Restoring Faded Memories

Let's face it, everyone these days has a camera and millions of photographs are taken every day. Many photos are forgotten over time and some special photos can become damaged, faded, even worse, lost. Many people fail to remember how precious old photos are. Sadly, many old photos are usually stuffed away somewhere and forgotten. When they are found, that is when reality sets in and some smart owners of the image realize I have on one copy of the image and they need to get their photos restored and digitized. 

Just recently, I was given a couple of photos to restore and to see if I could bring back a little life to the old images. Both photos were over 20 years old and there was only original image for each photo. I really enjoy restoring old images. It is always a fun challenge to make an image better and it is a joy to see the clients or customer's reaction to a restored photo. Now I have to admit that in today's digital age and with access to cheap editing software, it is much easier to make an old photo look a little better, but it often times requires a level of skill, great post-processing software, and a "creative eye" to give an old photo some real life. That is where a good and talented photographer is needed. 

Many people that take photos think that what makes a photo look great is the camera. With today's cameras that is sometimes true. They think the free filters on a phone or iPad is all they need. In most cases, that is correct. But when it comes restoring an old image a little more work is sometimes required.  Old images did not come from a high-quality camera. Many times an old image may have come from a film camera or even worse a camera that would spit out an old paper image you had to shake the image to see it. Who remembers those? 

When I receive an old image it is usually the original print of an image. I actually prefer the old hard copies of images. For the two images, I needed to restore, I needed to scan them. One of the best investments I ever made was the purchase of my own flatbed scanner. As a photographer, I could not work without it. I always scan all old images at 300 dpi. After scanning old images, the real creative process begins. 

Restoring an image requires great software. Most people are only aware of filters they see on their iPhone or iPad. People are not aware of the types of great software that is available to help them enhance a photo. Let's face it, some people could care less about software. They are content with applying some weird filter to an image and passing the work off as a photo restoration success. That is not photo restoration! Understanding how to use post-processing photography software is very important in editing any image. Just ask a photographer. 

Most experienced photographers know they cannot enhance any photo without great software. I use a variety of software applications to enhance all my images. My primary post-processing software is Lightroom. I take advantage of many presets from Sleeklens. I have hundreds of them and I use many of them depending on the look I want for an image. Sleeklens presets gives me a great starting point for my editing process and saves me a great deal of time. Sleeklens is also are a great educational resource to help any photographer improve his or her skills as a photographer. To learn more about them visit presets, products, services, and resources visit;

Below is the original images I worked on and the enhanced versions. Since the original images were over 20 years old I wanted to keep the nostalgic feel of the images, enhance the colors and apply some much-needed sharpening. The best part about providing photo restoration and enhancement services for my clients and customers is the process of providing a digital image for them after the work is done. A digital image of a restored image can then be shared with others and can be available for many years to come. 

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My advice is to find all your old images and a scan them and make sure all your old images are stored in a safe location, preferably, off-site. If you find a nice old image that could use a little work, find a great talented photographer to restore the old image and don't rely on some cheap filters or no-named software to do the job. Remember, one-of-a-kind photos are "priceless". 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger