Restoring Faded and Discolored Photos

Restoring Faded and Discolored Photos

If you have old photos stored in boxes, or even albums, you’ll probably notice that many have become faded, discolored, or dull over time. In this tutorial we are going to look at a few different PaintShop Pro tools and techniques you can use to restore or adjust the color in older photos that have become faded or discolored. This process can also be applied to newer photos that just seem dull and need to be brightened up.

Download a PDF copy of the written tutorial and sample images to follow along with the video below.

Restoring Faded and Discolored Photos in PaintShop Pro

In this tutorial we are going to look at a few different tools and techniques you can use to restore or adjust the color in older photos that have become faded or discolored. This process can also be applied to newer photos that just seem dull and need to be brightened up.

Open PaintShop Pro in the Edit workspace.


Here is the first photo we’ll restore, which has become faded over time.


If you’d like to compare the restored version to the original, choose FileSave Copy As. This creates an identical image file, which you can then open in PaintShop Pro, and place the two images side by side in the workspace. To see your two images together, go to the Window menu and choose Tile Vertically. Then you can resize and reposition both image windows as you like.

For the first fix, go to AdjustColorFade Correction. Be sure to check Preview on Image, so that the effect of the tool can be seen on the image itself. Adjust the amount of correction; for this image, a value of 25 brings back a lot of the original color.

Next, go to AdjustOne Step Photo Fix. This tool performs several functions at once: increasing brightness, balancing color and saturation, and overall sharpening.


For the final step, go to AdjustHue and SaturationHue/ Saturation/ Lightness. In this example, the zero value for Saturation and Lightness seem fine. But you can carefully adjust the Hue – increasing this value by clicking the Up or Down arrow makes a significant difference. In this case, reducing the Hue to -5 produces a nice result.


Here is the final result:

For the second example, we are going to use this image, which has become discolored over time.


We’ll perform the same three steps that were used on the previous image. First, we will use Fade Correction– a value of 50 does a nice job.


Next, we will apply One Step Photo Fix (found under the Adjust menu) and then open the Hue/ Saturation/ Lightness settings (also under the Adjust menu) and adjust the Hue to -8. This brings out some of the reds in the more neutral tones.

With these 3 tools we’ve been able to get rid of the red discoloration and brighten up the photo nicely.

Thanks for watching! We hope you found this tutorial helpful and we would love to hear your feedback in the Comments section below. And don’t forget to visit our social media pages and show us what you’ve learned by sharing your photos, videos and creative projects with us.

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Comments (7)

  • gildhard Reply

    The link OPEN ONLY the tutorial,
    Normally download a ZIP file with the files and PDF.
    Can you correct it?
    Best regards

    April 30, 2020 at 11:49 am
    • gilliandarby Reply

      Hi Gildhard,

      Thanks for your comment. The link has been updated to download the zip file that includes the sample images plus the PDF.

      Best regards,
      The Discovery Center team

      April 30, 2020 at 12:47 pm
  • Ray Aldridge Reply

    I noticed that in some tutorials you bring in a photo then make a duplicate layer to preserve the original background layer, but in other tutorials you bring in a photo then just duplicate the photo itself and work directly on the duplicated photo. Why?

    August 30, 2019 at 3:01 am
  • Bytecrawler Reply

    Great tutorial. I didn’t know exactly how the blemish and scratch remover tools worked and this helped a lot. My problem is that many of the pictures I am trying to clean up have a texture to them which shows up in scans. Is there any easy way to remove this?

    August 25, 2019 at 4:45 am
    • Adam Reply

      Hello Bytrecrawler,

      There are a few tools that can help with this, depending on the type of texturing you are seeing! Texturing on older photos is usually the grain of the photography papers gradually becoming more apparent as the image aged. This is usually a highly repetitive pattern across the image, and can be cleaned up using the Adjust > Add/Remove Noise > Moire Pattern Removal tool.

      Zoom in until you can see the patterns easily, then gradually adjust the Fine Details value until the pattern disappears. Very high values will blur the image, so this may take some tuning. Then adjust zoom until you can see whatever remains of the pattern again, and adjust the Remove Bands value one number at a time until the banding, blotches, or remaining patterning has faded sufficiently. Depending on the source image, they may not be removed completely.

      Once you are done using the Moire Removal tool, we would suggest giving a quick Sharpness pass to help bring back any detail lost to the Fine Details adjustment step.

      Hope this helps!
      Discovery Center Team

      August 27, 2019 at 7:07 pm
  • Albert Pretorius Reply

    Why can i not get 2 photos on my work space at the same time

    June 22, 2018 at 4:06 am
    • gilliandarby Reply

      Hi Albert,

      To display 2 photos in the PaintShop Pro workspace, go to the Window menu and uncheck Tabbed Documents. Then you can resize and reposition the images to display them side by side as in this tutorial.

      Hope this helps!

      The Discovery Center team

      June 22, 2018 at 7:47 am

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