Photo Restoration Companies?

<p>Does anyone have any experience with getting old/faded/wrinkled photos restored through a professional photography service? I am looking to get some redone and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions. I have iphoto to do a few basic things, but have no experience in doing anything too technical - although I would love to learn!</p>

<p>I’m not a professional but if you send me a photo I can try to restore it for you. Try being the key word.</p>

<p>I had this done for a few photos but getting someone really good to do it can be very expensive. It can be several hundred dollars for a single photo if the photo is in bad shape. </p>

<p>I really recommend some of the software programs. They run about $100. I use Adobe Photoshop. You can buy more complicated programs which do an even better job, but you can do a lot with the basic program. </p>

<p>IMO, it’s better to get a really good scan. Once you have that, you can work on it.</p>

<p>Real photo restoration is very expensive. I remember calling a place about it, and the guy told me he charges “per face.” He asked me how many people were on my picture and we both laughed when I said “Five. On horses.” Instead I took the picture to a photo place, where they essentially took a picture of my picture, and then fixed the image a bit electronically. They also made copies so I was able to send the photographs to various relatives. It’s not an expensive service, but effective and quick.</p>

<p>Thanks for your information everyone! Fendergirl - if you clear out your inbox I will send the photo to you!</p>

<p>There you go, sorry.</p>

<p>No promises.</p>

<p>The new Photoshop can do amazing things, but it is quite expensive.</p>

<p>Photoshop Elements is about $90 and does 90 percent of what Photoshop can do at a fraction of the price. Plus, it’s more user friendly.</p>

<p>It is a lot of trouble to really learn how to use Photoshop Elements. BUT there are online tutorials, and good books, that will guide you through the process IF you think you’ll be doing many restorations and the time investment would be worth it. To just learn how to get rid of a crease, for instance, wouldn’t be that difficult, especially if you could find someone to guide you through that first or second attempt.</p>

<p>My own opinion is that you can only restore so much before you have a result that isn’t as nice as the creased original. Keep copies of both!</p>

<p>I took a short class in Photoshop at work, and then I taught myself through trial and error.</p>

<p>I agree that photos can look over-restored and fake. Faces are particularly hard. But as Treetopleaf says, keep the original scans. Then you can have a professional take a crack at them, as your budget permits. Or you can give it another shot later, as your skills improve.</p>

<p>Some restoration can be done automatically these days. I’m currently scanning in my grandmother’s photo albums from the 1920s. I use the highest resolution possible when I scan, and I use the “color restoration” setting. Then, in Photoshop Elements, under the Enhance menu, I chose the Auto Levels setting, Auto Color Correct, and Auto Contrast. You’d be amazed at how much better the photos look after that. Then I fix any stray spots, which is pretty easy with the Healing Brush Tool. </p>

<p>Anything beyond that, I’m in over my head. Fixing a photo that’s faded only in certain areas is hard for me. Also, creases can be difficult.</p>

<p>It’s fun to share the photos on Facebook with the rest of the family. It sure beats having the shots sit in a bottom drawer, fading away.</p>

<p>Yep, I use an earlier version of Photoshop Elements. I agree that even the auto fix settings can greatly improve a photo. </p>

<p>The KEY is the scan. A flatbed scan costs a fair amount. It works better for restoration than a regular scan, even one with high resolution. </p>

<p>The place I went to get mine scanned does a lot of work for artists and professional photographers.</p>

<p>I’m not an expert–my interest is genealogy, not photography. However, if you want to do a good job, don’t use jpeg. This is the format that works best for sending via email. However, to do that it takes a lot of stuff out of the photo. You want to use a scan in TIFF format, which contains more of the raw info from the photo. Don’t ask me to explain that because I can’t. I can tell you though that it really makes a difference. Change the restored photo into jpeg format if you wish, but do the work on the TIFF scan.</p>

<p>BTW, if it’s not against TOS let me put in a plug for Maureen Taylor, the photo detective. She charges, but her rates are pretty reasonable. She can look at a photo and give you info about where and when it was taken, mostly from clothing. People can wear old clothes, but they can’t wear clothes before they are invented. Hair styles are also clues. So, while I thought one old photo was from about 1880 or so, it’s really from the 1920s–Taylor recognized the paper, detachable collar, popular among working men but not common until the 1920s.</p>