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Thread: Old Family Photo's from the 30's onwards.

  1. #1
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    Old Family Photo's from the 30's onwards.

    Hallo to everyone,

    I'm new here so please forgive if I'm posting in wrong place, would like some advice, can you point me in the right direction please.

    Like most of a certain age I've inherited an archive of old family photo's from a large family and would like to provide siblings and their children with a secure way of having copies - plus there are some which might need a bit of a touch up !

    There are a few which as children we felt the urge to pencil round faces add moustaches to etc !

    So here's my questions,

    Can anyone recommend a company in or around Cambridge that can convert our old photo's to digital - if that's the right description - so they can be held on a CD - or whatever format you can recommend.

    Secondly - I realise it's a question of the amount of damage but is it practical we can expect such a company to re-touch the damaged old photo's once they've been converted to digital ?

    They are only old photo's but to us there are priceless - so many thanks in anticipation.

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    Re: Old Family Photo's from the 30's onwards.

    I cannot comment on suitable companies in the Cambridge area (first of all - are you referring to Cambridge, UK or Cambridge, Mass.? This is a very international bunch..).

    Retouching is a labor-intensive process, which can become expensive if you do not feel qualified to do it yourself. However, the good news with digital is that you can defer that until later. So go ahead and have the photos scanned at good quality, and you can come back to retouching later on..

    /Lennart Elg

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    Re: Old Family Photo's from the 30's onwards.

    Ah yes - thank you - it's Cambridge UK.

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    Re: Old Family Photo's from the 30's onwards.

    Depending on the quality of the scan you want, scanning at home may be adequate - and a WHOLE lot cheaper.

    Once you've scanned in a few of the pics, you can post them here (only a few mind, and at suitable size, not full size), and there are many on this board who would be willing to give there suggestions and techniques as to retouching.

    Again, it all depends on the quality of result you are after. You can spend hundreds of pounds (sterling) on a single image to get a VERY high quality scan and have it retouched (by the hour charges are not low).

    If you learn how to do it yourself, you've got the satisfaction of learning a new skill that can also be used in many other ways, and saved (potentially) a huge amount of cash.

    Even a few skills in retouching will make a huge difference in the scanned images, and that may be enough.

    Graham

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    Re: Old Family Photo's from the 30's onwards.

    Many years ago ('98 if I'm correct). I took an old 4x6 picture of a family group (grandfather) on a farm. The image of my grandfather was pretty small, but I scanned it in (home scanner, nothing flash), cropped it, adjusted it digitally (contrast, colour, sharpening, very limited cloning to clean it up a little). Once it was upsized and printed out (about 5x7, original was only a couple of inches max), my grandmother loved it.
    The recovered picture was at least adequate to the purpose. And it cost nothing but time and had a huge impact on memories.

    Graham

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    Re: Old Family Photo's from the 30's onwards.

    Hi,
    as said above there are many companies that provide this service, but I would strongly recommend learning to use a retouching software yourself, to keep the costs down. Something like GIMP (which is freeware; I believe this can be downloaded from the internet) or Adobe Elements or any of the other numerous packages out there.
    As Graham said, if you posted one or two of your pictures on this forum I'm sure a number of us would make recommendations or 'if your lucky' even retouch them for you.
    I really do think if you learn to do the work yourself you will get untold satisfaction.
    Good luck on whatever route you take.

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    Re: Old Family Photo's from the 30's onwards.

    Thanks to everyone for the replies.

    I'm glad to have stumbled onto the forum it's really interesting - I'm no photographer so don't really have the knowledge of you chaps and was really looking for a company to do it for me.

    Thing is though you've got me interested so I'll go off and see if we've got a scanner on one of the many printers scattered around the family - obviously don't know if they will be good enough though - so will also see how much a dedicated scanner will cost - - any suggestions for type and quality gratefully accepted.

    Will also have a look for the software mentioned above - blimey ! - I feel a project coming on.

    Thanks again.

    Regards, David.

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    Re: Old Family Photo's from the 30's onwards.

    David. You may well be able to find a company in your area which will scan your photos onto a disc for you, if you are unable to borrow one. If doing it yourself you do need a little bit of thought about which settings to use. Although this isn't difficult.

    And a decent quality scanner will help to capture the finer details of poor quality photos. The ultra cheap 'business type' scanners which are designed chiefly to scan text may not produce best results.

    There are a number of free retouching tutorials which will give you some guidance if you do decide to do it yourself. How successful you are at the more detailed end of retouching will partially depend on what software you have as well as your skill.

    This CinC tutorial should greatly help. http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...estoration.htm

    The main thing is that once you have made the scans you don't actually alter the original copy because you may well want to return to them as you acquire better retouching skills.

    My local history society often asks me to touch up some very poor photos so here is an example of what can be done by a relatively unskilled amateur.

    A friend wanted a photo of his father but the only available one was very crinkled and had scribbling across it. The photo was only about 4 ins on the longest side.

    I only scanned the required area but at a high resolution; I think I used 1600 ppi. Then I resized the resulting image to give a more acceptable working size around 200 ppi. Once again, the maths need a bit of thought but isn't difficult if you simply consider the starting and required finishing sizes. For same size copies you can just scan at your finishing size.

    Anyway, this was the original at approx 4 ins width. It is a bit on the green side but I was able to correct that later.

    Old Family Photo's from the 30's onwards.

    And this was my finished result which I printed at 8 x 10 ins.

    Old Family Photo's from the 30's onwards.

    Not perfect but a lot better than the original; and remember, I'm definitely not an expert in this technique.
    Last edited by Geoff F; 2nd December 2011 at 10:16 AM. Reason: link added

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    Re: Old Family Photo's from the 30's onwards.

    Well done Geoff,
    this certainly will give David an idea of what is possible. To make corrections like this take time and Patience, but can give good results and a self satisfaction, if you can offer both.

  10. #10

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    Re: Old Family Photo's from the 30's onwards.

    I tend to use both the Clone Tool and Healing Brush, switching between them depending on the actual requirement for various problems. Brush sizes are easily changed, and opacity as required. Soft edged brushes usually work best unless you are working close to some changes in brightness or textures with a sharp edge, where a harder brush may be needed.

    Where there is an area of complicated problems I often find that I can start with a very small area then work outwards until I have created a clear space from which to start the cloning procedure. Thereafter, the Healing Brush often works best.

  11. #11

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    Re: Old Family Photo's from the 30's onwards.

    How many do you have? If it isn't too many, perhaps I can help - I live in Cambridge...

  12. #12
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    Re: Old Family Photo's from the 30's onwards.

    Well - I've done a bit of research and weighed the options in terms of cost, developing a new interesting project and what I'm likely to get out of it in the end both for the family and myself.

    First off, let me thank everyone for the useful replies particularly Geoff F for showing me what's possible. Also Peter for the offer but my thought process has grown a "family project" like Topsy !

    The "do it yourself suggestions" were not initially what I was looking for but pointed me in a direction which suggested that DIY could be both fulfilling and provide as good a result (sometimes better ? ) plus the eventual cost may not be that different.

    Researched a few companies and the cost of copying simple photo's seems to vary from 10p to 1.50 per photo - repair is at the higher end. So with somewhere around 400 photo's to copy if I averaged it at say 40p that's 160. Simple straightforward job done.

    Well is it - well no, that would just be the the grandparents old photo's and there are several hundred more scattered around our large family and talking to my bro's and sis's the consensus is we'd all like a combined family record as non of us is getting any younger - so I've volunteered !

    For me it will be a project to get all the photo's together and over a period of time copy them, learning new skills as I go - you never know what it might lead to.

    Research on scanners showed I could spend from 40 to 1,000's - I've settled on a Canon CanoScan 9000f (always had Canon camera's) which seems to get reasonable reviews, a reasonable spec and comes bundled with what seems like enough software for an amateur.

    Please let me know if you think the scanners not up to it or if I'll need a particular bit of software.

    I will post again to update my progress but once again - many thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

    David.

  13. #13

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    Re: Old Family Photo's from the 30's onwards.

    The scanner should be fine - a well thought-out piece of kit. I don't think that there's anything else that you need, except to make sure that the platen remains dust-free; older pix shed a lot of dust!

    Let us know how you get on.

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