HOW TO.....

Beginners Guide to Fixing Faded Washed Out Images

Whether you had old faded photos or slides converted to digital, or if your digital camera just didn't have the right settings, you can end up with a faded washed out digital image. Luckily, it isn't that difficult to fix to faded images. It just requires a few simple steps to bring the life back into your digital image.

fix faded washed out photos

There are two main issues with this image, contrast & color saturation. There are different techniques to adjust contrast & color saturation, but I will show you one of the simplest ways.


The contrast of a picture is the difference between the white & the black in an image. As you can see in the before photo the darkest points to the image need to be darker. Using the free software Pixlr you go to 'Adjustments' on the tool bar and you will see 'Brightness & Contrast'. There will be a sliding scale where you can add both brightness & contrast to an image. Remember that contrast makes the darker parts of the image darker, and the brightness will make the whiter parts of the image whiter.


This is my favorite adjustment, I think it just breathes so much life into digital images by adding a bit of extra color.


Go to 'Adjustments' on your tool bar again and select 'Hue & Saturation". This is also an easy sliding scale where you can go back & forth adding or taking color away from your image. Try not to go too crazy, otherwise your image could look a little cartoon like. You will want to leave the Hue & Lightness alone for our current project, but you can play around with them just for fun.

saturation examples



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