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Fixing a faded black-and-white photo

From: Photo Restoration with Photoshop

Video: Fixing a faded black-and-white photo

Fading is one of the most common types of damage to old photographs. Faded photos are very intimidating, especially when the fading is very pronounced. The good news is they're usually easier to fix than they look. Just a click or two can make a really dramatic difference. I use this photo of my grandfather a lot while demonstrating how to fix fading, because the change is so dramatic. I've heard so many people say there was virtually nothing left to fix. And if you can believe it, it looks worse in person. We're going to try to bring this photo back out by using Curves.

Fixing a faded black-and-white photo

Fading is one of the most common types of damage to old photographs. Faded photos are very intimidating, especially when the fading is very pronounced. The good news is they're usually easier to fix than they look. Just a click or two can make a really dramatic difference. I use this photo of my grandfather a lot while demonstrating how to fix fading, because the change is so dramatic. I've heard so many people say there was virtually nothing left to fix. And if you can believe it, it looks worse in person. We're going to try to bring this photo back out by using Curves.

Go down to the bottom of the Layers panel to this half-black half-white circle, and click it, and go to Curves. Go to your black eyedropper and try to access the darkest part of your image. That can be really hard when it's very faded, but you can see his pants down here are dark, so we'll click on that, and look at how dramatic that just one click was. Now go up to your white eyedropper, and let's look for the lightest portion.

You can always use the frame, but it's really better to try to find something inside the photo. We'll click on his collar there. If it's too light, you can adjust over here on your histogram. You can try to bring it down a little bit, make it a little darker. You can adjust your midpoints. There are a lot of ways you can adjust this. Let's try our medium gray point eyedropper, try to find a gray area, and that brings a little bit out.

Again, if it's too pronounced, you can always go to your Opacity and bring that down. You can add other adjustments on top, a black-and-white adjustment, another curves. But as you can see from the before and after, just a couple clicks made a really dramatic difference. Sometimes the most intimidating-looking damage is really easy to fix, especially in the case of faded photos. In many cases all the information is still there in the image; it's just a lot lighter than it was-- and if it's there, there are ways to bring it back out again.

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This video is part of

Image for Photo Restoration with Photoshop
Photo Restoration with Photoshop

70 video lessons · 15855 viewers

Janine Smith
Author

 
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  1. 1m 33s
    1. Welcome
      48s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      13s
    3. Using the exercise files
      32s
  2. 16m 47s
    1. Customizing your workspace
      2m 17s
    2. Using layers
      1m 58s
    3. Assessing the damage
      1m 52s
    4. Rebuilding color channels in a grayscale image
      3m 47s
    5. Using a Black & White adjustment layer
      1m 57s
    6. Using the Clone Stamp, Healing Brush, and Patch tools
      4m 56s
  3. 27m 30s
    1. Fixing a faded black-and-white photo
      2m 20s
    2. Removing small splits, specks, and spots
      3m 44s
    3. Repairing red-eye
      4m 58s
    4. Reducing paper texture
      4m 34s
    5. Reducing dot patterns in printed photos
      3m 51s
    6. Fixing lens distortion
      4m 19s
    7. Straightening a crooked image
      3m 44s
  4. 24m 16s
    1. Fixing large rips, tears, and other damage
      3m 9s
    2. Removing long scratches
      3m 24s
    3. Fixing creases
      5m 8s
    4. Stitching large photos using Photomerge
      3m 17s
    5. Reassembling torn photos
      4m 56s
    6. Replacing missing pieces
      4m 22s
  5. 27m 55s
    1. Removing stains
      3m 48s
    2. Removing ink marks
      2m 34s
    3. Repairing adhesive tape damage on a black-and-white photo
      2m 14s
    4. Repairing adhesive tape damage on a color photo
      6m 1s
    5. Fixing mold damage
      5m 20s
    6. Reducing starburst light glare
      5m 11s
    7. Reducing eyeglass light glare
      2m 47s
  6. 21m 32s
    1. Understanding the basics of levels
      2m 50s
    2. Understanding the basics of curves
      3m 29s
    3. Finding the black, white, and gray points in an image
      3m 28s
    4. Adjusting color levels by channel
      1m 58s
    5. Making selective contrast adjustments
      4m 48s
    6. Adjusting image shadows and highlights
      4m 59s
  7. 18m 13s
    1. Adjusting color with the Photo Filter adjustment
      2m 23s
    2. Correcting color casts using inverse color correction
      3m 2s
    3. Correcting color problems using the Color Balance adjustment
      3m 19s
    4. Correcting color casts using the Variations command
      3m 55s
    5. Correcting color by combining levels and curves
      1m 44s
    6. Improving color by adjusting the hue and saturation
      3m 50s
  8. 33m 14s
    1. Removing distracting elements
      5m 35s
    2. Repairing and recreating backgrounds
      7m 43s
    3. Extracting areas using masks
      5m 5s
    4. Matching colors in elements you add
      4m 11s
    5. Matching textures
      4m 45s
    6. Replacing facial features and missing body parts
      5m 55s
  9. 29m 59s
    1. Converting to black and white
      4m 48s
    2. Enhancing faded color
      3m 30s
    3. Smoothing a subject's skin
      4m 2s
    4. Enhancing black-and-white photos with duotone
      2m 34s
    5. Enhancing the eyes
      4m 10s
    6. Bringing out facial features with light
      5m 22s
    7. Sharpening
      5m 33s
  10. 32m 32s
    1. Assessing the damage
      1m 26s
    2. Repairing the crack
      1m 52s
    3. Replacing the missing body parts
      3m 5s
    4. Removing the specks, spots, and scratches
      3m 7s
    5. Fixing the missing corner
      1m 14s
    6. Lightening the stains
      5m 22s
    7. Restoring the faded tone in the face
      3m 8s
    8. Balancing the tone in the image
      1m 58s
    9. Evening the color with a Black & White adjustment layer
      49s
    10. Cleaning up the image
      2m 24s
    11. Adding definition to the face
      2m 20s
    12. Softening the image
      58s
    13. Sharpening the image
      2m 4s
    14. Bringing back some of the original tone
      1m 34s
    15. Comparing the image before and after
      1m 11s
  11. 24s
    1. Final thoughts
      24s

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