Frequently asked questions

Photo Restoration

Can you add people to a photo?

Yes, provided that the picture grain can be matched with the camera angle, camera height, perspective and lighting from your donor photo(s). This is by no means a simple operation, however. Unless the donor photos are from the exact same set, on the same day, it is rare that perspectives and lighting can be matched perfectly from other images. No matter how much manipulation is performed, the resulting image will always look wrong.

Can you take people out of a photo?

Yes. In most cases this is possible. Less satisfactory results occur when there is not enough of the surrounding photo to fill in the gaps. For example, with a tightly cropped photo of six people at a wedding, if two people from either side are removed, there remains little or no parts of the background available to fill the empty space. A donor image showing more of the background from the same location can help in this kind of situation.

Can you colour a photo?

Yes. Image Restore is known for producing some of the best photo-realistic colourization work on the Web. The cost for this type of work varies depending on the amount of detail and complexity in the photo.

Check out our Colourize page for more details and examples of our work.

Can you restore my original print or negative?

Image Restore is a digital photo restoration agency, so we are only able to fix digital replicas of your original images. If your print or negative is in very bad shape, you may want to engage the services of a professional conservationist.

For more details, see my blog post on Conserving old photos using expert conservationists.

What is not possible?

There are rare occasions when a complete restoration is impossible or would be too time-consuming (and therefore costly) to undertake. Below is a list of a few things which fall into that category. Even if you think your photos are beyond repair, though, I still encourage you to submit them for a free appraisal. I regularly perform restoration miracles, so may still be able to help!

  • Re-focus a completely out-of-focus photo
    Although “image sharpening” tools do exist, there is unfortunately no such thing as a magic “re-focus” button to recreate detail in a completely out-of-focus image.
  • Fix a badly blurred photo
    Blurring can occur if either the camera or the subject moved when taking the photo. This was a common problem in the early days of photography when film and shutter speeds were slower. It may be possible to correct for minor degrees of motion blur. However, extreme examples you may have seen on the Web showing this type of fix are typically manufactured circumstances under ideal conditions. Such conditions rarely occur in the real world, making this type of issue extremely difficult or impossible to repair.
  • Replace someone’s head
    Hollywood special FX artists can do some pretty amazing things with the advanced tools and budgets at their disposal. However, replacing a person’s head in a photo such that the end result looks realistic is a near-impossible task. At the very least, this would require having another photo of that person’s head taken with the same angle, perspective, and lighting.
  • Create a high-quality restoration from a low-resolution image
    Low-resolution images have too few pixels for them to be sharpened, edited or otherwise manipulated to restore them effectively. If in doubt, email your photo and we can let you know what’s possible and what is not.
My photo is stuck to glass can you fix that?

Yes. I would be able to work from a scan of the image made through the glass. You can try this yourself to avoid posting glass. For help with scanning through glass read the photos stuck to glass blog post.

My photo is over-exposed or under-exposed. Can you fix it?

In many cases, photos that are under-exposed (too dark) or over-exposed (too light) can be fixed. However, in severe cases, there might not be enough detail or colour density to restore the image back to normal levels, making it difficult or impossible to achieve an acceptable result.

You can send us your photo for a FREE assessment to evaluate what’s possible.

Can you restore my actual photo I dont want a copy?

With reget, I know of no-one who can do this. They can be preserved by a conservationist. Check out the conservation register here and see if they can help you.

Can you open a person’s eyes in a photo?

Yes. The most convincing results can be achieved by using the same person’s eyes from another photo. Please get in touch and we can assess your image for you.

Ordering & Payment

How much will it cost?

You can try our price guide. Or to get a free, no obligation quote you can scan and email your photos. Read the scanning guide for instructions on scanning or you could drop off your photos to us by arrangement. If posting originals you should use Special Delivery. 

Do you offer discounts for bulk orders?

Yes, discounts are based on assessing the images for restoration and the work required. We offer 5% discount for 10 or more photos and 10% for 50 or over.

How long will it take?

Restoration of images from digital files normally takes less than 48 hours and your restored image(s) will be e-mailed to you as soon as payment is received. Print requests are processed at our professional photo processing lab partner facility then shipped back to us for quality control before being shipped to you. The time for a combination restoration and print order is typically 5-7 working days.

I need an urgent repair! Can you help?

For urgent requests, I offer a FastTrack service. For an additional £10 per file, I will bump your order to the front of the queue. FastTrack orders are typically processed within 12 working hours. Maximum of 2 images per order. Applies to digital file restorations only.

See our FastTrack Photo Repair page for more details.

How do I order?

Post your original image(s) by mail or upload a high-quality scan via the website, together with a description of the issue(s) you would like me to repair or restore. After careful examination of your image(s), you will be emailed a quote. Once you have accepted the quote, I will get to work.

Can I review my restored photo(s) before I pay?

Once your photo has been restored, an e-mail with a low-resolution watermarked “digital proof” will be sent for you to validate. If you are happy with the result, I will send you an invoice and payment instructions.

What if I'm not happy with the result?

I offer all my clients a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Should your restored photo(s) not match your expectations, I will work with you to fix any issues until you are 100% happy. In the rare event that I am not be able to meet your requirements, you will not be charged for the work. 

I do evaluate all requests before undertaking any work and reserve the right to refuse a project if I feel that I will be unable to achieve a satisfactory result.

In these cases, if you have provided me with original prints or negatives, all that I ask is that you cover the cost of returning your originals to you via Royal Mail Special Delivery.

Do you have a store near me?

Image Restore operates from a home office in Bordon, Hampshire. Image-restore is an exclusively online business. If you live or work in the Hampshire area and would like to visit us to hand-deliver your originals or collect a completed order, contact us to arrange a convenient time. All visits are by pre-arranged appointment only.

What payment options do you accept?

We accept secure online payments via PayPal, credit/debit card or by bank transfer. Unfortunately, payment by cheque is no longer possible and, for security reasons, I am unable to process credit card transactions over the phone.

Please note: Print orders will not be processed until payment has been received, so you should proceed to the payment of your invoice upon receipt to avoid any delays with your order.

Credit or debit card payments via PayPal

UK and international customers can pay using a credit or debit card via the PayPal secure payment platform.

PayPal is one of the world’s leading and most secure online payment platforms and is very simple to use. Just click the link in the invoice e-mail you received from us and follow the instructions provided (you do not need a PayPal account to pay).

Bank Transfer

If you bank online, you may wish to pay by bank transfer. Bank details are available on request. Please allow time for payment to clear. Your order will be processed once the transfer has been completed and funds cleared.

Do you accept orders from outside the UK?

I am happy to accept orders from around the world. However, due to the cost, risk, and potential delays associated with international postage services, I recommend that you do NOT send precious original prints by postal mail if you live outside of the UK. Instead, please obtain a high-resolution scan of your original photo and send the file to me by e-mail.

Consult our detailed scanning guide for instructions on how to scan your image properly for best results.

Can I send you a cheque or give you my credit card details over the phone?

Regrettably, due to changes in banking security rules, I can no longer accept cheques as payment for services and am not able to accept your credit card details by phone. Online payment platforms such as PayPal provide a far more reliable, convenient and secure solution for online payments.

Can you send me my restored photos on a DVD disc?

Yes, we can mail your digitally restored images to you on a DVD disc for an additional charge of £5.


How do I scan my photos for restoration?

Scanning your originals is an important first step in the photo restoration process.

Refer to our 7-step guide to scanning to ensure best results.

How do I scan an image that is too big for my scanner?

You can read about how to do that in scanning large images for restoration. It is not difficult and can save you posting costs by emailing me the scans.

I am not sure how to scan, do you have a guide?

Sure. The best scan means the best results for your restore! See my scanning guide which should answer all of your questions. If you want to jump straight into scanning the try my 7-step guide to scanning