By Kevin Winkler
Contrary to popular belief, digital photo restoration and repair is not about computer magic; it's about art, experience, knowledge, hard work, and, dare I say, love.
Working from an original photo or print, we recreate your photo in digital format (or use your digital file) and then transform the portrait back to its original state . . . or as close as it can possibly get to its original state.
Or, if you prefer, we can manipulate your image until it's something entirely different.
Either way, we use state-of-the-art computer software as our tools - our "oil, brush, and canvas" - to perform the task of restoring, enhancing, manipulating, or repairing your cherished photo.
In short, there is no computer magic involved, just artistry, using a computer as the artist's tools.
Is the company you are interested in undercutting everyone else?
True restoration artists value their education, experience, skills and time . . . and charge a fee for their services accordingly.
Chances are, if a "company" is dramatically undercutting everyone else, alarm bells should be sounding.
Perhaps they are charging less than their competitors because they are failing as a business and are desperate to get the work. If that's the case, ask yourself this . . .
1) Are they failing because they lack the skills that others possess?
2) Will they be around long enough to finish the job?
3) Are they going to spend as much time on my image as necessary to get the job done right? Or are they going to take short-cuts, resulting in inferior results?
4) Could I get better results elsewhere by paying a little more?
Another possibility for the undercutting is that they are outsourcing the work . . . and your precious portrait . . . to countries where labor is cheap.
That's ok, I guess, if you are unconcerned about keeping your dollars in your own country. And if you like the restoration style in that part of the world, which is often over-airbrushed and soft, with exaggerated colors and smoothed over skin, so much so it looks like porcelain.
Also, if the work is outsources to others, contact with the company for things like quotes and minimal adjustments to the restored photo will most likely to be slower, given the third party element of the transaction and the various time zone involved.
If you are concerned about these issues, don't be afraid to ask!
Sticking with local artists in your country, who do not outsource the work to other countries, will not only boost your economy, it will most likely insure better craftsmanship and faster turnaround times.
And don't be afraid to pay a little more. You are not only paying to restore a photo; you are also paying to restore a memory. Chances are, it will be worth the extra money.