Photo Restoration

Bring Cherished Photos Back to Life

Sometimes pictures can be precious things, recalling memories or providing windows into the past. Sadly, time and unforeseen events can sometimes destroy those precious things. Even the most carefully preserved photographs or artwork can fade with time, be corrupted by acids or other chemicals, and sometimes even be torn to pieces.

Thanks to the combination of software programs such as Photoshop and the artistic skill of the operator, all is not necessarily lost. At Moab Printworks we can often restore those precious icons to glowing beauty.

We start by making a digital copy of the damaged print using our high-resolution scanner or, in the case of larger originals, by photographing the work with a digital camera. Then the real work begins.

Photoshop has many tools that can be used to bring back color and details that have faded, or that can be used to restore missing parts. It is not an easy task and requires time and patience. The results can be amazing.

In the first example a portrait of a young girl in a pink dress has faded until almost all detail was lost. There are only the ghostly remains of what may once have been a vibrant picture. In the second version the picture has been brought back to vivid life.

This restoration was done by Mark Brown. He made special use of Photoshop’s adjustment layers function, creating about a half dozen multiple copies superimposed on each other as layers. He was then able to work on different areas of the image on separate layers before joining them back together. Toning was used to add vibrance and clarity, often using the brush tool to apply effects. He decided to give the charming little girl a dress that is probably more vivid pink than the original.

The next example features an old photograph that has been horribly damaged, even to the extent that many parts of it are missing. In this case Mark used Photoshop’s clone, patch and healing brush tools extensively. Masking layers were created from which areas of the background that are missing could be cloned and inserted to replace missing areas.

In the case of the child in a yellow dress the toe of the right foot was missing, so Mark cloned the toe of the left foot, reversed it and fitted it in to replace the missing part. Cracks in the picture were restored using the healing brush and clone tool. Again, toning was used in layers to bring back natural skin and clothing colors. The result is probably better than the original ever was. In a final step, a new print can be made on a multi-color inkjet printer.

Photographers are sometimes accused of using Photoshop to create false images, but these examples show how it can be a power for good. It is not a magic wand and each of these examples took several hours of work to create. In the end, what may have seemed almost lost forever can be brought back to life again.

Depending on the difficulty a restoration can take anything from a half hour to several hours. We charge based on $20 per hour and with a minimum charge of $10 per image. However, we will provide an estimated total and bill accordingly at a flat rate, so there will be no surprises. Prints will be charged at our usual rates and can be made on various media and sizes. Call us at 435-355-0121 to make an appointment.