12 Best Photo Restoration Software - Complete List [2021]

What's the Best Photo Restoration Software in 2021?

5.0 Votes: 3

Have lots of old photos damaged by time? Want to save them for the generations to come, but don’t know how? Most people just scan their old albums to save them from wear and tear, but in this case, your digital copies will be still torn and faded. What to do then? Luckily, there is old photo restoration software to bring back the former glory of your pictures.

What's the best photo restoration software

However, which program to choose? Will you be able to use this kind of software without expert skills in photography? No need to bombard yourself with these questions - we’ve done all the research for you and compiled a list of the most versatile programs. Some of them are perfect for beginners in picture editing and others are aimed at pro-level users.

Let’s start with a comparison table featuring 12 best software to fix old photos and evaluating the essential toolkit:

Features PhotoGlory PhotoGlory
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Adobe Photoshop Adobe
Photoshop
Sign Up
SoftOrbits Photo Retoucher SoftOrbits
Photo Retoucher
Download
GIMP
Download
Retouch
Pilot
Download
Luminar

Download
AKVIS
Retoucher
Download
Inpaint
Sign Up
Image
Mender
Download
PhotoScape

Download
Fotor

Download
SketchWay

Download
License Free trial Free trial Free trial Free Free trial Free trial Free trial Free Free trial Free Freemium Free
Price from $19.25 $39.99/month $24.99 $0.00 $47.54 $67.00 $87.00 $0.00 $24.95 $0.00 $3.33/month $0.00
Ease of use
Smart coloring
Auto correction
Damage removal
Noise reduction
Torn photo reconstruction
Inversion of negative pics
Built-in effects 100+ None None None None 70 None None None None 200 None
Text options
Final score 10 9.8 9.5 9.0 8.7 8.3 7.7 7.5 7.0 6.7 6.5 6.0

Top 12 Old Photo Editors for Windows and Mac

Being informative and objective, figures can give you only the general impression. Below, we will dwell on each software for old photo enhancement in more detail, pointing out both their ups and downs.

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Score10
PhotoGlory
  • Features: ..........................................10
  • Ease of use:.....................................10
  • Price / Quality: .................................10
  • Final score: ......................................10
PhotoGlory is the best photo restoration software since it combines a powerful toolkit with ease of use. With this program, you can colorize black & white photos in just a click or paint them manually using smart brushes. There are numerous features for removing creases, scratches, stains, scribbles and damaged edges. In general, PhotoGlory is a great choice for anyone since it’s pretty easy to grasp and copes even with severely damaged pictures.
Pros:
  • Tools powered by neural networks
  • Colorize B&W pics automatically
  • Boost faded colors
  • Get rid of worn edges
  • Assemble photos torn in half
  • Remove nasty grain
  • Turn negative images into positive
  • Add stylized text and date stamps
  • Apply 100+ retro photo filters
Cons:
  • No Mac version
Sign Up
Score9.7
Adobe Photoshop
  • Features: .............................................10
  • Ease of use: ........................................9
  • Price / Quality: ..................................10
  • Final score: .....................................9.7
What’s the most popular image editor available on the market? 99% of people will say Photoshop. This software is jam-packed with various tools. There is a detailed layer system, content-aware brushes, smart denoising and sharpening filters, convenient masks and what not. However, you need high image editing skills in order to restore old photos in Photoshop. Apart from the skills, an expensive monthly subscription is required.
Pros:
  • Colorize grayscale photos manually
  • Redeem any type of damage
  • Repair ripped photos
  • Erase stains, blobs or splotches
  • Get rid of color cast
  • Work with negatives
  • Supports custom plugins
Cons:
  • Steep learning curve
  • No automatic coloring option
  • No built-in filters or effects
Download
Score9.3
SoftOrbit Photo Retoucher
  • Features: ............................................10
  • Ease of use: ........................................9
  • Price / Quality: ....................................9
  • Final score: .....................................9.3
Thanks to automatic colorization, Photo Retoucher can be called one of the best programs for colorizing pictures. All you need is to upload your photo, make a click and the software will colorize it without your involvement at all. The interface is pretty simple. All the features are at your fingertips: you can restore and enhance your image digitally in mere minutes. However, some brushes are rather clumsy and you have to download additional presets.
Pros:
  • Colorize images automatically
  • Remove scratches, stains and tears
  • Get rid of grain and blur
  • Add date stamps and captions
Cons:
  • Automatic coloring mode is not precise
  • Can’t colorize images manually
Download
Score9.0
GIMP
  • Features: ............................................10
  • Ease of use: ........................................8
  • Price / Quality: ....................................9
  • Final score: ........................................9
If you need a free program, then try using GIMP to restore old photos. Similar to Photoshop, it offers many smart and content-aware brushes for fixing various types of damage. Using layers in the Color mode, you can quickly colorize your black and white images and bring faded colors back to life. It’s not the best photo repair software since there is no automatic coloring and the manual tools are rather clumsy.
Pros:
  • Customizable toolkit and UI panels
  • Boost faded colors
  • Fix severely damaged photos
  • Colorize pictures with convenient brushes
  • Supports community-created plugins
Cons:
  • Loading time is quite slow
  • No automatic picture coloring
  • Complex actions need a workaround
Download
Score8.7
Retouch Pilot
  • Features: .............................................9
  • Ease of use: ........................................8
  • Price / Quality: ...................................9
  • Final score: .....................................8.7
Retouch Pilot really stands out among the other photo restoration and retouching programs for newbies, since it offers a built-in video guide for each feature. Although the toolkit is limited, the software lets you repair your images without any undue efforts. You can pick the Clone Stamp to remove minor damage, or go with the Auto Patch tool to deal with larger tears. Nevertheless, don’t expect a pro-level result - the tools are rather messy with small details.
Pros:
  • Get rid of large tears and scratches
  • Correct washed-out colors
  • Built-in video guides for each tool
  • Supports plugins and add-ons
Cons:
  • No tools for professional restoration
  • Can’t colorize black & white images
  • Have to buy additional plugins
Download
Score8.3
Luminar
  • Features: .............................................9
  • Ease of use: ......................................8
  • Price / Quality: ....................................8
  • Final score: ....................................8.3
Seeking a pro-level toolkit? You’ll find it in Luminar. It’s packed with many smart tools for image repairing. You can apply AI-powered automatic presets to quickly enhance pictures, color correct them with filters and curves, remove stains or splotches, etc. Though Luminar is not as cumbersome as Photoshop, there is a downside - you need a high-end PC to run the software smoothly.
Pros:
  • Masks for editing certain areas
  • Reduce heavy grain
  • Convenient image organizing system
Cons:
  • No automatic coloring
  • High price tag
Download
Score8.0
AKVIS Retoucher
  • Features: .............................................8
  • Ease of use: ......................................8
  • Price / Quality: ...................................8
  • Final score: ......................................8
Your photos are heavily damaged? Check out AKVIS Retoucher - the best dust and scratch removal software. It allows you to quickly remove tears and scratches manually using content-aware brushes. Alternatively, it’s possible to select certain areas and let the software redeem all the damage automatically. Using this mode, you can even assemble torn photos. There are some cons: the software is rather pricey and doesn’t offer any image coloring tools.
Pros:
  • Reconstruct missing parts
  • Works as a Photoshop plugin
Cons:
  • No automatic image coloring
  • Rather expensive
Sign Up
Score7.7
Inpaint
  • Features: ............................................7
  • Ease of use: .......................................8
  • Price / Quality: ....................................8
  • Final score: .....................................7.7
If you don’t want to install any old photo editor to your PC, there’s always Inpaint. It is a web-based tool for removing scratches, tears and unwanted objects. It works like the Clone Stamp: you just need to make a selection and the program will get rid of any objects automatically. Although it sounds awesome, the service can’t offer anything else: there are no coloring or editing options available. In case you want to remove color cast, consider choosing a different program.
Pros:
  • Get rid of any damage quickly
  • Pretty easy to grasp
Cons:
  • Extremely limited toolkit
  • No image coloring tools
  • Uploads private pics to the Internet
  • Needs a stable Internet connection
Download
Score7.3
Image Mender
  • Features: ............................................7
  • Ease of use: ......................................8
  • Price / Quality: ....................................7
  • Final score: ......................................7.3
Need software to restore old photos rather than a web application? Image Mender is worth checking out. It’s an easy-to-grasp program where you need to select a damaged area with a brush, make a click and your picture will be patched up automatically. Sounds like Inpaint that doesn’t need a stable Internet connection. There is a pinch of salt, though - the software doesn’t offer anything else except the tools for removing unwanted objects.
Pros:
  • Remove scratches in a click
  • Assemble photos torn to pieces
Cons:
  • Discontinued
  • Can’t color black & white images
  • Limited toolkit
Download
Score7.0
PhotoScape
  • Features: ............................................7
  • Ease of use: ......................................7
  • Price / Quality: ....................................7
  • Final score: .......................................7
Looking for free software to restore old photographs? Check out PhotoScape. This program offers all the essential tools for image repair, including a convenient Clone Stamp. You can quickly remove scratches, splotches and stains, then enhance your pics with frames and effects. However, there are no image retouching tools. If you want to restore old portrait shots, then you’d better try a different program.
Pros:
  • Revive faded colors with effects
  • Redeem any type of damage
Cons:
  • No image retouching tools
  • Can’t colorize images
  • Outdated UI
Download
Score6.7
Fotor
  • Features: ............................................7
  • Ease of use: ......................................6
  • Price / Quality: ....................................7
  • Final score: .....................................6.7
There aren’t many photo editors for old photos on Mac. Fotor is one of them. It offers lots of automatic tools for portrait retouching. With this program, you can redeem damage and perform color correction in a few clicks. If you want to restore a whole photo album, then you can speed up the process with a batch editor. However, Fotor is clearly not the best old photo restoration software, since the toolkit is oversimplified, and meant for quick image enhancement.
Pros:
  • Boost and correct colors
  • Apply cool-looking effects
  • Add date stamps and frames
Cons:
  • Can’t colorize photos automatically
  • Few effects available
  • Works slow with large photos
Download
Score6.3
SketchWay
  • Features: ............................................6
  • Ease of use: ......................................6
  • Price / Quality: ....................................7
  • Final score: .....................................6.3
If SoftOrbits Photo Retoucher took your fancy but is too pricey, take a look at SketchWay. It has a similar interface and toolkit, although SketchWay is a little bit clumsier. With this image restoration software, you can remove scratches, tears and spots, as well as apply denoising filters and get rid of grain. You can get this software only from a few file share services. The official website doesn’t work properly.
Pros:
  • Content-aware brushes
Cons:
  • No official support
  • No automatic coloring

After reading photo restoration software reviews, you are probably confused with the diversity of programs: there are many options depending on your device, wallet size and image editing skills.

Judging by the final score and total number of features, PhotoGlory is the best photo editing software for old photos. While the other programs in the list tend to either retouching or repairing, PhotoGlory offers an all-in-one solution. You can quickly colorize your black and white pictures. If you have only negatives, PhotoGlory will turn them into positives and help you get rid of tears and scratches in them. What’s more, the software is much cheaper than its competitors. Also, it saves you a lot of money in comparison with photo restoration services that ask about $100 per photo.

It’s high time to bring your images back to life. We hope this list will help you find the best software to restore old photos.