When restoring a photo it’s often the background will be damaged. To keep the restore authentic, it’s best to restore the background rather than replace it. It would be very tempting to replace it as it would be the easy route.
I appreciate some backgrounds may be a bit challenging, say of a back garden, littered with toys and be half missing so recreating them would be a nightmare. This suggestion is for the more simple backgrounds. The plainer ones or the less complicated. Postcard portraits have them, old board based photos have them, simple studio photos have them.
I am not a fan of changing the background. It always looks out of place and unnatural especially if its done with filters created from clouds and then over smoothed without matching the grain or naturally occurring texture of the original photo.
My proposal is to keep history as it was. Genealogists have nightmares about images that have been changed around. Eastern countries have a trend to cut out figures and have the replaced on clean or colourful backgrounds. This takes the image out of context and removes its place in time. Keeping the restore historically correct as much as possible. I cant lecture my customers on the importance of keeping the background as it but I can try.
Its best to take the approach of repairing the scratches, and tears, correcting the fading and stains. When complete if it still looks a mess, its worth experimenting with the dust and scratches filter to even out the tones in the background. It may then take a bit of work to even out the textures with the patch and clone tools and create a complete background without actually replacing it. It may need some texture or grain matching at this final stage. The background should now be much more convincing than if it was simply filtered to produce some random, over smoothed clouds.
When you need a photo restoration company where do you turn? To Google of course! Not everyone but an awful lot of people use Google.com to to search for services they need.
What a lot of people dont know is Google serves you a result based on your locality and what it thinks you need to see. This is good in a way, it serves you relevant results for where you are. If you search for “photo restoration” its likely you’ll get results of somewhere near you. If you are checking your own business on the search engines its likely you’ll be at the top due to your locale.
Below is search i did, logged out of my Google account and in the standard browser of Google.com, but with all of Google locality bias switched off and just to be sure I used encrypted Google which should strip everything out and just get the world results.
As you can see you’ll get a few results in the top section underlined by a grey line and sometimes highlighted in pink. These slots are reserved for paying companies who prefer to burn money to get to the top. These aren’t natural listings they have paid to be there. Perhaps they dont have the grounding or history of long standing service to be found naturally by Google. Its always temping to select the first one isn’t it? In this example there are 3 companies paying for position’s, curiously 2 of them UK companies. In the natural world wide listings below the grey ruler line, the first 2 are US based companies and then a UK company. That’s us! Google always seems to favor US companies first. Of course the results will vary and do quite often. This is the .com search for the world which not everyone needs or wants.
In the next example and again logged out of my Google account so it does not skew the results I’ll use the UK search engine for Google.
Once again we see 3 paying companies to get in the adverts, (UK companies this time) and then the natural results below showing us as No. 1 and one of our images too!. Which ever way you search, Google will try to serve you a result to your locality, after all this is what most people want. Its only technical people and us business types that really are concerned about this stuff. So to be sure where we stand in the results the above is the method we use. Its important for us to know how well our customers rate us and the community sees us on the internet. It is with your help and your reviews and your content sharing, from all our social media channels, that makes us easy to find when you need us. Thank you.
To check the credibility of any company no matter where they are in the world check for “company reviews” and search the “business name” followed by “company reviews”. Don’t stop there though make sure the review site you are looking at has some credibility too. The one we use, Freeindex.co.uk vets the reviews and checks where they come from so more than one cannot be posted from the same computer, reducing the risk of fake reviews. Our 500 reviews or more have been built up over the years and we thank you for all you support on placing them.
If you want to read more on choosing your photo restoration company this post links nicely to a post i wrote some time back “choosing a photo restoration company ”
I hope this helps guide you in what you see when you use a search engine find what you are looking for and help you pick the companies that should have more credibility and history behind them.
“Saving the old photos you still have.”
Mostly i blog about restoring your old photos but today i thought I’d tackle the subject of preserving the old images you still have.
There are four main conditions to follow, dry, dark, cool and free of dirt.
I would guess this condition is obvious. You should keep old photo in a moist free environment. Storing them in a dry room in the center of the house where the temperature remains more constant. Dry means not in a damp cellar or in steamy room in a card board box but in a under the stairs cupboard up on a shelf in a box or a box room. Do not store them directly under the water tank if you have one in the attic or loft. Disasters can happen and when you least expect it they could get ruined in the event of a burst.
Sunlight has always been the enemy of photos. The UV rays damage the colour pigments and bleach out papers and dyes. It can turn the manufactured plastic papers hard and brittle. If you want to keep them in great condition as long as possible store them in acid free albums. if you have large image, introduce some acid free tissue paper between each one and keep flat.
Keeping images too hot or too cold or fluctuations of these will lead to brittle, curled or flaking photos. Repeated hot cold temperatures over the years expands and contracts the the photos with eventual splitting or flaking of the surface details. Heat does strange things to negatives too.
Also an obvious condition so store your photos somewhere clean. There is no sense in chucking them into a dusty drawer. Clean the drawer first! If your photos are already dirty its best not wipe them with anything damp. A light dusting with super fine paint brush or lint free cloth would do. If you feel they are still too dirty then just get in touch with us and we can see if we can help digitally clean them up for you.
For more reading on the subject of preserving your old photos you could visit the the British Library at bl.uk/blpac/pdf/photographic.pdf (paste link into your browser) they have a wealth of information and free downloadable PDF documents on caring for and preserving old photos.