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Improper care, catastrophes, and damages from the environment can cause fading, tears, and scratches to your precious photographs. Even photographs that are stored may lose their quality over time. Thanks to modern day technology, damaged antique photographs can be easily restored. Here are some tips on how you can restore and properly preserve your antique photos so the generations next to you will be able to enjoy them.

Restoring Antique Photos

Photo by Matt Puchalski

Restoration was once a difficult process. With the advent of computers, scanners, image editing software, and specialized photo printers, the process of restoration has been made easier. Damages that’ll require some photo editing software include wrinkled photograph paper, water stains, torn parts of the photograph, scratches, and missing pieces.

There are different methods of restoring antique photographs:

Electronic or Digital Restoration – In this process, a damaged photograph is scanned into a computer. This is an easy process and involves just a few steps: you place the damaged photo on the scanner, adjust the setting, make corrections, save the restored photo and print the new copy. If you are not satisfied with the result, you can do it over again. You can experiment until you got a result that you like.

Chemical Restoration – This method is applied to restore faded black and white image. The picture is redeveloped with a black and white developer to make it visible. Bleaching may also be used in this process, but if not done carefully, may cause even more damage. In some serious cases, the damage is almost impossible to repair.

Physical Restoration – This includes a combination of autoadiography, neutrol irradiation, and photography to restore faded images. This method is highly recommended by experts because of its non-destructive quality.

Airbrushing – In this method, an artist restores the details of a photograph that were lost by using a special paint brush. This should only be done by a good artist, to ensure that the photograph, when restored, will look realistic.

Copying – This is the cheapest method of restoration. As the name suggests, your antique photograph will be copied by a professional. The photographer can also copy your old negatives, so that a back up for editing and further restoration will be made available to you.

Some methods of restoration may be simple enough to be carried out by an amateur in Photoshop, and there are others that may need the professional services of experts. You should use someone who has a lot of expertise with this so they don’t ruin the original picture. There are many specialist on the Internet that can be easily found with a quick Google search.

Preserving Antique Photos

After restoring your antique photos, you should take all the necessary steps to preserve them. Here are some ways of preserving your photographs:

  • Use archival paper in arranging your photographs, and archival photo corners to mount them with. Then get Mylar pockets where you can insert these photos.
  • Do not store your restored photographs in high humidity areas.
  • Avoid touching photographs with your fingers. Skin oils can attract dirt that leads to the growth of damaging mold spores.
  • When you display your photographs make sure that they are not under the direct sunlight.
  • Photos that are not for display should be placed in storage boxes or portfolios made from archival materials.

Retrieve Your Photos Easily

When the time comes to retrieve your stored photos, it’s always a good idea to catalog them accordingly. You can organize them by date, family groups, subjects, events, or a combination of any of these. You can also scan your images and have them safely stored online. The easiest way is to create an account on Flickr and upload your photos there. Be sure to pick descriptive titles that will help you find the exact picture from hundreds of stored photographs.

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Posted by Ava Vinson

Ava is an Image editor and writer for smartphotoeditors. She writes about subjects like Antique Photo Restoration and Image Clipping.  She loves sharing her knowledge with others.

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