Paula Bailey

September 20, 2010

Photo restoration

At last!  The Photo Restoration pages on my website are complete and live.  Whilst I really need to re-work the whole site, I was keen to get these pages up and running as soon as possible now that I have the publicity materials printed and ready to go.  No point having a web address without anything on it.

photo restoration

My grandfather - this was probably taken around 1918

It all began with this photograph on the left.  This is my grandfather.  He was born in 1900, was too young to serve in WW1 but was working in a bottle factory that got bombed and was injured, which meant he couldn’t serve in WW2 either.  Of course he did contribute but was never on active service.  I have a certificate from the King thanking him for giving up the hotel he ran with my grandmother, so that injured soldiers could be treated – a makeshift hospital.

Old photographs have stories and memories attached to them which is why they are so precious.  The older they are the more scarce they may be – photography was very expensive – and many have become damaged over the years (over the centuries!).  I decided I wanted to display this photograph so set about using my then limited knowledge of photo editing to clean it up.  In those days I was using PaintShop Pro – a brilliant program that at the time did anything PhotoShop could do (I don’t know how it fares these days).  I was very pleased with the result, though I wish I’d scanned the original at a higher resolution.  Live and learn.

photo restoration

My great-great grandparents and their four daughters. My great grandmother stands on the left. This photo was taken in 1889 or earlier.

I tried other photos (my second task was my most treasured family photograph here on the right) and eventually tried working on more modern photos too.  Time and time again I heard stories about the photographs and what made them special.  Often they were the only photograph remaining of a family member, even the modern ones.

I  am now offering restoration as a service. Because I am so keenly aware of how important these photographs are, I prefer their owners to scan them in for me, but of course I will do this if necessary (very swiftly so that I can get the original back and out of my hands as soon as possible).

photo restoration

These little monkeys used their photo as a dart board! It's the only one their father has of them from that age (they're all grown up now).

There are some examples of what can be done, and some price guidelines on my website and you can see any new additions in my Flickr set – I’ll be adding to this as I go along.

I can also make improvements to old slides (usually dust removal and colour improvement) and digital images (such as removal of unwanted objects – see here).

Maybe you have an old photo that should be out on display instead of languishing in a drawer.  If you send me a quick scan I can let you know what can be done and give you a quote.  Or if you have any other questions not covered by the website pages, please email me and I’ll see if I can help.

Alternatively you may be feeling inspired by this and fancy having a go yourself.  If you have PhotoShop or similar editing software, and a scanner, you’re ready to go.  It takes time and patience and trial and error to get the details right, but it is incredibly satisfying.

It is so rewarding to be able to breathe life back into a treasured photograph and if you get to see the face of the owner when you give it to them – that’s priceless.

photo restoration

This was the only photo this guy had of himself as a young man - and with his pride and joy! It had been 'stored' in his back pocket for many years and was in danger of disintegrating. This one took a long time to do but was very rewarding.


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