So by now you know that nearly every image is destined to deteriorate so long as you store it with something less than museum-quality conditions. But what if a photo is suddenly damaged — perhaps not by a natural disaster, but by a household accident?
The good news is scanning can help here, too. For images that have major damage, we offer a service called restoration, in which a technician of ours will lovingly restore your image through a variety of sophisticated digital imaging techniques. Restoration can work wonders, but prevention, if possible, is still the best method.
With digital restoration techniques, these two photos can be digitally stitched together.
Anyone with children at home shouldn't be surprised to learn, as we did, that 20% of Americans have had a photo damaged or lost due to shenanigans from children or even the family pet. We often receive photos that are actually torn, or sometimes just strongly wrinkled. In fact, we've even received photos that were completely torn into a few big pieces (see photo at right).
While it takes effort, this is something that can often be handled using digital restoration techniques.
A photo with mold damage. This kind of damage can be repaired, painstakingly, with restoration service.
Dampness — a relative humidity of 50% or more — is bad in itself, and causes increase deterioration of the dyes in a color photo. It also causes mold growth.
Mold secretes enzymes that attack and stain the underlying components of the photo, and produce the splotches seen at right. Mold is also particularly dangerous since it can happen quite quickly — days or hours, depending on the conditions, like wet clothes left too long in a washing machine. Be sure to immediately separate any photos that have mold from those that don't, or it may spread.
This photo must have been displayed in strong light. Extreme fading will require restoration.
There are two bad parts to the phenomenon of the most common kind of fading, which often casts a light greenish tinge to photos as well.
The first is that it tends to happen to photos that you love the most, since they are the ones on display around your home. And the second is that this kind of damage can be extremely difficult to repair. In fact, of all the kinds of damage we see at ScanCafe, this is the one that is most likely to be something we simply cannot repair. Indeed, it's possible for an image to fade completely away. If you have photos that have begun to fade, try to get them to us immediately, and if you can't, do store them in the dark until you can.
4x Injury to photos by children or pets is 4 times as likely as by fire. source: GfK North America
"I sent about 500 negatives to ScanCafe to get digital images of pictures I took before I purchased a digital camera. The images I received were amazing quality - just like the original pictures! I was a little hesitant to send off all my negatives at once, just in case something happened to them, but ScanCafe took great care of them, and with their tracking system, I always knew where my negatives were in the process. I loved that ScanCafe had great prices and that I could choose which images to purchase after they had scanned them all - what a deal! I have referred a few friends to ScanCafe as well, because of the excellent work they did for an amazing price! "
- Connie S., Toccoa, GA (Aug 2008)
A hygrometer, to measure relative humidity in your photo storage area, is a good idea. They're inexpensive. view a list at pricegrabber.com »
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