Photo Restoration FAQ
I truly love older, vintage photos but often these photos have not been stored properly or suffer damage throughout the years. This can happen to any photo, no matter how old it is; when it does, and it is a precious memory you want to save, it may be time for some photo restoration work to be done.
What is photo restoration?
According to Wikipedia, digital photo restoration is the “practice of restoring the appearance of a digital copy of a physical photograph that has been damaged by natural, man-made or environmental causes or simply affected by age or neglect.”
In this process, different image editing techniques can be used to remove the visible damage your photos may have suffered.
When doing a photo restoration, you want to be sure to use a digital copy of your printed photo, which can be done by using a scanner. After all of the repairs have been done, the digital copy can be saved as a back-up copy and a new print can be made for display and sharing.
What is needed to do photo restoration work?
Basically, you need a computer and the right software to make minor repairs to photos. This might be things like modifying the contrast, sharpness, color and removing red eye.
However, if your photos are severely damaged, you may want to get the help of a professional.
What kinds of damages do photos suffer?
Photos need repair for a variety of reasons.
- Fading photos or color shifts due to non-archival quality photo paper and ink.
- Poor storage locations, such as attics, basements, garages, outdoor buildings and more, lead to mold, mildew, cracking, brittle photos.
- Allowing photos to be exposed to sunlight affect a photo’s condition, possibly giving the print an orange or red cast.
- Black and white photos turn yellow.
Restoring photos stops, or rather slows down, the damage that may be occurring.
Repair damaged areas, remove dust, adjust the contrast and color, cover scratches and/or rips but make sure it still looks like a photo when all is done.
What do I do with the restored photos?
The digital image of the restored photo can be used as part of your back-up strategy. Best practice is to follow the 3-2-1 rule:
Keep 3 copies of any important photos; one that is your primary file and two backup copies.
Keep the files on 2 different media types. This helps to protect against hazards and technological changes.
Store 1 copy offsite, not at your primary residence. Remember, storage devices and locations can also suffer disaster, you may want to keep more than one back-up copy in different off-site locations or even in different geographies.
Why should I restore my photos?
Sentimental reasons and genealogical tracking are often the most common reasons. It can be fun to look back and remember what the times were like when you or when your grandparents were growing up. Photos are a way to remember those who have passed on. They make great gifts, too!
How many photos in your collection have been damaged enough that they need to photo restoration work done?