Fix a film scan in Photoshop

No matter how bad the damage to a negative is, scan it and you can carry out a perfect edit in Photoshop Elements.

Most modern desktop scanners have the capability to scan negatives without any major issues. Here, we show you how to take those scans and improve them dramatically.

1. Straighten and crop

The image needs straightening, so choose the Straighten Tool and select Original Size from the Canvas Options. Click and drag the tool along the horizon line from one side to the other. Next, use the Crop Tool to crop away the areas of exposed canvas.

2. Colour cast removal

To correct any colour cast, go to Enhance>Adjust Colour>Remove Colour Cast. Click with the eyedropper in an area of the image that should be a neutral colour, such as the lighter areas within the sky. It may take a few attempts to get this right. Click OK when you’re happy.

3. Healing dust spots

Add a new Layer and choose the Spot Healing Brush. Choose a soft brush, check Proximity Match and All Layers. Zoom in to the image and use the brush at a small size to dab over all the small marks and dust spots.

4. Selective Levels adjustments

Use the Quick Selection Tool to select the sky. Add a Levels Adjustment Layer via Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels. Drag the White Point slider to the left to brighten the highlights and modify the midtones with the central (Gamma) slider.

5. More Adjustment Layers

Use other Levels Adjustment Layers to change the tones in other areas of the image. You can restrict the effect of the Adjustment Layer by filling it with black via Edit>Fill Layer. Paint over the area you want to show adjustment by using the Brush Tool with white as Foreground.

6. Fine adjustments

You can make fine tweaks to each Layer mask by painting into it with black and white. Remember, you can always adjust the settings by double-clicking the Adjustment Layer once you’ve painted the mask. When you’re happy, flatten the image via Layer>Flatten Image.