Don't throw away your old, damaged photos, repair them with a good photo restoration service.
There are no if's, and's, or but's about it: Old photos are extremely fragile, and over time, will deteriorate. These images often become yellow, can crack, can tear, etc. So what do you do when this happens? Well, whatever you do, don't throw them away!! We recommend contacting an old photo restoration service as soon as possible. The sooner you are able to begin preserving your old photo (s), the better the chances are for a full photo restoration.
So, Why do Old Photos Deteriorate?
Let's start at the beginning, and understand that old photographs were made up of 3 basic layers:
1) The Supportive Backing = typically cardboard or heavy paper, this material is often subject to mold and severe deterioration over time.
2) The Binder = a substance that "binds" the image to the backing, usually made of collodion. Over time, and depending on the air quality and humidity levels, the binder will often become either soft and sticky, or dry and cracked. This is an obvious sign of how an old photo will deteriorate.
3) The Image Material: The image material is basically suspended in the binder, and often consists of silver, color dyes, and pigmented particles. It is these image materials (dyes, pigments, etc.) that will cause these old photos to fade much quicker in direct sunlight.
Important Things to Consider When Storing Your Old Photos:
1) Use archival quality supplies. For the purposes of both storing and mounting your photos, you want to use archival quality supplies. Archival quality papers, folders, enclosures, and mats are made of materials which will not deteriorate the photograph.
2) Photographs should be stored in a place that is dark and cool, and which will not be at risk for very low or very high humidity. These rules out most basements and attics. The storage area should also be clean and free of household pests. The binder on photographs, especially abdomen, is an attractive food for insects.
3) Photographs can be stored in chemically inert paper folders or plastic enclosures. Acid-free paper is available buffered, meaning it comes with an alkaline reserve that can neutralize any acid that is formed. Some photographs are sensitive to alkaline environments; in such cases, use a neutral paper (acid-free and unbuffered).
4) Plastic enclosures should be made of chemically inert plastics such as polyester. The polyester should not have a hazy film on its surface. While plastic enclosures have many benefits, such as protection from external humidity and dust, they can occasionally trap humidity and attract dust inside next to the photograph. It’s best to use these enclosures in areas that are constantly at low humidity.
Crazy, but True: Facts to Remember When Mounting Your Photos
]1) Sunlight will speed up the deterioration of your photographs. Solution: Whenever possible, keep your photograph out of direct sunlight, preferably in a cool environment that is neither too dry nor too humid.
2) Use materials that are acid-free. How will that help? Well, this will actually help prevent the photograph’s supportive backing from turning yellow. Yuck! If you don't want your photos to deteriorate over time, make sure that all supplies made of paper should be acid-free.
3) It is best to only use glass or acrylic. What does that mean? The “glazing” material itself can be any thick, clear material that protects your photo from UV radiation. It is important to remember that the glass or acrylic should never come into direct contact with the photograph itself. Why, you ask? Well, if there is too much humidity (i.e. you live by the beach or have an old photo hanging in your bathroom), the photograph could become stuck to these smooth glass surfaces. To prevent this, try using a photo mat as a spacer, which will put enough space between the backing board and the glazing photo material to prevent sticking.
Uh-Oh! What if Your Old Photos are Already Damaged?
1) Be sure to make a copy. Before trying to repair to your old damaged photos, please make sure to make a copy. If your photograph is stuck to a glass (or acrylic) surface, don't try to remove it, rather try to scan the photo through the glass. This will guarantee that you have a backup in case the photo is damaged further. A photo that is stuck to glass surface will most likely rip if you try and take it off, and then where will you be!?
2) Do not try to repair an old damaged photo yourself. The internet is full of "How to" guides on repairing old photos, but trying to fix it yourself could actually end up doing more harm than good. Old photo restoration is truly an art, and every photograph has unique characteristics and details that need to be preserved and taken into consideration.
So, Now What?
Contact a professional photo restoration company as soon as possible. The faster you do this, the better your chances will be for a successful photo restoration. Ready, Set, Go!!
Need to Restore Old Photos? Keep These Useful Scanning tips in Mind:
2) Try a Using a Film Scanner for those old 35mm slides.
If you find that you have a lot of 35mm film or slides to scan, we suggest that you try and purchase an actual film scanner. This will do a considerably better job when trying to restore your old photos and negatives.
3) Resolution Matters.
Important: Make sure to scan your photo at an appropriate resolution. If you are unfamiliar with what this means, here is a general guideline:
When you are scanning a black and white photo, make sure to scan it as 24bit RBG Color (NOT grayscale). 24bit files have 3 times the color depth of an 8 bit grayscale file, so they will naturally capture much more of the subtle tones. If your photo is badly faded, you may even try to scan at 48 bit.
4) Beware of Textured Paper!
When opting to restore old photos, textured prints can be a bit tricky to scan. If you are one of the many people that has an old photo that was printed on textured or embossed paper, try photographing it with a digital camera to help reduce the noise etc. The textured pape
5) Make Sure to Save in the Correct Format
Make sure to always save your scans in a lossless format such as TIFF, vs. JPEG etc. Make sure to save a copy of the original scan. View your scanned images at 100% when looking at them on your computer to make sure that your photo scanned correctly and clean.
A Good Photo Restoration Service can become your Old Photos' Best Friend
When You Can't Afford a Traditional Wedding with a Professional Wedding Photographer, How About Getting Married at the Courthouse or City Hall!?!
First thing is first.. Relax! Find comfort in knowing that you are not the only bride/groom that is overwhelmed by the expense of a traditional wedding. There are thousands of bride and grooms who can't afford to go the traditional route. Some even choose not hire a professional wedding photographer, asking "Uncle Bob" or "Auntie Em" with the good camera to snap a few (which saves you $2500++ that can be spent elsewhere).
Courthouse / City Hall Weddings tend to be more intimate.
Don't like the idea of 150+ pairs of eyes staring at you when you walk down the aisle, say your vows, or have your first dance as husband and wife? We don't blame you! Smaller weddings tend to be more about the "moment," and less about the "show" of a traditional wedding. Focus on the important matters of the day, and not on whether or not your guests are having a good time, or whether or not the bar tab has been exceeded, etc.
Courthouse / City Hall Weddings are undoubtedly less stressful.
Less stress = more focus on the important fact of the day: You are getting married!! Keep your focus on this, and don't worry about seating arrangements, menu fonts, wedding favors, table cards etc. This is YOUR day... so keep it that way!
Short Engagements: Why Wait another Year to Get Married?
You have already spent a lifetime waiting to find that special someone to share the rest of your life with, so why wait any longer? Don't be at the mercy of venue availability that has to be booked months, if not years, in advance. If you are positive that this is the one for the rest of your life, you shouldn’t have to wait another day. Courthouse and City Hall weddings may just be the perfect option for you and yours.
Time restraints: What are those?
Fact: Traditional weddings tend to have traditional wedding coordinators that may want you to stick to a tight schedule on your wedding day. You will have an outline of how long your wedding ceremony will be, how much time you will have for pictures, dinner, dancing, etc. What fun is that? With a courthouse / city hall wedding, you are not bound by a schedule. You're in, you’re out, and then you’re free to do what you want. Easy!
Keep the Focus on What is important.
Years from now, as you reflect back on the details of your wedding day, is it really going to matter that your personalized table cards matched the place settings? Or that the fancy flowers you spent $100s of dollars on, matched the color of the wall of your reception room? No, (or at least it shouldn't). What you SHOULD be remembering, is the moment you saw your bride/groom for the first time as you came down the aisle. You SHOULD be remembering the feeling of his/her hand in yours as you repeated your vows, and leaned in for your first kiss.
Remember, by limiting the amount of money you have spent on your venue and wedding ceremony, you may now be able to afford a professional wedding photographer. If you prefer to save that money too, no problem. A good wedding photo editing service may able to help you transform those ordinary amateur photos, into professional-like, album ready wedding images.
Can't Afford A Wedding Photographer? No Problem.
First thing is first.. Relax! Find comfort in knowing that you are not alone. There are hundreds, if not thousands of bride and grooms who can't afford to hire a professional wedding photographer (OR) they have simply opted to spend that $2500++ elsewhere. We know of plenty of bride and grooms that have 'let the guests take their wedding pictures’ or asked a friend/family member with a 'good camera' to rise to the occasion.
Option #1: Ask for Less hours
Ideally, you would want your photographer there all day from your "getting ready" photos to your first dance as a married couple, BUT this can be, and often is, very expensive. If you've done the math and simply can’t afford a wedding photographer for the whole day, then try asking for just 3-4 hours of coverage. Hire a professional wedding photographer to capture the KEY elements of the day (i.e. the ceremony, the first kiss, the portrait session, a few group shots, cutting the cake, and maybe the toasts). After all, how many pictures of friends/family drunkards dancing actually make it to your wedding album?
Option #2: Forego the Album, and Opt for Disc Only
A big part of the expense in some of the wedding photography packages is the actual album and prints. BUT, with SO many sites offering to create albums, books, coffee mugs professional prints etc, you have other options. How about just asking for a high resolution photo image disc. This will undoubtedly give you more freedom to print from your preferred photo lab, AND will save you money = win, win.
Option #3: Maybe Hire a "2nd shooter"
2nd Shooters are simply photographers who have photographic skills and good experience working with wedding professionals. While they may still technically be in "training," they can save you a TON of money, and your pictures may be still be just as good. 2nd shooters are looking to gain experience, and can certainly offer a full day of wedding coverage, for a fraction of the cost.
Option #4: How about hiring a Student Photographer
Like 2nd Shooters, Student Photographers are looking for experience, and can often offer full wedding coverage, at a fraction of the cost. Try putting an ad out on Craigslist or contacting your local university and seeing if there are any photography students that are up to the task. We would still recommend that you meet with them beforehand and review their portfolio before hiring them to capture the moments of your big day. After all, they will only get one shot at this come actual wedding day, and you'll want to make sure that your styles are alike.
Option #5: Try an Alternative Style Wedding
Photographers LOVE a unique opportunity, especially if it means expanding their wedding photo portfolio. By all means, take advantage of this!!! If you opt to have a wedding that is non-traditional, or alternative, you may find that you have a LOT more bargaining power when it comes time to discuss final pricing and packaging options. Just a thought...
We have all thought about it, or at least know someone who has thought about it: Saving Money on your Wedding Day by hiring a friend or family member to be your wedding photographer. Sometimes this works out, sometimes not. In our professional opinion, it is always a good idea to hire a professional wedding photographer. Here are a few reasons why:
1. A PROFESSIONAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER WILL BE COMMITTED TO YOU.
A professional will be committed to YOU and your wedding day. You won't have to worry about your "friend" not showing up, or flaking on you at the last minute. YIKES! You won't have to worry about Uncle Bob getting sick and not being able to bring his good camera. Your wedding day memories will only happen once. Don't take a chance: Hire a professional wedding photographer and don't miss out on capturing those once in a lifetime memories.
2. A PROFESSIONAL WILL HAVE YEARS OF EXPERIENCE.
There is nothing worse than having everyone standing around at your wedding not knowing what to do next. Hiring someone who has wedding experience will help the flow of your wedding day, and will undoubtedly help to limit the amount of stress before, during, and after your wedding ceremony. You should be able to enjoy ALL of the moments of your wedding day, without worrying about whether your wedding photographer is doing their job and capturing all of those precious wedding details.
3. YOU WILL GET PROFESSIONAL RESULTS FROM A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER.
Let's face it... you get what you pay for! Hiring a professional wedding photographer will ensure that you get the professional wedding photos you want. You may not think that this matters now, but trust us, it will matter to you when your wedding day is over, and the moments have passed.
4. YOU WON’T AFFECT YOUR RELATIONSHIPS.
If and when your wedding photos do not turn out how you wanted them, things may get really awkward with your friend/family member. What started out as a friendly gesture to help you save money on your wedding day, has now turned into a giant thorn in your side.. perhaps forever! Is it really worth it?
In our experience, having a friend or family member do a "professional’s" job almost never works out (unless they truly ARE a professional, in which case, SCORE!). The decision remains yours, but we urge you to remember: Your wedding day is a once in a lifetime experience, with once in a lifetime memories... the choice is yours.
STILL GOING FOR IT?
If, after reading the above, you STILL want to take a chance and hire a friend or relative to capture the moments of your wedding day, no problem. It is your day, and ultimately your decision to make. We just want make sure you know your options when/if your pictures do not turn out exactly as you planned. We suggest that you keep the below link handy, just in case. A good wedding photo editing service can certainly help you transform your otherwise ordinary wedding photos.
If you find yourself saying that you "Can't Afford a Wedding Photographer," please make sure to review the following points before you make that final decision to hire "Uncle Bob" or "Auntie Em" for the part:
Hate Your Wedding Photos? Here Are Some Sample Scenarios and Ideas on What you Should Do Next.
Same story, different day. We have heard it before.. You couldn't WAIT to get a first look at your wedding photos, but now that you have, you wish you hadn't seen them. The lighting is off, some images are blurry, and why is there a giant pimple magnified on your face!? Ugh! Well, we have unfortunately met hundreds of couples who are unhappy with their wedding photos. Whether it be the wedding photographer's fault, or just unlucky timing, find comfort in knowing that you DO have options.
Scenario: You Hired a Professional Wedding Photographer, but are Unhappy With your Wedding Photos
First thing is first, contact your wedding photographer ASAP. He/She may be able to work some magic in photoshop or another photo editing program.
Note: Before you approach your photographer, make sure to first determine if there is anything he or she could do to remedy the situation.
If you like the family and candid shots, but are unhappy with the portraits of you and your bride/groom, ask if the photographer can offer a free portrait session of you and your groom in your wedding attire. This could be a great compromise, and may give you those portraits you always wanted.
Scenario: You Hired an Amateur Photographer or Family Member to take your Wedding Photos and Now Find Yourself Saying, "I Hate My Wedding Photos."
Solution: Search online for a good wedding photo editing service. You would be AMAZED at what professional wedding photo retouchers can do with otherwise ordinary wedding photos. Who knows, you may be sitting on a GOLD mine of ordinary wedding photos that can be transformed into professional, quality, images.
Whatever money you may save by hiring an amateur wedding photographer or family member to take your wedding photos, will not be worth it when you end up with a stack full of bad wedding photos that will never see the light of day.
Wedding Photo Summary and Conclusion:
Whether you hired a professional wedding photographer, or opted to save money by asking "Uncle Bob" to do the honor, please remember that you DO have options when things don't end up how you planned. A good photo editing service can work with you to transform your ordinary images, and bring you the "professional-like" wedding photos you have always wanted and/or dreamed about.
The Film Era
Film... remember it? Loved it? Hated it? Well, regardless of whether or not you loved or hated film, one thing is certain: those film photographs will deteriorate over time, and perhaps have already begun to fade. Boooo.... Yep, we agree!
Why do Old Photos Fade and Deteriorate?
To understand how and why old photos deteriorate, we must first remember how they were originally made. Photo prints, slides, and negatives were all made by using chemicals and chemical dyes that are sensitive to light, moisture, and changes in temperature. As time goes by, these chemicals degrade and the image starts to fade away, often turning yellow. Additionally, these old photos frequently develops cracks, collect dust, oil, dirt etc.
The below photograph are some perfect examples of how old photos can, and will, deteriorate over time:
So.. What do you do, and How do you Restore Old Photos When the Time Comes?
This is where a good old photo restoration service will come in.
We are very fortunate.. we live in the digital age. What this means is that regardless of where you are in the world, old photo restoration can be as easy as scanning your image (either at home using a flatbed scanner, or at a nearby business like FedEx), and uploading/sending it to a photo restoration service that specializes in restoring old photos.
Additionally, if you haven't already looked into converting your old film into digital files, we recommend trying to do so. Most photo restoration services will offer this type of service. Your memories are just too important to throw away, so you should want to try and take any measure to help successfully preserve them for many years to come.
How to Protect and Restore Old Photos
Imagine being able to pass your old photos onto your children or grandchildren. Imagine not only being able to "talk" about your great great great grandpa, but also being able to show your child/grandchild a picture of who they were. Pretty amazing stuff! As we want and are committed to helping you preserve and restore your old photos, we want to offer a few tips to help get you started:
What a Photo Restoration Service can Do for You:
Free Online Photo Restoration Tools:
While there are some online services offering to restore old photos for free, they will often try to upsell you, or may include a hard to navigate old photo restoration tool that will end up causing you more headache than anything. With some old photo restorations costing as little as $40 or so per photo, why not just let the professionals handle the workload, and the headache? Your time is valuable, so hire someone that can do the work for you.
It is a story that, unfortunately, has been told one too many times.. the story of the bad wedding photos. It is always the same story: "We got married a few weeks ago and a couple of days after we got home from our honeymoon our photographer sent us the link to our online gallery. We hate our wedding photos, and we paid a lot of money for our wedding photographer!"
What Other Options Do I Have?
We know that you are furious with your wedding photographer, but once the flames have settled, and the waters have calmed down a bit, we recommend that you talk to him/her about your frustrations. Tell them what specifically you do not like about your wedding photos, and see if they can offer to "re-shoot" some of those crucial bride/groom moments that were missed. You should NOT have to pay for this re-shoot, as you have already paid for their service, and were unfortunately left with a stack full of bad wedding photos. While there is unfortunately nothing you can do about the group shots, at least you may finally have the images you will need to create the wedding album you had dreamed and hoped for.
You Have Nothing to Lose
In addition to contacting your photographer about your bad wedding photos, we highly recommend reaching out to a photo retouching service that can take a look at what images you DO currently have from your actual wedding day. Many of these retouching services will offer a free consultation, and will be able to tell you whether or not your current batch of bad wedding photos can be salvaged. Translation: You TRULY have nothing to lose by contacting one of these retouching services. Get going, and make lemonade from lemons!