Photo Restoration  Arts

by Andrew Brooker

Simply the Best

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Old photo restoration

Spots, scuffs and dust marks

Tears and creases

Fading

Colour cast

Under exposure

Over exposure

Torn and missing pieces

Mould and water damage

Surface cracks and flakes

Stuck to the glass

Sloping horizons and wonky perspectives

Red eye and cosmetic retouching

Object and people removal and image recomposing

Tinting

Colourising
















Restore, repair, retouch and improve your photos

Photos suffer over time from accident, sunlight, being handled, or just time itself, as you will have seen in your own pictures.  And it’s not just damage that’s the problem - we’re all familiar with red eye, but what of the wedding photo spoilt by a spot and a white van, the leaning horizon, or the colour in the celebration picture that’s just plain dull?

Whatever the problem, whatever the imperfection, a great deal can be done at Photo Restoration Arts, as you can see in the many examples on this site.

It’s never too old, it’s never too small, it’s never hopeless.

How can we help you restore your photos?

Old photo restoration

We are often asked if very old photos can be restored.  No age discrimination here - the short answer is, ‘Yes!’  The age of a photo is not a problem.  It is the condition of the image that counts, and sometimes a 100 year old photo can have fewer challenges to full restoration than a photo taken last week.  Often, old prints are very small by today’s standards but they can hold a surprising amount of detail!  

Spots, scuffs and dust marks

Any print that’s been handled and looked at (not just hidden away, forgotten in a box) will have its share of these minor imperfections. Generally these problems can all be repaired.

Tears and creases

Very common indeed and usually capable of a full recovery - not always, but we aim for invisible mending and that’s mostly what we get.  Even when a picture is torn to pieces.

Fading, underexposure and overexposure

Sunlight will fade any photo but very often tone and contrast can be restored with astonishing effect, even where the fading is uneven across the picture (though this is more of a problem).  The same methods to restore tone and contrast to faded photographs can be applied to under and over exposed photos - which may been have taken on holiday last week.

Colour cast

Have you noticed how all those prints from the 70s have a magenta colour cast?  That’s because of the colour processing used at the time, but that cast can be removed and a much more natural colour balance can be restored. Sunlight can also cause a colour cast in any colour photo, of any age.

Torn and missing pieces

Corners missing, parts missing from a photo torn into pieces - it may look hopeless but we will use skill and imagination to reconstruct the most challenging images, from simple Victorian studio backgrounds to eyes and limbs, not to mention lost detail and texture.

Mould and water damage

Ugly and common, often difficult to restore fully but usually capable of significant improvement at least.

Surface cracks and flakes

Also very common in old photos and difficult to repair, but often only visible when zoomed well in (and we always zoom right into any photo we are restring and, if we see a problem, we try and fix it).  These problems can always be improved.

Stuck to the glass

Causes damage to the surface when you try and take the picture out of the frame, often tears and holes.  But also often fully repairable - see missing pieces above. However, please do not send pictures in frames or under glass. (If prints are stuck to the frame or glass, we suggest contacting a local picture framer to try and remove the print without damage.)

Sloping horizons and wonky perspectives

The sloping horizon of the seascape, the leaning church at the wedding - they all look wrong and can spoil a great picture. Naturally, we can straighten things out.

Red eye and cosmetic retouching

The toddler looking ghoulish in the flash, those spots and wrinkles, the egg stain on the tie, the pasty complexion, even the beer belly - we may not make you look fit for the front page of Vogue but a few simple changes could make all the difference to that portrait or family celebration photo - or that memory.

Object and people removal and image recomposing

Lose that ugly van, the telegraph pole emerging from Grandma’s head, remove the rest of the group from around the happy couple. Of course, the background will have to be reconstructed and that takes a lot of skill, especially if it actually means recreating arms and legs, but we can do that for you.

Tinting

Sepia tones often give old photos a warmth and character that feels right for the time.  Or if you have a black and white photo that you want restored but looks a little cold, we can tint it for you in any colour or degree.

Colourising

The Victorians liked to hand colour their photos, often in pastel shades, to give extra life and charm, and you may want the same for those photos from the distant past.  Or you may want a more fully naturalistic colouring for that rather dull black and white photo. We will colourise your photo with skill and an eye for what is period and what is natural.

What are the limits?

People are often amazed and really surprised by the changes that can be made to their photos.  And so am I - would I do it if it was always completely predictable? Miracles, however, are not possible… Sometimes there just isn’t enough fine detail to get a good quality result.  Or the surface of the print has thousands of tiny cracks which mean that the texture of the original image can’t be restored without an inordinate amount of work (and cost).  And that, I’m afraid, is disappointing to all.

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A very small and badly damaged old photo A lost way of life restored and brightly lit Magenta colour cast from 70s, and with natural tone and colour restored

Serving London and the South East, Bristol and the South West, Birmingham and The Midlands, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield and the North, Cardiff, Swansea and Wales, Glasgow, Edinburgh, the whole of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Copyright © 2011 - 2019:  Andrew Brooker

 info@photo-restoration-arts.co.uk


11/07/19 V4.2