As prized as old photos are, they are also extremely fragile – prone to fading or damage from mold, water or other environmental factors. And with most of them, there is only a single copy in existence. So when they get ripped, creased or obscured by water spots, it can be distressing
Luckily, it is still possible to salvage a photo that is marred by age. Using the latest technology and a certain amount of TLC, a photo restoration specialist can take even a severely damaged image and restore it to its original condition.
The process involves first digitizing the image with a high quality scanner. The specialist then proceeds to rebuild the image, pixel by pixel. Advanced editing tools are used to recreate parts of the image that are missing, erase scratches and remove other blemishes linked to photographic age. If there are unwanted color casts on the image, this can be corrected also.
There are three main types of photo damage that can be tackled through expert restoration:
1. Tears or rips – Photos that have been stored for a long time in shoeboxes or albums are likely to get stuck and become vulnerable to tearing when they are removed. If a photo is completely ripped, try to include as much of the image as possible before scanning it or sending it to a service.
The more of the original image there is to work with, the easier it is for a restoration expert to recreate it.
2. Water damage – When a basement gets flooded, your boxes of old photos may get caught in the riptide. Photos can also be damaged when doused with water used to put out a fire in the vicinity. For best results, wipe and air dry the photos before sending them off to your restoration service to scan and repair.
3. Mold damage – Mold damage occurs when humidity levels around your photos are high, as in basements and attics. It can even affect framed photos, particularly if they are not matted. This kind of damage is also common with slides and negatives.
Again, this is not a situation that is beyond repair. With the help of a good restoration service, you can erase the unsightly effects of moisture from all your photos.
As you can see from the examples above, the results from photo restoration can be phenomenal.
If you have any photos that are candidates for this type of service, don’t put it off any longer. Send your precious memories in and see how they can have their original shine restored.
Laurent Martin is a co-founder and CTO of Scancafe (a photo digitization and restoration service) and Photogurus (a digital photo story design service). An avid photographer and windsurfer, he believes in the importance of helping people preserve photographic memories so that they are easier to share and enjoy.