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How Does Photo Restoration Work?

June 02, 2023 5 min read

Example of how the photo restoration work

Photo restoration uses digital restoration tools to create improved digital versions of photographs. It repairs damage, adjusts color, and brings your photo to life again. Excellent digital restoration makes your photo feel like new again. It's a profound experience for many as they see loved ones restored and take in what their old pictures once were. 

When you see the final product, restoration seems magical. It provides a service unlike any other, but there are specific steps behind it that require talent and hard work. So, how does photo restoration work? Below, you'll glimpse the real work behind the "magic." 

The Photo Restoration Process

adobe photoshop photo restoration

Photo restoration doesn't happen all at once. It's a multi-step process. The result is a high-quality image capturing everything profound in the original submission. To do this, the experts at Pixel's Photo Art take great care with each step. Some photographs are damaged beyond traditional photo restoration work, but digital restoration offers a second chance. 

How does photo restoration work with digital photos? When you submit your photo, an experienced team or individual follows these steps. 

  1. Scanning - The scanning process is critical. Professional photo restoration starts with the highest-quality scan possible. It's intended to take faded, damaged imagery and rejuvenate it. That's easier to achieve when working with an excellent base. Aim for high resolution, high bit depth, the correct file type, and a color scan (if possible). 
  2. Damage - Tears, stains, scratches, and other damage seemingly ruin physical photos. Digital restoration techniques erase them. Experts and artists use various tools and techniques (like healing and cloning tools) to remove or reconstruct everything from blemishes to tears. 
  3. Fading - Fading is an unfortunate component of old photographs. Light areas become dark, and dark becomes light. Adobe Photoshop is an amazing photo editing tool that helps reverse the effect and make it possible to restore your portrait or photo to its former glory. 
  4. Yellowing - Direct sun exposure causes photos to go yellow. Color droppers and color balancing counteract the effect. Sometimes, the photo must be turned to black and white and then colorized. By the end of the process, proper color is restored, and the yellowing effect is eliminated. 

Skillful restoration takes a lot of practice. The steps above may seem simple, but getting it right takes time and determination. Expert photo restoration services know how to treatand fix your photos thanks to their experience and expertise. 

Who Benefits From Photo Restoration? 

an example of museum quality for photo restoration

Now that the initial question of "How does photo restoration work?" has an answer, where is it most useful? Personalized, individual projects are important. They allow you to recapture and reclaim photos of lost loved ones and retain precious memories. Those photographs and portraits may be lost forever without these amazing techniques. 

Restoration is a game changer for many communities and organizations, too. It offers a unique opportunity to look into the past and preserve it for the future. 


Museums, by nature, collect and preserve history. They keep artifacts, items, texts, art, and so much more. Of course, many museums also display photographs. Even the best preservation techniques won't reverse the effects of aging or damage. Photo restoration can.

With digital restoration, museums get the best of both worlds. They'll retain possession of the original photo and receive a fully restored, vibrant copy for use. Museum visitors see the picture as it was meant to be. 

This is vital regardless of the purpose or type of museum. Even modern photos sometimes benefit from restoration. If something one-of-a-kind or important gets damaged, photo restoration may save the day. Historical photos often require restoration, which helps preserve history in its original form.


Magazines know the value of a beautiful photograph. They also require excellent-quality images to print. Grainy, scratched, yellowing pictures look poorly in person. They certainly don’t show up well in print. Photo restoration provides something better to work with.

Professionally restored photos help bring stories to life. A picture is worth a thousand words, as the old saying goes. Magazines provide the words, but an expertly restored photo elevates them to a new level. Readers appreciate the added context for articles, and there’s no denying that some photos look fantastic on glossy magazine pages. 

Military Archives and Families

Sometimes, families only have a single military photograph of past loved ones. As those photos age, they fade, turn yellow, and suffer from natural wear and tear. There’s great value in restoring them, and it preserves more than a simple portrait. It keeps their dignity and bravery intact.

Military archives and museums benefit from photo restoration for similar reasons. In addition to individual portraits, photographs of entire units or specific moments in military history are incredibly important. They may represent something profound, like a turning point in a mission, or depict soldiers in the act of remarkable bravery. 

How does photo restoration work in the military’s favor? By giving those moments and soldiers a chance to live forever in photographs. 

School Archives

Many schools and colleges have long, storied histories. They may date back to the country's early days and boast generation after generation of students. Excellent institutions always treasure their history and value their students. Photo restoration techniques grant the opportunity to display that value. 

Archives may have only dull, faded class photos or candid shots around campus. As time passes, their quality continues to degrade. Photo restoration halts and removes these negative effects and pulls the past back into the future.

Sports Memorabilia 

Sports teams tend to be a beloved part of society. Restoring photos of past teams and champions is an ideal way to set up new display cases, highlight past wins, and pay tribute to those who played before. 

This is useful at every level - from children’s teams all the way up to professional athletes. Sports history is rich and storied. Photographs are crucial and offer a way to glimpse everything from the biggest legends to the smallest stadiums. It’s all important to someone, and photo restoration brings back that former glory. 


Like magazines, newspapers rely heavily on the written word. They run plenty of photographs alongside them, though. Local papers often publish nostalgia pieces or glimpses of local history. There’s no better way to see how much things have changed than to compare old photographs of an area with its current state, meaning photo restoration provides a unique opportunity. 

Final Thoughts 

Do you have a photo at home in less-than-perfect condition? Return its former glory by contacting the photo restoration pros at Pixels Photo Art. Individual and custom projects help recreate family trees and uncover memories. You’ll see faces nearly lost to time and secure their place in the future. 

Photo restoration paves the way for museums, archives, and collectors to display prized photographs. This type of service may change the way exhibits are crafted and make history accessible to completely new audiences. Technological advances and editing tools aren’t magic wands, but their effects certainly seem similar. 

Regardless of your reason for looking into photo restoration, it’s remarkably effective. At times, the difference is even breathtaking. If you’ve been hanging onto photographs or portraits and wishing for the chance to make them whole again, it’s time to reach out to Pixels Photo Art and start your project today!