The Gift

Of course, it's pretty much a given that photographers and Photoshop go hand-in-hand. These days, the word Photoshop is a household name. It instantly conjures images of skinny, porcelain-skinned young ladies selling purses, jewelry or clothing in magazines or silly memes in our social media feeds.

What a lot of people don't realize is that it's actually an incredibly versatile (and seemingly infinite) tool. It really does allow you to do so much, relatively quickly, right at you fingertips. Aside from polishing skin to editorial perfection, removing braces and changing backgrounds, it does have many other practical applications. Among those is photo restoration.

That brings me to a wonderful Christmas story. Just before Christmas, I  was approached by a client who asked if I had any suggestions on where she could go to get a photo restored. They also wanted it printed and delivered before Christmas (a mere 6 days away). She and her husband wanted to get his mother a larger print of an old 5x7 they had recently stumbled upon. It was a photo of his mom and dad on their wedding day. The father had already passed away and they just knew that such a gift would be precious. The problem was that the picture was extremely faded and discolored. It was also completely covered, from top to bottom and side to side, with thousands of little white dots. They also didn't have the negative.

What she didn't realize was that I actually do photo restoration, myself. She didn't have to risk sending this irreplaceable print through the mail to some random stranger. Not only was I able to tell her that I could do it right then and there, but I could also have it finished in just a few hours. Of course, being a photography studio, I would also be able to order whatever size print they wanted. She was ecstatic and confided that they hoped to make her mother-in-law be so overcome with emotion with their gift that she would cry.

I immediately scanned the faded 5x7 into my system and started working on it. I was able to fix the reddish color-cast, boost the overall contrast and do the other minor fixes. I was even able to address the blanket of little white dots. As a bonus, I even adjusted the image perspective, slightly, as the original photographer had taken the photo from a low angle, creating an unflattering distortion in their bodies with the pose he chose for them. The real difficulty was that they were both wearing glasses. That means that since the original photographer didn't adjust their head position, there was lens glare reflecting off both pairs. The man's eyes were pretty much invisible. I definitely had my work cut out for me but I was determined to make sure this would be the powerfully emotional gift they hoped for.

I was on cloud 9 when they saw the final proof and loved it. I had been so worried about the eyes in the photo but my fears were laid to rest the moment he said "Boy, I didn't realize how much I look like my dad". He was right, he certainly did! They ordered a large canvas print and I was able to tell them it would arrive by Christmas. I was so happy to hear how much she loved the canvas and immensely proud to have been a part of something so wonderful.

I have been doing photo restoration for almost 15 years. TS Gallant Photography is proudly offering this service in Cape Coral/Fort Myers, Florida. Digital files and actual prints can also be mailed for restoration. Contact me for more information.

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