Photo Restoration FAQ
What kinds of damage can be restored by your restoration artists?
Through high resolution scanning and the latest photo editing software, our restoration artists can repair scratches, creases, tears, stains, mold, water damage, burns, faded color, writing, drawing, or virtually any other kind of damage that a photograph can endure. Many times, we can even rebuild parts of a photo that are completely missing if you are able to describe to us what was there originally.
Do you do anything to the original photograph itself?
The only thing we do with the original photograph that you provide us is perform a high resolution scan of it. All of our edits and restoration are done digitally to a separate file. This allows us to make changes that are reversible without risking the integrity of your original, irreplaceable image.
Is scanning and printing included in the price of the restoration?
No, all of our services are priced separately. Think of it as an à la carte menu. There are typically three to four steps in a typical restoration process:
- High Resolution Scan - Scanning Service Information
- Digital Retouching and Restoration - Restoration Service Information
- Archival Print - Custom Printing Information
- Optional: Custom Mat and Frame - Custom Framing Information
How long does photo restoration take?
The length of the restoration process is primarily dependent on the size and condition of the image you provide us. We will be able to give you an accurate estimate of cost and time once our restoration artist is able to inspect your original photo in person.
Can I provide you a digital file of the photograph that I want restored?
Yes, you are welcome to send us any digital files that you would like restored. However, most consumer scanning equipment is not going to deliver a very high quality. Especially where restorations are concerned, having exceptional image quality and resolution to begin with is crucial to getting a great restored photo. If you are sure that you'd like to scan your originals yourself, please use the highest resolution possible, and disable ALL of the automatic image adjustment settings prior to your scan (e.g. Digital ICE, color correction, sharpening, contrast, brightness, etc).
Where do your photo restoration services take place? Are my photographs sent to another location?
No! All of our services are performed here, on-site at PhotoSource (5106 Louetta Rd). You can be sure that your treasured photographs are safe. Most of the time, you will meet the restoration artist that will be working on your project. We think this provides a sense of security and assurance that you just can't get with other online businesses.
Are you able to remove or add people to or from a photograph?
Yes, we can remove or add people to a photograph. For various reasons, sometimes you may want to add or remove people from specific photographs. For example, you may want to simply isolate one of your relatives out of a group of people. We are able to tastefully perform these edits in 99% of the photographs we receive.
I have an old photograph that is curved (convex or concave). Are you able to restore these dome photos?
Yes, we receive old convex photographs all of the time. They take more time and care to scan, but once we have a high resolution copy of the image, we are able to restore the photograph just like we would any other image. However, we are NOT able to print a dome photograph ourselves. This is a process that is no longer in use. We can remount your restored photograph to the same frame and glass that the original is in, but the photo will simply lie flat instead of following the curvature of the glass.
How do I get the restored photograph back?
We return your original photograph back to you in the same condition that we received it. Your restored photograph will be delivered in digital format on CD or DVD. You also have the option of getting the restored photograph printed on our variety of archival, fine art papers. Please visit our Printing Services page for more information about print pricing.
What kind of paper can I print on so that the restored photograph has the same quality as the original?
We have found that our Smooth Fine Art paper is ideal for most photo restoration prints. The paper has a very subtle texture and is just slightly off-white, which perfectly complements the style of older photographs. Sometimes when older photographs are reprinted on super-white, glossy paper, they tend to look unnatural, as we are not used to seeing old photographs on modern paper. You can do it, but most people prefer (including us) the textured fine art papers.
The photograph I have is very old. I am not sure about its copyright status. Is it ok to restore the photo?
If the work was published in the U.S. before January 1, 1923, you are free to use it in the U.S. without permission. If the photo was published after 1923, most of the time we are able to restore the photograph under "fair use" rules since we are simply providing the service of restoring the original, not making copies. If there is a copyright notice anywhere on the photograph, we must obtain permission from the copyright holder prior to scanning the image. If you have questions about copyright issues, please refer to our Copyright Policy.
I have seen similar services offered at discount or online stores at a much lower price than what I was quoted by PhotoSource. Do they provide the same services that you do?
As with most things in life, you get what you pay for.
All of our restoration and retouching work is considered "archival quality." We don't use any automatic settings or tricks. We are PhotoShop wizards and manually correct problems because every image is unique and deserves individual attention. We work to restore and reproduce the quality and characteristics of your original image without losing detail.
You may see so-called "restoration" services offered at a lower price elsewhere. If you are on a strict budget and archival quality is not a concern for you, you will probably feel satisfied with the work that they do. However, if you are wanting to restore a one-of-a-kind, precious image, we strongly discourage customers from trying to save money by using these cheap "restoration" services. Not only do many of them ship your photos off to a central processing lab (honestly, who of you out there hasn't lost something in the mail at some point), but they typically use one-size-fits-all automatic adjustments that can severely impact the overall quality of the image. The image may look "restored" at first glance, but usually upon closer inspection you will find that the detail and sharpness of the original has been lost.
Yes, of course, we are trying to win your business, so we are biased. But we are also interested in saving you money. We have seen so many people walk into our store frustrated with the results they got from 'cheap' restoration services. We've seen a number of so-called restored photos that actually looked WORSE than the originals!
All of our services are performed onsite, which means your project is safe with us. Most likely the person you speak with you drop off your order is the person that will be working on your project. We are a small, local shop, so our staff will be able to personally follow your order from start to finish.