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
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.