Gifts from the Past: How to Get Your Photos Restored

Have that special someone in your life who is tired of receiving gifts with no meaning? Well look no further, we have a gift idea that will bring on a smile and/or turn on the waterworks in a good way. Take an old photo of your special someone or a photo of someone they love and have it professionally restored.

Our awesome boss, Wendy Buglio, recently discovered a school booklet that contained photos of her dad and his cousins. While the photos were in pretty good shape, they were glued to the pages of fragile and acidic paper. Since I’m the photo-organizing expert in the group, I talked with her about how to best save the school booklet and its photos. She decided to have several of the photos scanned for long-term preservation and to have a few of the photos restored.

I took the booklet to Picture Renewal, in Somerville, MA, that was recommended by a client. Just as I advised in this blog post, I took some time to interview the owner, Stephen Sylvester, about his best practices and policies for scanning/restoring photos. Stephen examined the photos and let me know the best plan of action for the project.

First, he would scan all the photos we had flagged. We would then receive an email with those scans for us to review and decide if we wanted to do some photo restoration. Sometimes the scanner will pick up and exaggerate flaws such as mold, tears, folds, water stains, etc. Other times, a scan and basic editing (which is included in the cost of scanning) are all that a photo requires.

Second, he would do restoration work on any images that we wanted to improve and then send us those files to review. At the time of this posting, restoration on an individual photo starts at $65. This is why it is important to choose your images wisely before you go get them restored.

Third, Stephen would print out any of the photos that were scanned using archival ink and a variety of mediums and finishes for a photo worthy of exhibiting.

All of these steps can take one to two weeks, depending on the time of year and the damage to the photo. So plan to drop off your photo two months before any gift giving time. If your timeline is short but the photo is important, always talk with the company about the cost to expedite the process.

Wendy now has several scans and restored prints that her family is going to enjoy this holiday season. What photos do you have waiting to be enjoyed again?

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