The Do’s and Don'ts of Safeguarding Old Photos

The Dos and Don’ts of Safeguarding Old Photos

Posted on August 6, 2021

Why Do Old Photos Fade Gradually?

Various reasons make old photos fade gradually. Primarily, it is due to several environmental factors. Let’s discuss some of these prominent factors here.

Damage by light: We have all noticed how photographs fade with time. This may often occur as the chemical makeup of photographs gets adversely affected by UV or ultraviolet rays of the sun. The ink used to print these photos comprises a light-absorbing compound like chromophores.

When the light gets absorbed by these substances, the chemical bond of the picture dye gets broken down by the UV rays. This leads to the fading of the ink used in the photographs.

Exposure to pollutants: Pollutants and toxins like dust, secondhand smoke, household chemicals, etc. can prove to be harmful to photographs.

These alter the chemical composition of the photos, causing stains, fading, and abrasions. Hence, it is necessary to consciously keep photographs away from open windows and fireplaces. You should also refrain from using cleaning chemicals while dusting photos as the chemicals used in the cleaner may cause the colors to run, thus, damaging the quality of the paper.

Acid burns: Acid burns happen when photographs are exposed to acidic material like adhesive or masking tape for fastening them onto the wall, photo album, or other surfaces. The acidic nature of these adhesives causes strong stains on the photos. Your photos also stand a chance of getting acid burn stains if they are printed on acidic paper.

Brown spots: Browning, also referred to as foxing, is typically common among older photos. It is caused as a result of various fungal growth, leading to yellow spots and blotching. Gradually, these yellow spots become more prominent and appear as brown spots. These spots mostly arise when photographs are kept in damp conditions.

How Can You Perform Photo Restoration at Home?

Now that we have discussed the factors that adversely affect photographs, let’s take a look at how to perform photo restoration.

Step 1: Digitize the photograph

The first step towards restoring old, damaged photos is to digitize them. This can be done with a regular photo scanner. Take a photograph with a digital camera, or through a scanner app on the smartphone. It is usually advised that you take a large, high-quality digital copy so that it is easier to work on it.

Step 2: Upload the image on Photoshop

Once you have opened the image in Photoshop, create a second copy of the same. This will enable you to refer to the original copy time and again while working on image restoration.

Step 3: Make sure the photograph is accurately oriented

The next step is to ensure that the photo is correctly oriented before you start restoring it with Photoshop. Straighten, crop, or rotate the image as per your preference.

Step 4: Restore the photograph

Here, you can either adjust the image of the photograph for removing spots or make adjustments to the color.

Step 5: Save the restored photograph

After you are done restoring the photo, remove the original layer that you had kept for reference and save the new picture.

Don’ts of Performing Photo Restoration at Home

  • Don’t store old photographs at places that are exposed to the sun as the UV rays may harm their color and texture.
  • Don’t use cleaning chemicals while dusting pictures as the chemicals present in the cleaner may make the color bleed or damage the paper.
  • Don’t expose photographs to pollutants like dust and secondhand smoke as these are known for causing fading, stains, and abrasions.
  • Don’t expose photographs to acid components like adhesive and masking tapes to prevent acid burns.
  • Don’t keep photographs in damp places as it usually causes yellowing of pictures, which gradually turn brown.

Challenges of Performing Photo Restoration On Your Own

You may face several challenges while restoring photographs on your own. Read on to find out about the challenges that you can expect.

How to get started?

You may be faced with multiple challenges to fix with your photographs – discoloration, creases, spots, tears, blemishes, and more.

The question is – Where should you get started?

The first step towards photo restoration is to copy the original photo into a digital format. This can be done using a scanner or a multifunction printer. Next, an efficient program like Photoshop, as discussed previously, is essential for safeguarding old photos.

Looking for the right solutions all of which are not easy

While damages like emulsion cracking have no easy solution, removing dust spots and blemishes is easier.

Figuring out the processes for renovating old photographs is hassled and time-consuming. Remember that a large brush in Photoshop will not be suitable for removing every blemish. Therefore, the most suited brush will have to be selected to get the job done.

The Benefits for Outsourcing Photo Restoration Services

There is a varied range of benefits that you can access by outsourcing old photo restoration services. Here are some benefits for outsourced photo restoration services:

  • Professional color level correction that makes old photos shine with optimum contrast, brightness, saturation, etc.
  • Correct sharpness.
  • Transforms black-and-white photographs to colored ones and vice versa.
  • Coverts sepia photographs into colored or black-and-white photographs.
  • Restores missing or damaged parts in photographs using advanced editing tools.
  • Removes underexposed areas and fuzzy patches.
  • Removes cracks, tears, folds caused due to faulty storage.
  • Eliminates stains and blotches from old photos.
  • Repairs damage caused by silverfish with advanced technological methods.
  • Removes loss of pigmentation with advanced photo restoration technology.
  • Eliminates marks left by dirt and tears.
  • Restores photo borders with the latest technology.
  • Repairs parts of photos damaged by album glue or adhesive tapes.
  • Adds new color schemes to alter the appearance of the old photo.
  • Balances the tone and tint accurately.
  • Creates a glossy or matte effect for the restored photographs, as per your preference.
  • Introduces two, three, or four different tones to the photograph to enhance its appearance.
  • Experiments with contrasting themes for enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the photograph.
  • Adds color manually to black-and-white photographs for increasing its appeal.

Outsource Photo Restoration Services to Flatworld Solutions Now!

Photographs are a valuable possession that lets us cherish special moments of our lives forever. Hence, it is important to store these precious photos and restore them whenever needed through old photo restoration services. Although it is not entirely impossible to restore photos all by ourselves, it is a hassled and time-consuming process that may go awry. There may not be a way to retrieve photos that may have got destroyed while you were trying to restore them.

There are multiple advantages of outsourcing photo restoration services. You can get hold of a digital copy of the photographs that have no scope of getting damaged with time. Digital photographs can be shared with loved ones and passed on to posterity. Such photographs can be easily stored and may not require restoration anytime soon in the future. Digital photographs can be enlarged and framed.

Call Flatworld Solutions for outsourcing photo restoration services now!

Interested to know more?

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  2. 4 Ways in Which Photo Editing Services Can Help Your Business
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