restore photos in photoshop

How to Restore Old & Vintage Photos in Photoshop


Our old paper and film photographs often weather decades of wear and tear which result in fading, creases, torn edges, and discoloration. Fortunately, we have the ultimate digital tool to help restore them to their original form: Photoshop!

Whether it’s an important moment in history or a precious family photograph, you’ll learn how to restore colors, remove tears and creases, and ensure your most important memories are around for generations to come!


  • 4 Sample Images
  • 4 Sample PSDs


Table of Contents

Course Preview
  • 01 - What You'll Learn
Restore Old Photos
  • 01 - Balance Light Levels
  • 02 - Fix Dust and Scratches
  • 03 - Even Out Texture
  • 04 - Correct Color and Light Leaks

Old Memories Made New

restore photos in photoshop

Restore Vintage Photographs

Before digital, photographs had to survive the elements in paper form. Over time, fading, discoloration, creases, and tears take their toll on these important memories. Luckily, we have Photoshop to help restore them to their original form!

restore photos in photoshop

restore photos in photoshop



Photo Restoration in Photoshop

We all have a shoebox of old photographs somewhere in our home. If you’ve been waiting for a good reason to dust them off, this is the course for you! Follow along as we show you how to take old paper photographs and restore them using the power of Photoshop.

Fix Fading & Discoloration

When film photos aren’t stored properly colors can warp and fade. While this can sometimes create the charming effect that film photos are known for, it can also take away from an image if the effect is too severe. You’ll learn how to balance out lighting, restore original colors, and help a scene look more like it did way back when.

Old & Vintage Photographs

Whether you’re scanning old photos yourself or you’re using a professional service, we’ll show you how to take those digital files and restore them in Photoshop. No matter how old the image is, you’ll be able to remove blemishes, restore colors, and easily share it across the web and social media.

restore photos in photoshop

restore photos in photoshop



Restore Contrast

Old photographs can fade, and details can get lost. We show you how to restore contrast to any vintage image so that all of the original textures, details, and definition comes through.

Enhance Details with Sharpening

Film photographs often have a softer appearance which can be exaggerated with age and wear. Learn how to carefully add sharpening to an old photo in Photoshop, restoring important details, drawing more attention to the subject, and helping an image look like new without losing that classic film feel.

Portraits & Landscapes

These techniques will work on any old photograph, whether it’s a portrait of a family member or a photo of a beautiful location. You’ll learn professional techniques to recover details, repair damage, and help people and places look great.

Restore Any Old Photograph

restore photos in photoshop

restore photos in photoshop



Remove Scratches, Tears & Creases

The biggest challenge with paper photographs is protecting them from folds, tears, and scratches, especially over long periods of time. We show you how to use Photoshop to remove any physical damage and wear to create a clean, distraction free image.

Recreate Lost Details

Torn edges, large scratches, and scanning issues can all cause detail and information to be lost from a photo. Learn how to recreate sections of a photograph while restoring authentic textures and details.

The Spot Healing Brush & Clone Stamp Tool

When you need to remove blemishes, distractions, or, in this case, damage, look not further than the Spot Healing Brush, Healing Brush, and Clone Stamp Tools in Photoshop.

restore photos in photoshop

restore photos in photoshop



Adjustment Layers

Restore colors. Fix exposure. Work non-destructively. When it comes to photo editing or photo restoration, Adjustment Layers in Photoshop can do it all. Master these powerful tools and learn how they can help bring any photo back to beautiful quality.

Even Out Lighting

If you’re working with old and antique photographs, light leaks and lighting imbalances are a common issue. Learn how to even out exposure, remove or reduce lighting inconsistencies, and create a balanced final image.

Repair Scanned Images

Whether it’s damage to the original photo or unwanted effects caused by scanning and digitization, we show you a variety of tools and techniques to help restore any old image to the best quality possible.

Class Instructor

Aaron Nace

PHLEARN Founder – Class Instructor

Aaron Nace is a photographer, Photoshop artist and founder of PHLEARN. He is the #1 Photoshop instructor in the world with millions of YouTube subscribers.

View More Classes by Aaron Nace


  1. Awesome, but a “little to fast for my 60 year-old brain.”

  2. I do like Phlearn and Nace and his classes! I’ve learned a lot! But I wish I could restart a video that I have paused by clicking on any place in the video rather than only being able to restart it by clicking on the little arrow in the lower left. That is a minor complaint, however.

  3. I absolutely love Phlearn! I have been watching Aaron’s videos for a couple years now and I have learned so much. Mom passed away and I found photo albums I’ve never seen before. To be fair to my sister (only sibling), I decided to digitize them and give her the physical photos. I was struggling with the color and dark and light and this tutorial made everything clear for me. I plan on taking all tutorials from beginning to end because every time I see a new video I learn just a tidbit more so even though I’ve learned many of the tools, there will be always more to learn! Thank you for a great course and making it fun.

  4. Super job, thanks so much. Great tutorial.

  5. Having the sequence of restoration steps established and explained was extremely valuable. I feel like for the first time I actually have some sense of the difference between the healing and spot healing brushes; my use of them in the past has always been haphazard and now I feel like I know in advance which I want to be using. I also found the use of layers set to color or hue and painting in corrections very useful. I had been experimenting with Photoshop’s ‘colorize’ beta filter and got some good results and, some weird results. I fixed one of the weird ones in no time flat by brushing a color on a layer in color mode. Great stuff!

  6. This is one of the most Important Tutorials produced for Photo Restoration enthusiast. This Tutorial is well explained and covers the basic process of restoration & lighting. I would encourage Aaron to produce a more extensive tutorial on the subject, eg colourization, photos with water damage, etc. Highly Recommended Tutorial to start learning.

  7. Hi Aaron…you are a wonderful teacher. You have too much patience in explaining every step in editing. I have learnt a lot. I still remember how I struggled when I started learning photoshop. It took me one month to understand few lessons. Now I feel I am learning very fast. God bless you..keep it up

  8. Love your tutorials! I’m learning so much! Thank you!

  9. Great as always Aaron, The only thing that I think would have improved the beach scene more, is I would have desaturated the surf to white, as it still looked too blue in the end.

  10. This is fantastic as I’ve always struggled with restoration. The way you explain things makes it easy to understand, “why,” he did that. Toward the end when you said the beach looked blurred on the right, I was chanting, “clone tool,” in my head. See, your talent is rubbing off. Please keep them coming!!!!!

  11. This is brilliant. I really enjoyed this lesson and just know that I will be using these processes many times over. Not only for photo restoration but also in general editing. Thank you.

  12. This is a very timely tutorial for me as I’ve started scanning some old family photos. There is a lot of very valuable information here and useful tips regarding light, contrast, colour and removing blemishes. It’s given me lots of encouragement and motivation to continue my project. I’d love some quick tips, maybe in a short free tutorial, about the scanning process itself like what dpi to use etc. Thanks again Aaron.

  13. I suppose I’ll be placing myself likely close to an intermediate user in Photoshop, but every time I watch a tutorial of yours I learn more and more of new technics. Maybe one day I can shake our hands in person and say thank you for teaching us all those nice staffs. Be well and stay safe. Farewell from Greece!

  14. I have been studying fixing and coloring photos for a while. There is a lot of very good information here. LOVED the part where you talk about getting rid of the texture. Will definitely be revisiting that lecture.

  15. One of the best courses by far. Besides Aron teaching his techniques of photo restoration, he explained the use of so many Photoshop tools that can be applied to all other workflows. GREAT JOB!

  16. Very interesting and informative. I have loved the Spot Healing Brush for years, but never quite understood the Healing Brush and the need/benefit to picking a source area before applying the healing. This tutorial really made it clear for me.

  17. Great tutorial, using some really basic tools and methods to make perfect image restorations. As always, Aaron’s cheerful personality and teaching skills keep the lessons light and lively and easy to follow along.

  18. Just received some old wedding photos of my parents and planned to restore. Watched the videos and found them really helpful. Just one thing, you mention scanning photos, I don’t have a scanner but with a high resolution camera and tripod that allows removal of centre column i find photographing the pictures gives me a good result.

  19. Very fun and useful class. I give 4 instead of 5 stars while it is not really a PRO class. I learned a few tricks with the brush in combination with blend modes. The lesson about the filters was also very interesting. I am going to find some old photos and practice what I learned. The class was very welcome now that here in Vienna we are in Corona lockdown mode again. Aaron is always fun to watch and listen to.

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