Photo Restoration Co - NEWS

Six Whole Months

Six. They say that time flies when you are having fun and boy I must have been having fun. It was 6 months ago that the Photo Restoration Co was born. The website was launched in May as I was slowly working my way through a couple of personal restoration projects. The slow trickle of business I expected didn’t happen, instead on day three I woke to find an inbox full of lovely people looking to have photos restored or coloured (I think you’d call it a torrent). In the first month of business I received a letter from a lady who doesn’t have the internet but had heard about “the amazing things I do to photographs”. She enclosed the only copy of a very old photograph with specific instructions to “get on with it!”

The Photo Restoration Co at Family Tree Live

Other than spending time working on all of your lovely photos, The Photo Restoration Co is now booked to attend Family Tree Live in April next year at Alexandra Palace. I know a few of you are attending already. For those that weren’t aware I will have the high resolution scanner on the stand so if you bring your photos along you can receive a free no obligation quote to have your photos restored or coloured and you get to take a look at the ever growing book of before and after comparisons.

We also got the nod this month that The Photo Restoration Co. was selected by Feedspot as one of the Top 35 Photo Editing Blogs on the web. Ok… so I don’t write much, I don’t consider myself a wordsmith… but my business is visual images – so that’s what you get. Thank you Feedspot!

Our Facebook page is self propelling itself and has surpassed 1000 followers and is home to a community that aren’t necessarily looking to have their images restored or coloured they simply enjoy the photos. Instagram has just over 300 and is growing daily.

There we are… I have had the opportunity to work on some truly amazing photos from all over the world, the satisfaction of knowing I have made sure they last for future generations, the lovely feedback received from clients, the amazing backstories I get to hear, they all make this a very enjoyable process. So THANK YOU too all my customers… for your custom and for the trust with your precious photos. I look forward to meeting many more of you in the next 6 months.

Nick.

Family Portrait Restoration

Family Portrait Restoration

Stephen got in touch via Facebook Messenger – He posted down a very sorry looking photo that was urgently in need of repair. The creases and marks took a while to sort out and the large missing area towards to the bottom left of the image required some reconstruction. There were concentrated areas of fading which required rebuilding and blending also. Quite a varied job for such a small photo. The deep sepia tones really suit this image so they just had to stay.

The quality of the scan means we can enlarge this image – it will double in size when printed. Thanks for your custom Stephen, your prints will be with you soon.

Photo Colourisation Service

Photo Colourisation

Kerry is looking to create a collage from a few old family photos. She supplied us with a selection of black and white photos. This one is of her Grandfather. We’ve spent a while spicing up those old images with a splash of colour. Since these are going to be displayed together colours have been selected that might not be true to life but will really stand out when viewed as a collection.

Photo Colourisation ServicePhoto Colourisation Service

Stay tuned for more posts on this! If you have a project you’d like us to get involved in don’t hesitate to get in touch using the button below.

Water Damaged Photo Repair

Water Damaged Photo Repair

Indira got in touch after this photo of Jade was damaged due to a burst pipe. It had survived 19 years so I was tasked with getting it back to A1 condition so it could last a few more. The damage was fairly large but apart from a fingertip it had avoided any complex areas. To ensure it will last many more years a print was produced on Fujifilm 300gsm museum rough paper.

Water damaged Photo repairWater Damaged Photo Restoration

If you have a photo that has suffered water damaged, get in touch and we’ll let you know what can be done!

Wedding Photo Restoration

Wedding Photo Restoration

Tony is fairly local so I popped over to pick up his photograph that needed restoration. This was taken on his grandparents wedding day in Ilkley, Yorkshire in 1922. It’s amazing that it survived nearly 100 years in this condition

It was incredibly sharp in places, let down by some fairly intense silvering (which is a form of photo damage to silver-based emulsions caused by humidity and air pollution) and the standard fading. On closer inspection there were lots of marks that needed cleaning up. This took a while to complete but the difference is night and day.

Unrestored Wedding PhotoRestored Wedding Photo

There is a print on the way on 300gsm museum rough paper and I’m really looking forward to seeing the side by side comparison in print!

Family Photo Restoration

Family Photo Restored

This is the second photo Paola sent to be scanned, restored enlarged and printed. The damage resembled most of the photos in my own family collection of photos. Following a high resolution scan the standard wear and tear needed attention. Once completed the proof was signed off and an enlargement ordered.

Old Family photo RestorationOld Family photo Restoration

Thank you again for your custom Paola.

Photo Restoration Service UK

Photo Reconstruction

Paola made contact with a couple of images that needed some attention, this is the first. Cut to fit a heart shaped frame and then subjected to the perils of sunlight! With some cloning and reconstruction the image was built up to photo size again. Adjustment to levels and a small amount of hand colouring before sharpening finished this image.

Family Photo RepairFamily Photo Repair

The high resolution scan meant the image could be enlarged – we achieved a print 2.5 times the original size printed on 300gsm Museum Rough paper – a real quality look and feel!

If you have a treasured memory you would like restored then please don’t hesitate to get in touch…

Photo Repair Service

Water Damaged Photo

This image is from Donna, even the before image looks better than the scan we had to deal with. It had seen water damage which warped and distorted the image. The photo itself had cracked and was beginning to flake off… I think this was a “just in time” restoration.

Once scanned in high resolution I had quite the task repairing all the cracks and other damage. Once complete it was sent for print and was a fantastic surprise for Donna’s partner. Thanks again for your custom Donna!

Colour Photo RestorationColour Photo Restoration

Thanks again for your custom Donna!

Hand Coloured Portrait Photograph

Colouring Characters

Paul got in touch looking to brighten up this photo. He supplied a great quality scan which made the process very easy. I made a quick adjustment to the levels, touched up a couple tiny marks and had a play with the sharpening before getting stuck into the hand colouring. I really love the character in this one.

Old Family Photo ColourisationHand Colouring photographs

If you have a precious family photo you would like spruced up, why not get in touch!

Old Photographs Restored

Christmas 1937!

This 82 year old photo was given to Louisa who sent it by post for a high resolution scan and a well deserved repair. Despite the best of care this well loved photo has suffered a few cracks and tears. The photo features Louisa’s grandmother and the rest of her class at school… in 1937! I used a few different sharpening techniques to bring out the details which really made the image pop! Try the slider below to see the before and after!

Christmas Photo RestorationSchool Photo Restoration

If you have a well loved family photo you would like restored please get in touch using the button below or pop along to our Facebook and have a chat!

Wedding Photograph Colourisation

Wedding Photo Colourisation

On the 2nd March 1957 Barbara Shorey married Peter Whiteland at the All Saints Church Belvedere in the London Borough of Bexley.

This incredibly well looked after photograph from the day was sent to me by their grandaughter Amy for colourisation. Amy also happened to have a wonderful little card listing the details of colours and flowers featured which made the final result a little more authentic

Old Photo Colourisation ServicePhoto Colourisation - Wedding

Thank you for letting me work on your precious family photograph Amy!

Old Photo Restoration

Coach Trip

A glimpse into the away days of the past. This photo had not weathered well. Multiple creases growing in severity as the years pass by. Slowly bits of important image data that cannot easily be reconstructed start to disappear. It’s important to catch it as soon as you can. This one was in for the full treatment. After an in-depth restoration it has been tastefully coloured with respect to vintage colours and tones.

Photograph Repair ServiceOld Photo Restoration

Do you have a photo in a similar condition you’d like restored or coloured?

Photo Restoration Repair

A Subtle Repair

A more subtle photo restoration from yesterday. A client emailed this photo looking for restoration. At first glance there doesn’t seem to be much wrong. On closer inspection there were a couple of small biro marks, some light fading to a corner, a good old fashioned coffee stain (it could be tea… I’m not one to judge) and the usual sepia tint – to some this can be a good thing.

Family Portrait Photo RestorationFamily Portrait Photo Restoration

After working through the list I gave it some treatment to balance the exposure, sharpen up the features and then gave it a new border. Not bad for a 68 year old photo! This was returned to the customer within a day. Now in digital format as well it should last a very very long time.

Photos for Order of Service

Order of Service

Mandy found us online after finding two wonderful photos she would like to use in her Mums funeral order of service. The photo’s were in OK condition but stained and a little creased. With work like this it is important to bear in mind that there will likely be a need for a speedy turnaround. These were completed and within 48 hours of our initial contact.

Photo Restoration Portrait BeforeChildrens Photo Restoration
Somerset Photo RestorationSomerset Photo Restoration

Thank you for your business Mandy. I hope everything goes smoothly for you.

Photo Colourisation Service

Maureen May Mitchell

Ellen requested a colourisation on this fantastic photo. Whilst involved I repaired a couple of light scratches and balanced the exposure. Taken at Bath Street in Chard, Somerset in about 1949. Ellen’s Mum – Maureen May Mitchell (nee Adam’s) with her eldest 2 brothers and her father in the background. I love the personalities in this one! Thanks again for your business Ellen!

Black and white photo colouringPhotograph Colourisation UK

If you’d like a photo colourised whether for a gift or yourself then please feel free to get in touch using the Request a Quote button below!

Military POW Stalag Luft Postcard

Letters from a POW

A more personal post from me… For a long time I have been researching my own family tree as well as helping others with theirs. There are usually months if not years between “amazing” discoveries. A large number appeared after my DNA test results came back from Ancestry. Others simply by scanning through ancestry’s records. This one discovery in particular knocked me off my feet.

I’ll start with a bit of backstory. My Grandad, John Victor Foster (Jack) was born in 1920 so was only 19 when WW2 began. He enlisted in the RAF at West Drayton and was trained at RAF Cardington and RAF Yatesbury. He was sent to France supporting the B.E.F but in June 1940 he was captured by the Germans at St Valery-en-Caux and spent the next 5 years as Prisoner of War No.89.

Jack was known for his sense of humour. Should you utter anything remotely funny people would say “You must get that from your grandad”. I remember him saying “If you were hungry you’d eat grass.” I was probably a little too quick to brush this off as his sense of humour.

My searches of Ancestry don’t tend to include the generations of family I have met, no hints are offered outside of the usual Birth, Marriage and Death results so they are left and what images and important documents exist in your own collection are added. A good while before he passed away he wrote down his memories of the war and produced a small book that was distributed amongst friends and family. I was re-reading this one day and decided to type his POW number into Ancestry. Several records appeared.

A chap called Rob from Boston, Massachusetts had uploaded the text from some postcards he’d found in his Grandmother’s belongings. I messaged him immediately and thankfully he replied. His grandmother was a red cross volunteer and plane spotter in the war, she was sending parcels to her assigned POW… and he was writing back! Here is what those postcards said…

4-1-43

“Dear Mrs. Frye,

Thank you so much for your welcome letter received today. I must first apologise for the postcard but we are rationed every month, and the letters I send to my people in England. My greatest need here is food. I have plenty of clothes. Such articles as coffee + tea, tinned meat + biscuits are very valuable. Also cigarettes. I will write again next month and tell you more about myself and my life here. In the meantime, cheerio.

Sincerely yours, J.V. Foster”

Letter from Prisoner of War 89
First handwritten postcard by J V Foster to Mrs Frye

6-3-43

“Dear Mrs. Frye,

I hope you received the card I sent last month. Since then you will be pleased to hear I have received Three parcels from you in less than a month. The first was dated 16-10-42. The second, 16-11(42) and the third 1-12-42. They all arrived in good condition. I was surprised to see the amount of food you were able to pack into such a small box, and especially so much of the (…missing fragment)… articles. That ultimately we never see … I haven’t told you much about myself up to the present. I expect you know I am English. My home is in the West country, in the county of Somerset. I have three brothers, one is in the navy, the others are still at school. I joined the Air Force before the war, and unfortunately was taken prisoner in June 1940. I am thoroughly fed up with prison life but manage to keep up a cheerful outlook. I would like to be home for next Christmas, but I have learnt not to be too optimistic. We have a lot of American boys here. They have been busy playing baseball during the past few days. Well I must thank you before closing for the very welcome food parcels, and I hope to hear from you shortly.

Yours Truly, J.V. Foster”

Letter from POW 89 - J.V Foster
POW Letter from Stalag Luft 3 written by J.V Foster
Letter from POW 89 at Stalag Luft 3
Second Letter from J.V Foster prisoner of war at Stalag-Luft 3

16-7-43

“Dear Mrs. Frye,

I received your letter today dated 21st May, also the food parcels you sent. So pleased you received my letter, they sometimes go astray. I find your letters very interesting, especially about the garden. I can picture you all together. We live in the country also, in Somerset (where the cider apples grow.) How I wish I could be there now. Our slogan is “The day will dawn.” We have moved to another camp, please note address.

Sincerely Yours, Victor Foster”

Letter from John Victor Foster to Mrs Frye from Stalag Luft 6
Third Letter from J.V Foster to Mrs Frye from a German POW Camp

8-7-44

“Dear Mrs. Frye,

Have received three big parcels from you, and also a book parcel in the last two months, but have been unable to send a card until now. I am still waiting for this war to end. Since I last wrote you we have had a lot of Americans here in another compound. Thanks again for all you have done.

Jack”

Postcard from Stalag Luft 3 by J.V Foster
Final postcard from J.V. Foster from Stalag Luft

I must say a big thank you to Rob who took his time to dig them out again and photograph them for me. It’s so lovely to have found them and at the same time it fills me with sadness that my grandad had to suffer. It was a shame that he wasn’t reunited with his letters, I wonder what he would make of them? I have no idea if he ever tried to make contact with Mrs Frye on his return, but I’d like to think he did.

Jack’s memories of the war are available in a short book called Sauerkraut and Boiled Potatoes which covers his time from enlistment through training, capture, his time spent in prisoner of war camps, his brush with death on the long march through to his return home.

A kindle edition is available.

WW2 Colourised Photo

J.V. Foster


(Far left, sat on chair) Photo taken in 1939 at RAF Cardington following training. Shortly after he wandered into Bedford to have his photo taken alone in uniform.

Military Photo RestorationRAF Photo Restoration and Colourisation

His next stop was wireless training school at RAF Yatesbury before being sent to France with the British Expeditionary Force where he was captured at Saint-Valery-en-Caux by Rommel’s troops.

Prisoner of war no.89.

His memories are available in a short book called Sauerkraut and Boiled Potatoes which covers his time from enlistment through training, capture, his time spent in prisoner of war camps, his brush with death on the long march through to his return home.

A kindle edition is available.

Photo Repair Service

Photo Repair

Here is a great example of one of our photo repairs. This doesn’t look particularly bad, just a few creases – unfortunately one of them falls right across the eye and being a portrait this is one of the more prominent features to lose. Luckily we have 2 eyes so with a bit of carefully reconstruction this can be repaired!

Old Portrait Repair and RestorationPhotograph Repair Service

Luckily we have 2 eyes so with a bit of carefully reconstruction this can be repaired!

Hand Coloured Photo Service

Young Elda Atyeo

Old Portrait Repair and RestorationCabinet card Photo Colourisation

This time a young Elda Atyeo sat for a professional photo sometime around 1920. The photo received a quick tidy (this one was very well looked after) A little sharpness was brought out in the eyes and then colouring.

With no reference as to colours, simple lighter shades looked as if they would work well. Due to the simple nature of the photo this was a very quick one to do.

Land Girl - Colour Photo

Pat Wyatt

The Women’s Land Army was established in World War One, but was re-founded shortly before the outbreak of World War Two. With much of our food being imported and all able bodied men required to fight there was shortage of labour to provide for ourselves. Here we see Pat, (now commonly known as Granny Wyatt) doing her bit as a Land Girl at Drewsteignton in Devon. Can you imagine that today?

Land Girl - Colour PhotoLand Girl - Colour Photo

Thank you to Kim for the chance to add some colour to this wonderful image of your Gran.

Colouring Old Photos

William Daniel

William Daniel or “Bill” joined the Royal Navy and like so many others, their families are now in possession of one of these portraits. This colourisation was made from a scan of a reasonably small photo. So some work was required to sharpen and restore the image before the colour work could start.

Military Portrait RestorationRoyal Navy Photo Colourisation

Colours were easy to match, examples of uniform can be found all over google images. Six tones were used on the face. In all a two hour job.

Photo Colourisation Service

Elda Atyeo

My first colourisation of a black and white photo was an image of my Great Grandmother Elda Atyeo. Born in 1898 and died in 1981 so I never got to meet her. My family are not short on stories about her though.

Photo requiring restoration servicePortrait Photo Restoration

The process took a couple of hours, the photo was in great condition and required no repair. I used multiple layers with a range of blend modes to achieve the colour.

Photo Restoration Blog 1

The story so far…

For the past 10 years I have been working on my family tree using popular Genealogy website Ancestry. This gives you the ability to share with family members… who in turn began to offer up information. In time I became the one who looks after the family photos. It wasn’t long before albums, carrier bags, suitcases and biscuit tins of photos started to appear. It’s my job… no… duty to make sure these are not lost. So I began scanning, cataloging and storing them on hard drives, DVDs and now in the cloud.

Whilst scanning an occasional gem of a photo would appear, sometimes a little worn, other times nearly beyond repair. Luckily I have spent over 15 years working as a photographer and obviously not without the latest version of Photoshop. I decided to tidy a couple of photos up, repair what I could. That lead to attempting to manually colour some of the photos. I added them to my social media accounts and the feedback was amazing! In fact, I had other people digging out their family photos for me to work my magic on.

The Photo Restoration Co. has arrived!