April 10, 2023

DIY Photo Restoration - Pros and Cons

DIY Photo Restoration - how much can i do myself?


So, you've got some old photos lying around that could do with a bit of sprucing up, as perhaps they got creased, or maybe faded by sunlight... But, while being reasonably handy with a computer, you're not sure whether to take on the challenge yourself or call in the experts?

Fear not, as I'm here to guide you through the pros and cons of DIY photo restoration and the benefits of using professional photo restoration services. I'll also give you some tips on how to choose the right restoration service for you, and explain the costs associated with it. Finally, I'll give a brief mention to how technology is changing the industry, so you can make an informed decision and preserve your precious family photographs for years to come.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Attempting DIY Photo Restoration

First things first, let's talk about some common mistakes to avoid when attempting a DIY restoration. Restoring old or damaged photos requires specialised knowledge and skill. Attempting a DIY restoration without the proper training and equipment can often result in further damage to the photo. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

  • Mistake #1: Using Harsh Chemicals

Now, we all know that Dubs can be a little rough around the edges. But when it comes to restoring photos, gentle is the name of the game! Using harsh chemicals to remove dirt, stains, or discolouration from a photo can cause irreparable damage. Certain chemicals, such as bleach or ammonia, can weaken the paper fibres and fade the image even more. Never use anything other than a slightly damp, soft cloth.

  • Mistake #2: Over-Retouching

When it comes to photo restoration, less is more. Over-retouching can make a photo look fake or distorted. Using too much contrast or sharpening tools can remove the natural softness and texture of the image.

  • Mistake #3: Using Low-Quality Scanners

We all love a bargain. But when it comes to scanning your photos, it's important not to skimp on quality. Using a low-quality scanner can result in poor image quality and low resolution. The scanner must be capable of capturing a high-quality image and not lose details or colour accuracy during the scanning process. Ideally you should scan at a minimum of 600 dpi.

Oh, and using a scanning application on a mobile phone won't cut it - sorry!


The Benefits of Using Professional Photo Restoration Services

Now that we've covered some common mistakes to avoid, let's talk about the benefits of using professional photo restoration services. Sometimes it pays to call in the experts. Here are some of the advantages:

  • Advantage #1: Expert Knowledge and Skill

These services are usually operated by professional photographers with significant retouching experience, and they have the necessary knowledge and skill to restore photos of all types. They have access to specialised equipment, software, and materials that can enhance the quality of the image.

  • Advantage #2: Quality Assurance

Professional restoration services should guarantee a high-quality restoration. They will provide a digital preview of the restored photo for approval before printing, ensuring that the final product meets your expectations.

  • Advantage #3: Long-Term Preservation

As a proud Irishman, and lover of history I know the importance of preserving our heritage for future generations. The creation of digital backups of the restored photo, will ensure that it is never lost or damaged.


How to Choose the Right Photo Restoration Service for Your Needs

Choosing the right photo restoration service can be a daunting task, as I expect you found my website courtesy of a quick Google Search - but fear not, as I'm here to guide you through the process. Here are some factors to consider when making your decision:

  • Factor #1: Expertise and Experience

Choose a restoration service that gives your confidence. Look for a company with years of experience and positive customer reviews. Don't be afraid to ask for references or examples of their work if they are not clearly shown on their website.

  • Factor #2: Cost

As a savvy shopper, you know the importance of getting a good deal. However, when it comes to restoring your photos, it's important to remember that quality comes at a price. The cost of photo restoration services varies based on how many minutes (or sometimes hours) of work are required for each image. Be sure to ask for a quote and if you feel like it, compare prices from a couple of providers. Remember, the cheapest option may not always be the best.

  • Factor #3: Customer Service

When choosing a restoration service, it's important to choose a company that offers excellent customer service. Look for a company that is responsive, communicates clearly, and delivers the final work on schedule. Comments within Google reviews can be helpful here.


Understanding the Costs Associated with Photo Restoration Services

The cost of photo restoration services can vary depending on the level of restoration needed. Minor repairs, such as removing minor stains or scratches, can be quickly done and cost as little as €10 per image. More extensive restorations, such as repairing numerous tears or creases, can cost upwards of €30 per image. If you want to add colour to an old black and white photo, that takes time - there's no way around it.

Basically it all depends on the extent of the damage and the retouchers estimation of how long it will take them to perform the different processes necessary to have the photo look as good, and if not better, than it was when it was first printed. 


How Technology Is Changing the Photo Restoration Industry

Being a bit of a tech hub, we in Ireland are no strangers to technology, and the photo restoration process is no exception. Advancements in software development have transformed the industry, providing new and innovative ways to preserve your family photos. Here are some of the ways technology is changing the industry:

  • Change #1: Change #2: AI-Assisted Restoration

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is being used to assist with photo restoration. AI algorithms can analyse damaged photos and automatically restore them, reducing the need for manual intervention and saving time and money.  In every use situation, it’s necessary to perform some restoration tasks manually.

  • Change #2: Online Restoration Services

Online restoration services offer a convenient option for restoring your photos from the comfort of your own home. These services use secure online portals to upload and download photos, and many offer a range of restoration options at affordable prices. Online restoration services offer a great way to get your photos restored without leaving the house.


So in summary, deciding whether to attempt a DIY restoration or use a professional restoration service can be a difficult decision. While DIY restoration may seem like a cost-effective solution, it can result in further damage to the photo if not done correctly. Professional restoration services offer many benefits, including expert knowledge and skill, quality assurance, and long-term preservation. 

In my opinion a good balance of cost and quality, is when the owner cleans the photo themselves, dries it patiently, then flattens it, and finally scans it (600 dpi as a jpg), and then emails it to me for a quote. Once approved I can then begin to weave my digital magic across it.


This is airbrushing.ie

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