Q. Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.
A. 1. Restoring photos (old and new) that have been damaged due to a number of different reasons - age, water, constant exposure to sunlight, poor storage (crumpled or torn), etc.
2. Retouch photos to eliminate distractions, blemishes, color contrast, etc.
3. Manipulate photos for a customized effect.
Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. Make sure your provider has the skill level necessary to work with the photograph and artistic sense to properly visualize the finished product.
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. With today's technology, it is possible to repair photos with cracks, creases, tears, stains, and water damage; reverse the effects of color fading; and return them to their original quality using professional digital techniques without distortion or loss of quality. Photo restoration is part technique, part skill, and part art.
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. My combination study of fine art, graphic design, and Photoshop has given me a unique ability to understand and visualize excellence in my work with each photo. I am Adobe Certified in Photoshop CS4.
So that your precious and irreplaceable photographs never leave your possession, I can travel to your home and take digital pictures to work from and give you a cost on the project. I then provide you with a digital copy to put on your computer for reference and to make prints from at your convenience.
Or, you can scan and email me your photo, and I will tell you what I can do for what cost.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. With clients I have met, I like seeing the smiles on their faces as they see their precious photos brought back to new life.
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. Can you repair and restore discolored, faded, stained and damaged pictures, photos with scratches, blemishes or with creasy or torn edges, completely torn photographs, as well as those with partially missing images? I answer, "Yes," and it will look like magic!
Do I have to mail you my photos? No! Because I specialize in a local (50 mile radius) clientele, I come to your home and take digital pictures of your photos, so that they never leave your possession.
You can also scan and email me your photos.
How much will it cost? It depends upon the complexity. When I see the photo and what needs to be done, I will give you a firm price.
Q. Do you have a favorite story from your work?
A. I had an elderly client in her 80s who had a poor quality picture of her mother and uncle when they were older. It was also very faded from sunlight, and had shifted out of place in an oval frame. I was able to take the photograph, restore and colorize it, and make it look even better than the original. The smile on her face as she sat there and gazed at how beautiful her mother looked was priceless. She passed away less than a year later. (see Before and After in samples)
I did an intricate colorization of a precious old family photo for a client. She took it home to New Zealand over Christmas, and it was a stunning "hit" at their family reunion. (See Before and After and Review). In fact, another part of the family saw it, and they wanted it at their reunion in the spring.
I have also received nice notes from (non Thumbtack) clients. Jesse C. wrote: "This is terrific! I've already had a request for your contact information from a colleague who is working on a history of an ancestor. I'll put the before and after photos up on a bulletin board with your information attached. I'm also going to sort through my own photos to see whether I have any others that I can send you. Good luck in your business." (March 2014)
Ellen K. wrote: "Melissa, the restoration is quite wonderful - thank you very much. You can be sure I will come to you with any more photos I want to have made better. I hardly knew about photo restoration and am very impressed. I posted your redo of my photo on my facebook and in Family Tree and acknowledged you and your website Melissa. Good luck with your business." (March 2014)
Linda S. wrote: This is fabulous!! I will certainly look at others of my photos and use you to restore them. It is worth the money! I will also tell others about your great work." (March 2014)
Emily R wrote: "Thank you!!! Wow! These look wonderful! The colors are awesome! You did a great job. I have more photos I will send your way soon. Thank you SO much for your time and work. My mom is going to love them! (April 2014)
Diane S. wrote: "You have me in tears. What a wonderful, wonderful job you have done with these two photos. Considering we just lost another dear family member, these are too precious for words and will be kept for generations. They are absolutely a treasure." (June 2014)
Q. What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?
A. Photo restoration, editing, and touch up using professional digital photo techniques without distortion or loss of quality has only been available for a few years. It is one of the marvels of modern technology. I am Adobe Certified in Photoshop CS4.
Q. How did you decide to get in your line of work?
A. I studied fine art in high school and media technology in college. One of the classes I took was Photoshop. I fell in love with the artistic and computer processes involved in bringing new life to photos. It was like magic! With my background in fine art, graphic design, and Photoshop, I am able to visualize a finished photograph that is truly amazing.
Q. Tell us about a recent job you did that you are particularly proud of.
A. I just completed my latest project for a lady originally from New Zealand. These photos were precious to her because there had never been a photo of the entire family together. So, she first had me add in the missing people (mom and the little boy), and then position the whole family in front of their childhood home. Then I needed to color the family photo since everything was in black and white. Because the photo of the home is recent, it shows the "wear and tear" of old age. So I updated the "new house" to make it look like the original "old house." This included recreating the accurate color and making minor repairs. The final step was taking out the shadow on the ground and putting in new grass. I originally added lush green grass which I thought was "New Zealand." Apparently, the grass in New Zealand where they lived is not lush; it is rather dry and dull looking. So I found more appropriate grass, and voila, the finished photo. She was thrilled with the final version and will soon be surprising her siblings with copies.
Q. Write your own question and answer it.
A. Do I have to bring (or mail) you the original photographs? Not necessarily. If I need to scan them, yes. If you can scan them, I can work from the email attachment you send me. I have never met most of my clients. We do everything through email.