Digital Photo Restoration

Time, exposure to light, fluctuations in temperature and humidity, improper handling and natural disasters are the main causes of damage for older photographs.

However, once a photograph is digitized, many photo-editing possibilities open up. Professional photo-editing software such as Adobe Photoshop can be used not only to make simple changes, such as tonal and color corrections, but also to drastically manipulate images. When it comes to damaged photographs, such software in the hands of an expert can be used to restore them. In many cases, a photograph can be so badly damaged that restoring it digitally is the only option.

Digital Photo Restoration uses a variety of photo-editing techniques to remove many types of damage such as dust, abrasions, scratches, fingerprints, creases, dents, tears, cracks, rips, fading, yellowing, color shift, stains, mold or even material loss. Colorization of black-and-white photographs is also possible.

 

Here are some examples:


The original print, seen on the left, was a 3.5 x 4.5 cm (1 ½ x 2 inch) gelatin silver print, circa 1970. Judging from the numerous stamps and staple holes, this ID photograph appears that it had been used in more than one document and exhibited yellowing, scratches, creases, holes, rust and ink stains. Initially, the print was scanned at a high resolution using a flatbed scanner. Then, using Adobe Photoshop, it was cleaned and reconstructed. Slide to compare.

This 1970s black-and-white 8 x 8 cm (3 x 3 in) gelatin silver print was scanned, restored and then colorized. Slide to compare.

By preserving our old photographs, we are preserving our family history.

The original print, seen at the top, is a 10 x 15 cm (4 x 6 in) glossy chromogenic print, circa 1993. This print was ripped in two pieces. There was also dust, abrasions and a slight shift in color. At the bottom you can see the reconstructed image.

 

On the left, you can notice that the colors started to shift in this 8.6 x 10.8 cm (3.3 x 4.3 in) Polaroid, circa 1995. There are also flame-like marks along the bottom left of the frame which are signs of opacification failure, a common chemical damage in dye diffusion transfer prints (Polaroids). On the right, you can see how the colors were corrected and the opacification failure damage was removed.

Among the benefits of restoring old photographs is the fact that the digital file which is created can easily be stored and shared with other family members or friends. It also allows for endless copies and prints which can be larger in size than the original. As for the original photograph, further damage can be prevented as it no longer needs to be taken out of its enclosure, handled, or exposed to light and improper temperatures. For historians, the benefit of restoring old photographs is often considered priceless. By preserving our old photographs, we are preserving our family history for generations to come.

Danae Renieri offers Digital Photo Restoration services and can restore the appearance of a digital copy of a damaged physical photograph. Do not hesitate to contact if you are interested in this service.