Sunday, April 02, 2006

Improving a photograph

I feel like the luckiest girl being allowed to work with sweet baby photos all day! It is so rewarding to create a unique design for each baby. And I love making the photographs look even more amazing.

To me, it's fun to "perfect" an image, and my customers receive free professional photo enhancement with every order. What I do to a photo often goes beyond the definition of an enhancement. While of course I color-correct, balance-correct, light-correct, and make skin look smooth and perfect, I also frequently create things that aren't there in order to get the perfect crop. Every day I add more background to images so I can put the photo into the design the best way possible. I never limit myself to the edges of the photograph. I really want you to say "Wow!" when you see how I have transformed your photograph, and how I have added the details so everything still manages to be balanced, and beautiful. This part of the photo announcement service I offer stems from a photo restoration service I began offering on my website in 2001.

Although I don't advertise this service anymore, it is this skill that I apply towards every photo birth announcement order, and any other design I create. One of the most challenging restorations I did was for a local woman. She only had one photo of her grandfather when he was young. The photo had been torn in half, and taped together with scotch tape. And since the photo was glued to a thick back-board, the tear was not a clean one. There were also spots of the image that were missing. Enjoying challenges, this work was so much fun!

Here is the original photo - you can see the tear (and the missing spots in the middle due to the tear), the ink spots and stains, and how faded and dis-colored the image was. Below, the restoration I did. Dianne, the owner of the photo, was thrilled to have this memory restored.

I have restored hundreds of heirloom photographs. Many of my own family photos, as well. I have created photograph montages using my own restored photographs --- see one below! These montages are my favorite pieces of art hanging in my home!

Make sure to take care of your old (and newer, pre-digital camera) photographs. Store them in acid-free boxes and albums. This will keep them around much longer. Start scanning them into digital files. It is a big project, I know! Try to scan 10 photos a day. That makes the task seem more "do-able". Once you have your photos scanned, burn a CD/DVD, and make many copies. Keep one set in a fire-proof safe or safety deposit box. And you don't have to limit yourself to simply storing the photos on a disc; you can create slideshows, or even movies (with audio!) using your photographs. And the best part - now everyone in the family can see and enjoy them.

Here is a photo montage I created for my mom for Mother's Day several years ago. It includes my mother, grandmother, great-grandmothers, and great-great-grandmother.