Historic photo restoration is such satisfying work. With a good scanner and plenty of patience, you can work wonders. In this example I’ll be working with a faded photograph.

Step 1:

This old photo had been sitting in an oval frame for many years.

faded photograph

Step 2:

I start with a general contrast adjustment. This improves the blueness of the shadow areas, but still leaves a lot to be done.

faded photograph

Step 3:

I need to balance the sunlight-damaged part with the better-preserved part. I roughly select the oval frame …

faded photograph

Step 4:

… and adjust the colors to match. This leaves a visible ring around the edge …

faded photograph

Step 5:

… which I repair. Now I have a uniform image to work on.

faded photograph

Step 6:

I select just the skin …

faded photograph

Step 7:

… and bring some life into it.

faded photograph

Step 8:

Then I invert the selection, and make some adjustments to the rest of the photo. I take the last traces of blue from her hair, add some contrast to her clothing, and whiten the background.

faded photograph

Step 9:

Finally, I even out the skintone a little more, then whiten her eyes and teeth, and add some color to her collar and ribbons.

Use the slider to compare the original to the final result: