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It happens to all of us at some point… you visit your parents or some long lost relative and you are subjected to the statement…
‘Ooh we have a box of old photos in the attic you might want to look at… I’ll just go and fetch them!’
…so off they go, despite your protestations, and after a few minutes of clattering around the attic, the box full of old photos, covered in cobwebs, just dragged out of from beneath the bag of old magazines and the Sega Megadrive, appears on the table before you. Pile upon, unruly, pile of photos from times gone by. Stuck together, stained and in varying degrees of deterioration.
Our initial fears of ‘Oh my… this could get embarrassing’ are soon forgotten as we realise the wealth of family history concealed within this treasure trove of stained, faded, cracked and dogeared images.
What a shame that photographs from our past are invariably in a dishevelled state, but, all is not lost if you have the imagination and patience to render some restoration on them.
Some will be beyond repair but others can be beautifully restored.
We, at MIAN Photography and Training, are quite often requested to perform photo restorations from clients and the reasons for the restorations are as varied as the subjects in the photographs.
Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast price ranges for the restorations as each project is assessed on a photo by photo basis and the time it would take to ‘fix’ the image. Some can be done reasonably quickly while others can take days to do (depending on the deterioration of the source image).
So what do we do?
Well. firstly we require the image – it is always best to send the (physical) original photograph rather than a scanned version, where possible, as we can then set scanning parameters ourselves as required. Again each photo is assessed and the scanning size is determined, with heavily damaged photographs the resulting file size is very big, to eek out as much detail from it as possible.
Then the real work starts. Using various Photoshop filters, spot healing and cloning techniques the damaged portions of the photograph are regenerated. It is a labour intensive process as small areas at a time are fixed.
There may be times where even artistic license cannot repair damaged areas so taking information from another source image may be needed when available.