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Hiring a Photo Retouching Service to Work with Older Images

A photo retouching service is a prime tool for those looking to preserve or repair antique images. Companies that have built their company around working with historical images will have all the necessary equipment to create a stunning digital version of your image without damaging the original.

Evaluate the Equipment

A photo retouching service must use high quality equipment in order to ensure high quality prints for their customers. Ensure that your editor works with a scanner designed for use on historical images. Most older negatives or photographic prints cannot be exposed to heavy flash. Scanners that include these bright lights can wash out your historical image. There are several scanner brands that have eliminated this risk.

If you are attempting to recreate a historical image that was damaged you will need to create a print that mimics this antique look. Ask if the photo retouching service has photo paper that will mimic the look of the older materials used to create the original print. If they do not have antique photo paper available, your editor may be able to use tools to make standard photo paper take on a vintage look.

Provide Additional Resources

If you are hoping to replace an image that has been severely damaged, you may need to provide additional resources that your editor can use as a reference. If you have other images from the same event or containing the same subjects, send these along to your editor. This will provide the retouching specialist with a guide to help them preserve the authentic look of the image.

Specify the type of look you are hoping your completed image to have. Some clients hope their image will mimic the look and coloring of the original. Others would like their editor to upgrade the image so it has the quality of a modern photograph. Your preferences will require very different editing techniques to complete.

Mimicking a Vintage Look

Repairing historical images that have been damaged can be a trying process. Tears, watermarks, tape and other imperfections must be removed in a way that is not intrusive on the overall look of the image. High quality editors will make the effort to perform this work by hand rather than painting a filter over the image. This offers more of an opportunity to create a precise look that cannot be detected as a digital alteration.

Understand that images that have been severely damaged will take some time to fix. Talk with your editor about the extent of the damage and agree on a reasonable schedule to make the necessary changes. If you were hoping to present the image at a special occasion, specify these requirements so your editor can work your order into their existing schedule.


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