How To Fix Faded Photo Scan Colours So They Look Natural Using Photoshop

What you're going to learn to do after reading these scan tips...

fix photo scan color with photoshop

1. Use Auto Color To Make Colours Look More Natural

Remember how I told you that it doesn't matter if your photo is 100 years old or 1 year old, you'll still get unnatural colours? And that's because your scanner is going to also scan the light coming off the surface of your photo.

The best way to get rid of this flat / "filmy" look, is to use "Auto Color".

Here's what to do: open your digital images in Photoshop, and find Auto Color...

fix color photo scan photoshop command

Command: Image -> Auto Color

And here's the before and after...

fix negative scan color photoshop

2. Colours Still Boring? Brighten Them Up Using "Color Balance"

In most cases Auto Color is all you'll need. But if you still feel that your colours are a bit off or not bright enough here's what to do:

Open the Color Balance Tool by clicking Ctrl + B or Image -> Adjustments -> Color Balance

And you'll get something like this...

fix color balance slide scan photoshop

Now, in my case (see image above), the colours are a bit dull. So what I did was, see those 3 gray arrows in the middle in the Color Balance tool? I moved them closer to Red, Green, Blue.

Now, your photo scan is going to be different. If your scan is way too red, then move the arrow toward Cyan. Or what if your blues look purple? Then you can slide the arrow closer to Green away from Magenta.

You see, it all depends on each scan. And hopefully Auto Color does the trick for you. If not, you'll have to use Color Balance. Sure, it takes time. But if you're serious about quality scans that you'll one day give to your grandchildren, then I think the time is worth it!

Here's what I did...

fix photo scan color balance photoshop

Next Step: Fix Dust, Scratches, Bends From A Photo Scan

Now that your colour look amazingly bright and natural, your next step is to fix all those scratches and cracks.

That's next...

How To Fix Cracks And Scratches From A Photo Scan Using Photoshop  

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