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I've searched here, but don't see anything on how best to go about dealing with grainy old photos.  

Does anyone have suggestions on how to clean up those old grainy photos in AF Photo?

iMac 21.5" Mid 2011

2.5 GHz i5

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Understanding why grains appear on photos is the first step. I have tried fixing a couple of grainy pictures in AF but it didn’t work well. Tools like Light room and Photoshop noise have better chances to work.
Some of the main reasons of a grainy photo is:

1.       High ISO – Higher the ISO, higher is the amount of grain.

2.       Low light – Photos become grainy if enough light was not available when the photo was taken.

3.       Too slow shutter speed – One school of thought believes if shutter speed is very low and light is low, photos may have lot of grain and noise.

4.       Camera – High-end DSLRs usually perform better in low light and handle high ISO with minimum noise. Same cannot be said about low end DSLRs and point and shoot cameras. These type of camera have a small sensor, leading to high noise as effective light getting to sensor is lesser than if it were a high-end DSLR, which have a bigger and better responsive sensor.

5.       Excessive Post Processing – Another reason for grainy photos is over adjustment in post-production. When sharpness of a photo is increased, grains/pixels in a photo become more prominent. If this adjustment is overdone, photo becomes grainy in no time.

Can you post the picture so we can try for ourselves?
Also, what is your file format?
If it’s JPEG, It might help you to resort for some JPEG Repair software. I highly recommend Stellar Phoenix JPEG Repair Software.

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4 hours ago, Lisa Smith said:

Understanding why grains appear on photos is the first step. 

You're talking about noise - the OP is trying to fix an old photo which (I assume) has been scanned.

AP user, running Win10

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