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Give Your Old Photos A Makeover With These 6 Apps

Photographs are analog memories of the past that deserve to be restored to their former glory.

By Denise LangeneggerPublished 4 years ago 4 min read
Photo by: Laura Fuhrman via Unsplash

But colorization and restoration on the actual photograph can be expensive and is best left to experts, while photograph restoration and editing software can be bulky on the desktop and pricey, even. So, for non-professionals looking for an instant fix to the multitude of photos in those stored away albums, there are numerous photo editing apps available. Some, even specifically meant to restore old photos and make them look new digitally.

Here are a few apps we’ve found to be very helpful in giving your photos a makeover:

1. Photomyne

Photomyne is quick and easy to use. Using your smartphone, all you need to do is scan your old photos via your phone camera, and an AI-based scanner scans multiple photos at once in just minutes. The app features auto-cropping and auto-enhancing tools to remove the headache of doing so. Other features include filters, albums, location, and date tags. The app is free to download on both iOS and Android but offers in-app purchases.

Gather your old photos from your childhood photo album and create a digital live album you can share with your loved ones online. You can add location and date tags of each photo in the album to spark nostalgia and quickly bring up a great story or two.

2. PhotoScan by Google

If your intention is purely to digitize your film photos, then Google’s PhotoScan cuts to the chase. The app literally acts as a photo scanner and creates a digital file. However, the PhotoScan app eliminates glare and automatically corrects perspective by taking multiple shots of a single photo and joins them all together. This produces a sharper image minus the glare. It also allows you to back up your scans on the Google Photos app. PhotoScan is available for free on both iOS and Android.

PhotoScan is not just a point-and-shoot app. It requires your patience to frame the photograph ideally by aligning your phone with each of the four white dots that appear at the center.

3. Helmut Film Scanner

The Helmut Film Scanner app is an ingenious way to digitally develop your film negatives through your smartphone. It lets you relive memories and even revisit the ones that were hidden away on a roll of undeveloped film. Apart from being innovative, the app is convenient enough to guide you through every step from capturing, inverting, cropping, and enhancing through handy editing tools. It works equally well for black and white negatives, colored negatives, and colored positives. The app is currently only available for free on Android and offers in-app purchases.

Keep in mind when capturing your negatives to have a strong light source from behind. Backlight for your negatives is the key for all the lines and shadows to truly stand out and be recognized by your phone’s camera.

4. Colorize Images

The Colorize Images app brings back to life your black and white photos automatically. Its simple interface lets you upload your black and white photos and it adds all the colors for you without the need to edit each element. However, its automated coloring system is not always accurate and may need a bit more time before the AI learns to accurately do so in detail. The app is currently available for free on Android but a subscription allows unlimited coloration of photos uninterrupted by ads.

Historical photos that still have good quality fare best with this app. Old photos that date back to almost a century ago can still be reimagined with its near-original colors without losing its historical feel.

5. Instasize

Instasize is known for its photo and video editing tools and fun filters. However, as an all-in-one toolkit for content creators, old photos can also get their deserved makeover with its numerous vintage filters and editing tools including contrast, sharpness, brightness, just to name a few. Instasize allows you to nitpick elements and edit them to your liking to restore your images consistent with the theme of your Instagram feed.

Instasize is also great for creating a retro and analog feel to your own photos. Its updated filter packs include film-like aesthetics on your own photos and even place them together in a single post through its built-in collage tool.

6. Made

While posting restored and upcycled photos on your Instagram feed adds a nostalgic feel to your overall theme, your Stories shouldn’t be left out. Made specifically caters to Instagram Stories with its format and features. The app offers templates, backgrounds, filters, and fonts that easily vamp up your old photos to make it Stories-worthy. All these can be viewed in its storyboard feature where you can build Stories from scratch to finish.

Why not makeover your photos and videos in a retro fashion to evoke some nostalgia for your Stories? Made offers numerous template packs that bring you back to the 90s and early 2000s when the time felt simpler.

Wrapping up:

With the surge of apps that cater to all of your photography needs, you don’t even need to purchase expensive equipment such as photo scanners. Giving your old photos a makeover is simpler than ever as long as you find the right app for your intention -- whether it’s restoring photos from the past, digitizing film and negatives, or even just giving your own photos a unique aesthetic.

Don’t forget to share on your different social media platforms too! Your photo’s unique vintage aesthetic will surely get the attention of your followers, but it wouldn’t hurt to boost your social media presence a little more with other tools like Pinterest tools, Instagram tools, etc. Who knows? Maybe you can even start selling your photos!


About the Creator

Denise Langenegger

Denise Langenegger is part of the team at Instasize – a content creating tool kit for anyone editing photos and online content on mobile.

Instagram: @instasize.official

Twitter: @Instasize

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