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Vivid-Pix Restore Picture-Fix Breathes New Life into Old, Bad Vacation Photos

Those forgotten, dusty family pictures from that beach trip way back in 19-whenever can finally join you in the Instagram era.

May 21, 2020
London
London’s Trafalgar Square on a cloudy day, circa June 1997. Ashley Burns

As someone who eternally struggles to defeat his pack rat demons, I find, at least once a year, something in an old box or folder that I totally forgot existed. Baseball cards, concert ticket stubs, VHS tapes of my high school ska band performing in a dive bar—every attempt to clean out my closets is like being a pirate who discovers really useless buried treasure. But one of my latest finds actually turned out to possess real personal value, as a dusty Ikea box tucked behind some cardboard comic book bins turned out to be the final resting place of an Eckerd Ultralab photo envelope containing prints from the only trip I have ever taken to London.

Remember printed photographs? Boy, that takes me back. In this case, it took me back to 1997, when I bounced around “The Smoke” with several disposable cameras. Try reading this to teenagers today and they’ll think you’re crazy.

Needless to say, Ansel Adams I was not. Out of dozens of photos, maybe 10 (and that’s being generous) deserve to stay out of the trash can, but even those photos were lacking in quality. To be able to fix these photos, even with the slightest touch-ups to make it seem like the weather wasn’t that terrible (it was), would be a treat, but I’m not exactly the savviest when it comes to photography software. Also, these programs can be really expensive, so trying the popular programs feels risky.

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For years, I’ve used the most popular and expensive programs to edit high-quality images, but never to improve or save old photos. So, I tried the affordable and user-friendly Vivid-Pix’s Restore Picture-Fix software with the primary reason being that it seems so easy, which is crucial for people whose travel photography level has long been stuck at “point and click, and try not to get your thumb in the shot this time, genius.”

Is It as Easy as It Seems?

software
There’s something comforting about a very simple software layout. Islands

Trying new software can be intimidating. Even programs that we’ve used for years can throw our world into chaos with out-of-the-blue updates that change appearances and move things around. Upon opening the Restore program, I was relieved to see that this is as simple as uploading a scanned image and selecting the version that offers the best lightness and contrast.

We’re off to a really good start.

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vivid pix
This part is a little trickier. Islands

Once you’ve selected the best version of your image, it’s time to make adjustments. This is where I usually struggle the most, but all mistakes are easily undone in this very user-friendly design. I wouldn’t call this “Photo Editing Software for Dummies,” but it certainly isn’t a stretch to say that it’s “Photo Editing Software for Old Dogs Who Lack Confidence in Their Ability to Learn New Tricks.”

And I’m still not done learning how to use this software or even correcting this first image, which I’m not sure can even be fixed, due to the terrible weather we experienced on that trip. But it’s fun to at least fix a photo so that looks a little nicer in a frame, forever reminding me how I kept confusing Trafalgar Square with Piccadilly Circus, much to the delight (or annoyance) of our tour guides.

What I Love the Most

I’m not done trying to create the best version of this image because Vivid-Pix doesn’t give up on trying to help old dogs. The company recently launched the “Round Tuit!” education program to encourage users to take advantage of excess free time by finally getting around to organizing old photos and documents and using this software to restore everything. Thus, Round Tuit… it’s clever!

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Some classes are free, while others cost $1.99, and they include lessons on everything from scanning the images to using old family photos to research genealogy. And the latter becomes an even greater educational opportunity, as Vivid-Pix has recruited an incredible list of historians and experts to assist with your research.

From the software to the classes, this is a really good way to teach yourself some new tricks, share them with children and even embrace a new hobby or two.

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