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How To Restore a Discolored Photo with Photoshop Elements


discolored photo restoration example

Discolored photo, before and after restoration with Photoshop Elements.

© Copyright Robert Redwood
If you've got old photographs in your family album that have faded, you may wish to scan them in and then repair them using Photoshop Elements. It couldn't be simpler to restore a discolored photo.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 5 minutes

Here's How:

  1. First open up the scanned image in the Photoshop Elements editor. Then switch into 'Quick Fix' mode by pressing the Quick Fix button.

  2. In Quick Fix mode we can get a 'Before and After' view of our image. Using the drop down box labeled 'View', select either 'Before and After (Portrait)' or 'Before and After (Landscape)' depending on which fits your image best.

  3. Now, to recolor the image, we use the 'Smart Fix' slider in the 'General Fixes' tab.

  4. Drag the slider along to the middle, and the photo should return to a much more normal color. It's worth fine-tuning a little at this stage. Dragging the slider slightly to the right will emphasize the blues and greens in the image. Moving it to the left will increase the reds and yellows.

  5. Once your image is the right color, click the tick icon at the top of the tab to accept the changes.

  6. If your image is still too dark or light, the sliders in the 'Lighting' tab can be used to bring out the detail a bit more. Many photos won't need this extra step though.

  7. If necessary, use the 'Lighten Shadows' and 'Darken Highlights' sliders to adjust the brightness of the image. Then alter the 'Midtone Contrast' slider to increase the contrast slightly, if the image has faded in this way. You'll need to hit the tick icon again to confirm the changes.


  1. Once your photograph is repaired, you can re-print it and stick it next to the original in the album!

  2. If your photograph is torn, or has marks or blemishes on it, take a look at this article on Repairing Torn Photos.
Related Video
Restore a Discolored Photo in Photoshop Elements

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