Old photographs are a way of seeing the past as it looked. While there is no way to see what someone from the 18th century or before looked like, photographs let us see how people looked as far back as the middle of the 19th century.
Old photographs can be hard to look at. They may fade over time, the original image may not have been excellent, and they are in black-and-white.
You can colorize, enlarge, and restore old images, making them look better than ever before. There is nothing difficult or expensive about restoring an old photograph; you can do it quickly and easily today.
What is an Old Photograph?
People have been taking photographs since the 1800s. Since about 1840, the images have been of reasonably good quality, with earlier cameras being experimental and not useable. Many families have photographs from the mid 19th, late 19th, and early 20th centuries.
With early technology, people had to remain still for many minutes while having their pictures taken. A small amount of movement would create a blurry image. Technology improved over time until there were cameras that could take pictures quickly, small portable cameras, color photographs, and finally instant picture cameras.
Today, digital cameras have mostly but not entirely replaced analog photography. There is still a market for analog photography because some people prefer the appearance of pictures taken with film. Some but not many movies are still shot on film for the same reason.
Why is it So Hard to Look at Old Photographs?
Old photographs that used to be crisp and clear can fade over time. If you have a lot of photographs, even not very old ones, you might notice that they look dull. A photograph won’t have the same colors or the same black-and-white shades forever.
Digital pictures, thankfully, last forever. Even in another 150 years, we will still be able to see clear images from 150 years ago; because so many old photos have been digitized.
3 Steps to Restore an Old Photo: Enlarge, Colorize, Sharpen
You can use digital technology to restore an old photo and not only preserve it. You do not need to have fancy photo editing skills to do this, and you don’t need to buy any software.
You don’t even need to download/install anything for free either. All you have to do is go to websites, upload your pictures, and restore your images. The photographs won’t look the same as before they faded, but they are close enough. You can also enlarge an old photo with simple online tools.
Even colorizing old photographs is easy – just go to a free website that will let you colorize an old photo. You can also enlarge an old photograph using an AI program that adds detail. It will not merely stretch an image but enlarge it while preserving its quality.
Step 1: Enlarge an Old Photo with Imglarger
An old photograph like this still looks reasonably good but is in black-and-white and is a bit faded. You can first enlarge it, then colorize it, and finally sharpen it using simple online tools.
The first tool is AI Image Enlarger, which is very easy to use. You will have to create a free account by entering your email address and confirming an email, but other than that, the website is easy.
Again, you do not have to download or install anything. Once you log in, you can drag and drop a picture onto a box on the website and increase the image’s size.
AI image enlarging tools are impressive. They work vastly better than merely stretching the image, which ruins its quality. The small 50kb image of the woman with the windmill in the background can be increased to a much larger 300kb image without making it look unnatural in any way.
If you zoom in on the unaltered image, it looks very pixellated. If you zoom in very far on the woman’s eye, it becomes so pixellated that you cannot tell it is an eye. However, the eye is still recognizable if you zoom in on the enlarged image that far. AI is quite good at adding detail to an image without distorting it.
Step 2: Colorize the Old Photo by Imagecolorizer
When I improve old images, I use two websites, one to enlarge and sharpen the image, and another to colorize it. Imagecolorizer.com is a great, easy, free website for colorizing old photographs.
Using imagecolorizer.com couldn’t be easier – you don’t even have to create an account. Simply click on “colorize photo now” (as opposed to other choices, like AI retouch) and then drag and drop the image onto the site. Download the image and keep it.
When you colorize an image using Image Colorizer, the image comes to life. The skin tones, hair, lips, and teeth all gain natural, realistic colors. It looks like a real color photograph if you zoom in on the woman.
The background also changes. The windmill becomes a bit more visible, and the sky and landscape gain a greenish-blue hue. A blurred building on the right side of the image also becomes more visible.
Step 3: Sharpen The Colorized Photo by Imglarger
After using imagecolorizer.com, head back to imglarger.com to sharpen the image. Imglarger.com offers the most powerful image photo enhancer I have found anywhere, and it is free.
Mouse over “our products” and click on “image sharpener.” Drag and drop your image for its finishing touches.
The most impressive part of the whole process is the image sharpening program. It makes everything in the foreground look very bright and in contrast to the background that is out of focus.
The edges of the woman’s face and clothing become much more exact and defined than they did before the image was sharpened. Download your image and save it somewhere where you can easily find it.
You might want to back the image up online in case your hard drive fails. You should also keep the old, physical copies of the photograph even if they are a bit faded.
Why Do People Restore Old Photos?
People like to know what family members from a few or many generations ago looked like. If all you have are physical photos, they will slowly fade until they don’t look good at all. Therefore, you should digitize these pictures, plus use online tools to sharpen and improve them.
It only takes minutes to restore an old photo online for free. Never think that you don’t have time to restore any of your old photographs. It is easy and free to make your old photos colored, sharp, and safely stored as digital files that will never decay.