One thing that continuously strikes us is how special our job is. Photo restoration brings moments in time back to life, taking special occasions and reviving them for future generations to enjoy. We hear the moving stories behind the pictures, and the images linger in our memories long after the final product is sent.
It’s recently got us thinking about what makes for a truly great photo restoration. It’s not all technology and software. Here’s our take on what really counts:
Photo Restoration is an Art
Each damaged photograph is unique. Maybe a face has faded in the sunlight, or an aunt’s hair has a patch of seemingly irretrievable water damage. The details are often disappearing and it can be challenging to work out how to bring them back. This is where photo restoration is not merely a technique – it becomes an art form.
Like an artist working on a style of painting, talented restorers specialize in different elements of an image. For example, the texture of skin or the color of hair. These require a variety of skills for the result to look realistic and lifelike. Get it wrong and a person can resemble a plastic doll.
Research and Endless Curiosity
Understanding the era of an antique photograph is a big part of the restoration process. When an old picture is ripped, it must be meticulously researched to figure out what was previously there.
Was the door made of wood? How would the paper have looked? What type of textures would be on that tree?
A knowledge of old photography techniques and materials helps build the basis of a perfect restoration. Colors require precision that can’t be guessed. An exceptional restoration artist must be constantly curious about what’s right for the image in front of them.
Remain Faithful to the Original, or Retouch the Memory?
Being faithful to the original photograph is an important part of providing a quality restoration. We aim to preserve the unique historical moment captured by the image. But minds don’t always remember things exactly as they were and sometimes people want to make changes. With modern technology, it’s possible to manipulate the way someone looks, or remove a person from an image entirely.
Here’s where the difference between restoring and retouching comes in – recreating the visual aspects of an image vs making changes to it. Our approach follows the belief that a high-end photo restoration will stay true to the reality. This means returning the photograph to how it looked before any damage occurred. Retouching is fun and often has amazing results – it’s just got a different objective to restoration work.
The Value of Photo Restoration
The truth is that high end photo restoration isn’t a cheap option. With several experts working on each image, it’s not possible to compete with over the counter or flat fee services. But, what we offer is different. Our work ethic focuses on quality over quantity, so one secret we stand by is that we won’t compromise on this. We know it costs more, but the accuracy and artistic skill required to realistically restore an old photograph is worth it in the end.
It’s Not All Technology – It’s the People Behind the Scenes that Count
Good judgement, care and a passion for creating beautiful photographs are more important than any other part of a restoration. Yes, modern technology is powerful and we can do so much to restore images that were previously thought beyond repair. But, it’s the little details that matter to a final product.
The Lead Artist brings together the different strengths of each of the individual restorers into one final composition. No one person can be a weak link in the chain of quality photo restoration. The process takes time and attention to detail – rushing a job is just never going to do justice to these precious memories of the past.
Overall, photo restoration is a fun and unique business to have found ourselves in. There’s always challenges to discover the best ways to inject new life into someone’s treasured photograph.
We can’t help but love what we do, even after all these years. Perhaps that’s the biggest secret to photo restoration success.