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Restoring Photos


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I read the posts regarding Vaughan's photo and thought the results were impressive.

i have some very precious Polaroids from  the 70s and early 80s and of course they are fading, it was the only camera we had so it's birthday parties, family times and holidays gently fading away. Can anyone suggest how I might rescue them?

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I use Adobe Lightroom for this and it's great for this, a bit pricy but you can get a free 30 day trial that has no saving restrictions so depending on how many photos you have and time available you could get them done in the time.

theres loads of tutorials on YouTube 



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A free alternative is to use GIMP. I kicked Adobe products into touch several years ago when I discovered that GIMP had not only equalled Photoshop but surpassed it...all for free. The retouching tools are excellent. My primary use of the software is for animation and digital painting for green screen etc using the excellent plugins ...also for free. The GIMP plugin registry has a vast array of plugin tools and effects for any number of photographic and art projects, although I understand the site is currently undergoing a few changes.

The GMic plugin has a dedicated suite of restorative tools, and GIMP itself has a fabulous 'Heal Selection' filter which will sample an area around your selection and use that to 'heal' any blemish etc.

If you want to 'improve' old photographs scan them to a .png or .tga or any other lossless format at the highest possible resolution. Avoid jpeg files which compress the image and cause more artefacts. When taking photographs with a new digital camera remember to always shoot in RAW and not in jpeg format. RAW maintains all of the image data without compression to allow better and more accurate manipulation of the image without compression artefacts.

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What I would do is scan the photos first at a high resolution, and upload them to somewhere - Google Drive, Flickr, Photo Bucket - you name it - and then instead of looking at a possibly clunky, expensive computer based photo editors, look at the many Apps you can use with a Tablet/phone.

These are very powerful  and can offer fast, one 'touch' solutions with a multitude of fixes, filters and tools to make photos look great or even just add some artistic flare the original did not have. But having the original scans online, it would make getting them onto the device easy.

My top three to try for Apple is:

  • TouchRetouch
  • Handy Photo
  • Pixlr

Once saved you can then get the photos uploaded to online photo processors who will print them professional and post them in a couple of days back to you.


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