Photographic Restoration

Digital repair of photographs
Before I can begin restoring your photograph I need to evaluate how much damage there is. I can do an initial assessment through a low resolution scan sent to me via email using However, when it comes to restoring the image I will need a high resolution scan allowing me sufficient information to work with.
There are two ways I can receive your photo. The first, and best option, is to send me the original photograph so that I can scan it using my preferred specifications. However, if you would rather not do this you can send me the high resolution scanned image of the photograph. If you are not familiar with optimising scanner settings please use the Easy Scan Method seen further down the page.
I will need to know what size you want the final image to be as this will determine the amount of time and level of work spent on your restoration. This in turn will determine the cost of the project. This is because the damage within the photograph is increasingly magnified as image size increases. A photograph measuring 5″ x 3.5″ ‘blown up’ to an image size of 10″ x 8″ will require much more restoration work than a like for like sized photo. When you send me your initial scanned image please indicate the size you would like the photograph restored to. Otherwise I will quote a price based on the commonly printed 6″ x 4″ size for photos up to and including this size. For photographs larger than 6″ x 4″ I will quote a price based on a like for like size. When the restoration is complete I will send you a proof of the work to ensure that the result is to your satisfaction. On receipt of payment I will send you the digital version of the photograph via email. If you have supplied me with the original photo I will return it using standard postage. You can choose to pay for signed delivery if you prefer.
Understanding Scanner Settings

Scanning images with a flatbed scanner is a straight forward process but if this is something which is unfamiliar to you then a little explanation of some of the settings used in scanning will come in handy.

  • Scanning Resolution – This is usually measured in Dots per Inch (DPI) and refers to the number of coloured pixels or dots that can be placed in a straight line measuring 1 inch. For example, 100 dots is equal to 100DPI. Higher numbers mean a higher resolution but this also means more information stored and consequently a larger file size. Ideally I need to have the highest resolution possible to effectively capture enough detail in the photo to enable me to clean up and restore the image. Image resolution also allows larger print sizes so I need to establish how big the final image will be. Most commercial printers use 300DPI as their quality print resolution, but that doesn’t necessarily work well for photo restoration.
  • Precision – This is the colour value each pixel (dot) can have and is usually referred to as the bit depth. Scanners usually scan at a bit depth of 48 but may only save as a lower 24 bit image. If your scanner allows you to save the image at 48 bits then please select that setting.
  • File Type – Pictures you see on the web are usually compressed to save on file size and are generally JPG, PNG, or GIF file types. Your scanner should allow you to save using the TIF file format. This is an uncompressed file type used for storing the maximum amount of information for your image. Please use the TIF file type.
  • Colour Setting – Even if your photo is black and white I need you to scan in colour to maximise the amount of information in the image. I can use the colour channels to help separate stains or other tinted problems from your image and repair your photo more effectively.
  • Image Cropping – Your scanner may automatically attempt to crop your image or it may scan to the full size of your scanner platen (bed). Please try to crop the image close to the border of the photo but allow a little border around the photo showing the white of your scanner lid. This allows me in some cases to take a white reading for colour correction.

Most scanners have a number of other features to reduce dust and scratches or to improve the image quality. This can be very effective when used correctly but unless you know more about these settings it would be best for me if you disable any other automatic processing features. For me to work on your photo I need it to be as close to the original as possible.

Easy Scan Method
  1. Measure photograph size
  2. For photograph sizes up to 3″x 2″ the image resolution needs to be 1200 dpi
  3. For photograph sizes more than 3″x 2″ the image resolution needs to be 600 dpi
  4. Choose platen for the scan area
  5. Choose colour for the image type. If your scanner has the ability to scan at 48bits then select that
  6. Press the preview button to do the quick preview scan
  7. Move the crop tool to frame the picture but allow a small border around the image
  8. Save file as a .TIF file
  9. Send me your scanned image using one of the methods below

File sizes up to 10MB can be emailed direct to me at Files over 10MB can be sent to me through one of the free file transfer services below. Use as the recipient email address. WeTransfer or DropSend If you have any questions please use the contact form below.