How much does an old photo restoration cost?
Restoring an old photo can be understood in different ways. Some may consider it to be automated software processing. This conception is in many ways misleading. And if this type of process exists, the result obtained will be on the scale of the means implemented.
The photo returned after processing will only be the product of an algorithm that replicates a preconceived model.
It will in no case be a restoration that respects the characteristics specific to the image that you wish to rehabilitate.
Because the photo editing work is meticulous. It could be compared to that of a painter. At least when it is a renovation of an old painting.
The use of software tools does not exclude human intervention. A photo editing specialist must also have many skills.
The IT tools he uses are complex. Knowledge of image acquisition and color matching is required. But it is above all years of experience in image restoration that allow you to master the technique. Finally, you should be aware that bringing an old photo back to life is meticulous work, which can sometimes take a long time.
What can be the objectives of a restoration depending on the type of photography?
What should be understood by old photo? What will the restoration work involve?
It is possible to distinguish 3 main categories of photos which over time have suffered damage specific to the type of photograph in question.
• The "sepia photos", from the 19th century or the beginning of the 20th, will generally be the most damaged. They may be cracked over time or encrusted with dust. These images are often partly crumbled and won over by mold.
• Black and white photos can also be cracked or scratched. Their state of conservation is linked to the quality of the paper. They may have lost a lot of contrast. The depth of blacks in particular can be considerably altered.
• Color photos can have the same degradations as black and white photos: scratches and cracks. However, their restoration most often involves restoring their original colorimetry. Over time, colors may have faded considerably. It is not uncommon for all or part of an old color photo to be passed or oversaturated. The image, depending on the development process originally used, draws on red, blue or green.
The stages of a quality old photo restoration
The magnitude of the task at hand to restore an old photo depends on how you transmit your photo.
You can request this restoration from a scan carried out by yourself or entrust the original photo in paper version to the professional responsible for the restoration.
This last option is the one that will guarantee you the highest quality. Image acquisition is indeed a first step in restoration. A prerequisite may be to rid the photo of its impurities by means of a fine brush and by blowing. Then a scan performed with a level of 300 to 600 DPI (number of dots per inch) allows to restore a maximum of details in a photo.
On the occasion of a scan carried out with professional equipment, a first image processing can be carried out. This will focus on restoring the contrast and brightness of your image, but above all will allow you to perform a first dusting. The scanned image must be saved in TIFF format. Much heavier, the TIFF makes it possible to keep all the pixels of a photo, that is to say as many details which can later be reworked.
The retouching work can then really begin. A portion of the photo can be perfectly preserved and will serve as a benchmark which should be used to restore the entire image in its original appearance. The first step of a retouching company is to duplicate relatively intact areas to fill in the erased parts of the image. These operations are carried out in particular using the PHOTOSHOP software.
Then in a finishing phase, photo editing becomes a real goldsmith's trade.
Some altered areas can be perfectly reconstructed without any artifacts remaining. This work is very time-consuming and undoubtedly justifies the pricing of catering alone.
This is why there are significant price differences between the different offers for restoring old photos and it is therefore important to compare prices but also and above all the methodology implemented to ensure the best possible results !!!
So make no mistake and call on a real professional equipped and taking his time to compare how they do and why the price is different between some of them !