Q. Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.
A. The best digital image and document restoration service available. Also, color correction, tonal correction (fading), missing pieces; any thing that needs to be done, we can do! We are the people the museums and historical societies come to to digitally repair an image, so you can be sure we'll do the best job for you!
Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. Look at their portfolio to make sure they can do it all; see if there are examples close to what you're looking for. Look for examples that look like the original had extreme damage, the finished restoration should look like it was never worked on, or close to it. There should be nothing that stands out as "odd" or "off" about a restoration.
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. Experience and skills, how long have they been doing this work? Dedication, is this just a side job? Is their primary focus on photography or another skill set? Photography and photo restoration are not the same skill set, one is in camera, the other is in a photo editor, such as Photoshop; how are their Photoshop skills? Have they any awards in photo restoration?
Q. What questions should a consumer ask to hire the right service professional?
A. How long have you done this? Do you teach? May I see your portfolio? Have you any awards (photo restoration specific)? Is this, photo restoration, the primary focus of your business? How many restorations have you done? Do you have testimonials from customers? Colleagues?
Q. What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?
A. Are you looking for a good price, or the best restoration possible? How important is the photo or document you'd like restored?Is it worth paying for the best? Don't base what you think you should be paying based on the size of the photo or the damage you think you see - ask to see the photo scanned and enlarged in the photo editing program if you have any doubt; look at the damage the restorationist will fix, not what you think you see!
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. Photo restoration is all I do, and I'm the best at what I do. I've thousands of restorations over a ten year period. I do work for private clients as well as archives, historical societies and museums. When I'm not doing photo restoration, I'm teaching others the craft. I'm completely dedicated to the restoration and preservation of your precious historical family photos.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. I love that I get to hone my craft everyday by bringing your family memories back to life. The greatest thing that happens is when someone tells me I've brought the only photo of a loved one in existence back, or it's the first time they've been able to see an ancestors face clearly. Normal everyday photos are our history. I love being able to help people archive, preserve and restore that history.
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. Q: What is digital photo restoration?
A: Digital restoration is where we scan your original image, or photograph it if it can't be taken out of the frame, and then do the work digitally, on the computer, in an image editing software.
Q: What tools do you use?
A: I use the latest version of Adobe Photoshop (CS6 as of this moment) and a Wacom Intuos5 digital drawing pad. I'm a 15 year veteran of the Photoshop software and am considered an expert as well as one of the leading authorities on digital photo restoration.
Q: Will you work on my original if I want you to?
A: In a word, no. While I'm an expert at digital photo restoration I'm not an expert conservator. I have neither the tools nor the knowledge to work on an original. If you would like someone to work on your original you'd need to search for a trained, licensed, conservator. Anything less is risking your original image that you can never get back again should something go wrong.
Q. What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?
A. I wish customers knew that photo restoration was a skill like any other profession. You can't automatically do it if you know how to take pictures, or even if you have a reasonable handle on photo editing skills. There's a certain things you must have to be an excellent photo restorationist, among them are perfectionism, a knowledge of anatomy (I've studied forensic art and am a traditional portrait artist), a mastery of Photoshop and a rabid attention to detail.
Q. How did you decide to get in your line of work?
A. I started doing my family history18 years ago. We had a lot of photos, many in very bad shape, most that needed at least a little help. I decided to put my Photoshop skills, honed since 1999, to good use and try my hand at digital photo restoration. I started off small, finding all the information I could about the discipline, working hard to improve. I didn't want my family pictures to look anything less than perfect. As I got better and better, I started to look at others restoration work to emulate and raise my personal bar. Unfortunately, what I saw was less than stellar and I realized that it was up to me to raise the bar for others. It's become my personal goal to be the best I can be, learn constantly and teach others all I learn.
Q. If you have a complicated pricing system for your service, please give all the details here.
A. Our prices begin at $50, but then depend on an estimate. Photo restoration is too complicated to give a flat rate. There are many times, for instance, when a client will want a price and tell us there's hardly any damage, or only one or two little scratches, only to have us scan the photo and enlarge it in Photoshop where the myriad of damage is then seen. So much of the damage in a photo simply can't be seen with the naked eye and, unlike most places offering photo restoration, we get all the damage out! We don't see doing a job if it isn't done right. At the same time, we're not going to charge such exorbitant rates that no one can afford quality photo restoration services!
Q. If you were advising someone who wanted to get into your profession, what would you suggest?
A. The worst thing any one can ever do is to think they have some time, or Photoshop and will go into business for themselves doing photo restoration without putting in the time and effort to learn the skills needed to do the work well. It's the greatest disservice to your potential clients and yourself to not learn the craft.
Q. What is your greatest strength?
A. My greatest strength is my obsession with restoring images as close to perfect as I can. I'm fairly certain no other digital restoration expert obsesses over getting every single speck and spot cleaned up on an image, in fact have heard from many that that is a waste of time; I disagree. I might take longer, but if a client decides they want to enlarge a wallet-size image to poster size, there will be no specks or spots showing in my work.