebar. To drag the caption over the image, press and hold the left mouse button.
The features above aren't everything PhotoGlory can offer to improve your old pictures. Watch the video below to see the program in action and learn how to enhance old photos in other ways.
As you can see, PhotoGlory is really good at making old photo enhancements. The software has an uncomplicated and intuitive interface to make your editing process easy and fast. Download the program for free now and see for yourself.
Try out PhotoGlory or compare it with other programs to choose the best program to digitally enhance your old photos.
Alternative Ways to Enhance Old Photos
Want to explore all the possible options? As promised earlier, we’re going to present 3 pieces of software to enhance old photos that are worth trying.
Want to enhance old photos from digital scans without downloading anything on your device? Check out the online VanceAI Photo Restorer. You just need to upload your image and wait. Automatic defect removal and colorization will be done by the software with the help of AI technologies. Although the program has an intuitive interface and shows efficient results, it provides limited editing capabilities if you’re an unpaid user.
Want to improve your old picture on the go using your smartphone? Try out AI Colorize/Old Photo Restore, available on Android and iOS. In addition to the standard features of similar programs, this application also allows you to scan a photo you want to improve directly in the app using your smartphone camera. The only downside is that in order to use the application, you have to purchase a subscription from $0.99.
For Windows users, we recommend checking out SoftOrbits, automatic old photo enhancement software. It handles scratches and stains perfectly and lets you add date stamps to your photos. Although the program has an automatic colorization feature, some users have reported problems with colorizing certain photos.
As promised, you now know how to bring back to life old images from your family archive on Android and iOS smartphones, Windows PCs, and online. Choose the best software to enhance old photos that matches your budget and skill level. If you’re still unsure, we recommend that you try PhotoGlory, an easy-to-use yet comprehensive editor that you’ve already seen in action in our tutorial. Regardless of which program you choose, we hope this article was helpful to you and wish you success with your photo enhancement.