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Friday, September 4, 2015

Need help finding a photo restoration artist?

Here are some "insider tips" into the business so that you can make an informed decision and avoid disappointment and costly mistakes. 

  • Quality restoration artists will provide samples of their work, "before and after" pictures if you will. Study those photos carefully (do not be fooled by the quality of the actual image as most webmasters will upload low resolution files so that the website will load quickly for viewers). Ask yourself, do the subjects in the "after photos" look like real people or do they look like cartoon characters?
Unfortunately, many photo restorers simply do not have the required skills or artistry to repair photos without distorting the photo so completely that the subjects become cartoon-like characters. Unless you want Grandpa to look like Homer Simpson, move on to the next website.

  • Avoid the "don't pay until you receive the photo" restorers. 

It may be tempting to send your cherished photo to four different restoration artists who do not require payment upfront and then pick the best restored photo and pay only that "artist". But we strongly advise against that method of choosing a restoration artist.


There are many reasons. First of all, it's simply an unfair practice. Performing quality restoration work is an art that requires a lot of time and tedious work. It's simply unfair to ask four artists to devote their precious time to your photo when you have absolutely no intention of paying three of them for their efforts. More importantly, if you use the above method of selecting a restorer, you will essentially be selecting the "best" restored photograph from four mediocre restored photographs. Simply put, a true artist values his or her time and talent and will not give it away freely.

Contrary to popular belief, photo restoration and repair is not about computer magic; it's about art, experience, knowledge, passion, and hard work. Chances are, if an artist does not require payment upfront, he does not value his art, nor will he devote much time to your cherished photograph. If the artist places no value on his work or time, do you honestly believe you will be getting the very best results?

Selecting an artist who offers a money-back guarantee is much wiser than selecting an "artist" who places no value on his work and therefore requires no payment upfront.

Still not convinced? Let me just say this, 25% of our past clients attempted the above method of selecting a restoration artist. They sent their photos to various companies only to be disappointed by each and every final result. After wasting precious time and energy, they eventually sent their photos to us to be restored properly, and happily paid in advance.

In all our years of restoration work, we have only been asked for a refund three times.

  • Avoid restoration artists or companies that promise, or even guarantee, extremely fast turnaround times, especially for photos that require a lot of restoration work.

"Offering" fast turnaround times is not the same as promising, or guaranteeing, fast turnaround times. It stands to reason that if a company guarantees a fast turnaround time, they may not be devoting as much time to your photograph as it deserves.

Best Photo Repair always offer fast turnaround times, when possible, but our first priority is quality work not QUICK results.

  • Photo processing (This subject is so important, we probably should have listed it first)

Does your restoration artist print your photos on a home printer? Does he take them to the local drugstore for processing?  If so, you will probably receive a substandard final print and not even realize it until it's much too late.
Like photo restoration, photo processing is an art form. Only professional, highly trained technicians can provide truly beautiful, long lasting prints. And those professional, highly trained technicians can only be found at professional photo processing labs; labs that do not service the public but instead service only equally highly trained professionals in the industry.   

Do not be afraid to ask if a prospective restorer uses a professional lab. And if they don't, continue the search until you find one that does.

Making an online purchase can be a little frightening sometimes, but if you do your reasearch and use common sense, chances are you will find a restoration artist that you can depend on for years to come, like many of our own clients have.

Kevin Winkler

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