Using Open Source Software to Restore Photos

Here are a few of the tips and tricks I used to restore an old photograph that has deteriorated using a freely available, open source software.

Most of us have used or heard of photoshop as the professional imaging program commonly used to manipulate and restore photographs. If you have ever looked into purchasing Adobe Photoshop you will notice that the cost is quite restrictive. A subscription can add up to hundreds of dollars annually, and it’s not necessary because there is an equally powerful open source software available. In trials done by professionals, Gimp often comes out ahead of Photoshop.

Photo RestorationsPhoto restoration I did of an old family photo using the free software.

You can download Gimp for free on their site. (although it is never a bad idea to contribute financially to the project if you can afford it)

With old photos like this much of the work needs doing manually. As long as you have a few skills then it is not too hard to go through and restore all the photos them. Beyond the few tips here you can completely learn to use Gimp online. Lynda.com has a comprehensive Gimp tutorial you could complete easily and offers a free 30 day trial to its platform. This is more than enough time to get the basics of Gimp worked out. Or you could simply take a youtube tutorial like this one on getting started with Gimp.

The comparison between the old photograph and a restored one does not really do justice to how much this image has been tidied up. When you watch the video you can see how useful Gimp is in tackling those restoration jobs that are otherwise impossible. Practice using a few of the methods I describe in this video and you will soon find yourself well on the way to creating your own portfolio of restored and manipulated images.

This Thumbnail Image is of an image I restored of my grandparents. Ironically my grandmother had also worked on this photo in her role with the family photo restoration business at the time of the war.

With a little practice, you are not on your way to restoring old photographs for yourself.

Please, tell us about your efforts in the comments section below. Alternatively, if this all seems like a little too much we can provide you with a free quote on restoring your photos.