AncestorNews: Restoring Old Photos

By Nancy Hendrickson Premium

My sister recently found a photo of our great-grandmother as a young woman, sitting primly in a photographer’s studio, in a pose with two young men and another young girl. The photograph was cracked and torn, and the background faded. In some places, the stain of age had destroyed detail in clothing and hair.

I scanned the photo and took the file to a friend who enjoyed tinkering with digital images. As I watched, cracks and tear lines disappeared and detail emerged. I could clearly see that the backdrop in the photographer’s studio was a Victorian scene, with columns and grape leaves. Under foot was a fringed throw rug and the four youths sat on a wicker couch. The transformation was amazing.

The digital process took a couple of hours, but the end results were well worth the wait. I now had a restored photo of my great-grandmother and her three companions who I believe to be her siblings.

Photo restoration of heavily damaged photos may be a job better left to a professional. However, there are minor repairs and touch-ups that anyone can do using photo imaging software.

Here are a few Web sites to learn more about restoring your precious family photos:

Sign up for our 2-week online course, How to Restore Old Photos.