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How to Remove Scratches and Spots from a Scanned Photo

A photo that you scan into your computer may have suffered some damage, and the scanning process can also add imperfections. You can use your image editor to remove this damage in the digital version of your photo. Decide what approach you want to take, based on the kind of imperfection you want to repair:

  • Scratches and specks: Select the area with imperfections and use the Dust & Scratches dialog box (if your image editor has one) to remove them.

    The Airbrush tool works wonders when you’re restoring photographs. It gives you a soft edge that blends with the original photo and also adds color with a degree of transparency that looks more natural and less like a patch.

    Remove imperfections in your image by using the Dust & Scratches dialog box.
    Remove imperfections in your image by using the Dust & Scratches dialog box.
  • Spots and damaged areas: View the picture at its actual size, then use the Clone Stamp tool (or your image-editing program’s equivalent tool) to copy an undamaged portion of the image and cover over the damaged area.

    Use the Clone Stamp tool to clean up a tear in your scanned photo.
    Use the Clone Stamp tool to clean up a tear in your scanned photo.
  • Touch-ups: Use the Airbrush tool (though your image-editing program may call it something else) to paint over damaged areas.

Avoid adding more specks to your scanned photo by cleaning the scanner window with an ammonia-based window cleaner and dusting your photos with a soft brush or cloth before scanning them.

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