How do you justify the cost of a photo restoration.
With photo restoration there is no, fix my photo button. You cannot buy a £900 software application to restore your photos with a button marked photo restoration. There is no magic one button push. Restoring the photographs requires time right from the start.
To appreciate the photo restoration procedure lets take a look at all the jobs involved.
To start any photo restoration the image first has be made digital, whether the starting image is negative or a positive print. To get the best from the source image it should be scanned into a computer either with a negative scanner or a print scanner. Either way the image must be scanned for optimum tonal range to ensure as much information is captured to enable a good photo restoration. There are actually one touch scanning methods that do this for your but these are far from the best method to get the required data for a good photo restoration. The scan needs to be performed by manually adjusting settings and customizing tone curves. This brings out the details, in the digital file to give it the best chance to be restored in to a good photo restoration.
Once scanned the image need to be cropped or trimmed to the correct aspect ratio for the desired print size, perhaps even adding a portion to fill the proportions required. The next step in the photo restoration is to asses the resulting image and find the best approach. Normally it would be to first balance the tones and correct any fading within the image. Then for colour images, correct the colour to as near normal as possible, this may need hand colouring to do this (this is normally performed after the restoration stage is complete). Hand colouring is a lengthy process of laying colours onto the image and masking out sections so each individual component in the scene can have its own colour.
The photo restoration is the next stage. The image needs to be cleaned of dust and scratches and blotches and blemishes. Cracks should be patched out and fold or tears mended. In some case this would mean filling large spaces with other parts of the image to get the correct tone and texture matches. Where facial reconstruction is needed, great care must be taken to rebuild a damaged face so that it looks perfect or the human eye will detect something is wrong. We are so good at spotting defects on the human face even if we do not know the exact defect. Facial references may be required in order to perform a full photo restoration.
Once much of the photo restoration process has been completed the image needs to be prepared for print. Once the print size has been agreed then the digital file needs to be optimised for that print size. Selection of paper is also important for the prints, choosing the correct finish to stay in keeping as much as possible to the original.
Once the funds for any work is complete the image are emailed to a professional Printing house to be printed. Once received they are then opened, checked over and posted out.
Next time you ask yourself this seems expensive spare a thought for how much time is invested in your photo restoration.