Photo Restoration Sebastian Wintermute Studio Photo Restoration Sebastian Wintermute Studio

Do I need an appointment?

Yes. Please call or email to schedule an appointment.

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How long does it take to restore a photograph?

Restoration of most photographs takes approximately 10 business days. However, if a photograph is extremely damaged or requires special attention, the process may take longer.

There are seasonal considerations where volume increases turnaround time. Clients are advised to bring in the photographs to be restored well in advance of holidays such as Veterans Day, Mothers Day, Fathers Day or Christmas. There are no “rush” jobs, but quality work can be expedited at a higher rate to meet clients deadline.

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How much does it cost to restore a photograph?

Restoration is an art, not a science with reproducible results, each restoration project is unique.

While the price for restoring most photographs ranges from $50.00 to $250.00, with justifiably higher prices for museum quality restoration and conservation services, or restoration of exceptionally damaged, large size or otherwise unique photographs, a precise estimate can be provided only upon thorough examination of the original and assessment off all the requirements for the creation of the final image, such as size, tone, and even the lighting condition in a place where the restored photograph will be displayed.

To obtain an estimate, please make an appointment to have your photographs examined and to receive a comprehensive answers to any questions that you may have concerning all aspects of photo restoration.

Pro bono work and discounts are offered to survivors of Holocaust and combat veterans of WWII.

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Can I send you a scan of photograph to be restored?

If you are unable to bring a photograph to the studio or send it to be restored you can e-mail a scan or send a CD with high resolution scan file. Please have a photograph scanned at minimum resolution of 600dpi (1200dpi or more if photograph is to be enlarged) at full color setting, even if photograph is black and white.

However, please remember that producing a high quality scan is the first and one of the most important steps in photo restoration. Unlike many discount photo restoration services that use low quality scanners in hope that later whatever imperfections of the scan, low resolution or color changes can be fixes in Photoshop, Sebastian Wintermute utilizes high quality equipment to ensure capture of even the smallest details or the most minute color variations of the original that are needed for high quality photo restoration and art replication.

To see the difference in quality of images produced with professional high resolution photo scanners comparing to images produced by a common scanner you can examine the two scans of the same photograph.

Both scans were made at 600dpi resolution.
The scan on the left was made with a common all-in-one printer/copier/scanner.
The scan on the right was made with a calibrated photo scanner set specifically for high quality output.

The photo scanner result is much sharper, has better color balance and saturation. Magnification shows even the smallest details while the other scanner blurred details.

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I have a signed document but the signature has faded. Can you make the signature visible again?

Yes, a high quality reproduction can be produced with the signature and all other details restored to their original appearance. Please note: Your original will not be altered, as that would compromise its value and authenticity.

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Can you restore a photograph stuck to glass?

restore photo stuck to broken glass

Depending on the extend of the damage a photograph can either be separated from the glass with a minimal loss or it can be restored by digital retouching and reproduction of the original.

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How do I flatten a rolled up photograph?

Restoration of a rolled up photograph or document is one of the most challenging and difficult of all restoration tasks. It is highly advisable that any photograph of value that has been rolled up and stored in such condition for a prolonged period of time is handled by a skilled restoration and conservation professional, otherwise a photograph will suffer additional distress or may be damaged beyond repair.

Restore a rolled up photoSebastian Wintermute has extensive experience of restoring such photographs, from 1880 panoramic views on New York City to pictures taken at WWII military training camps. If you have a photograph that has been rolled up and that you would like to be restored, please  CALL or   for an appointment to have it examined.

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Can you fix a photograph that is covered with some sort of silver residue?

Many of old silver gelatin prints show signs of “silver migration” or “silver mirroring”. If a photograph was not properly processed, over time, some of the silver ions begin to migrate creating a shiny layer.

Unfortunately little that can be done to remove this layer. Some photo restorers use a light coating of Vaseline to reduce the appearance of silver migration, however this may irreversibly damage the print. Sebastian Wintermute has successfully restored “silver mirroring” damage to historically significant photographs by expert retouching of a high quality scan of the original.

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Can you retouch the original photograph instead of making a digital copy?

Traditional photo retouching service is offered on case-by-case basis. If an original photograph is damaged only slightly, it may still be possible to remove or at least to reduce the appearance of scratch marks and other imperfections by careful application of retouching spot tones.

The great misconception about photo restoration is that in the old times the true photo restorers whose art is forever lost, were able to repair and restore an original photograph to a pristine condition no matter how damaged it was. Nothing could be further from the truth. Though some damages such as scratches, minor blemishes or tears in the original photograph could and still can be retouched and repaired by a skilled restorer, anything more then that required making of a copy of the original photograph.

The usual procedure was to photograph the original image onto a special copy film such as Kodak Professional Copy Film 4125 that was designed for retouching. After a copy was made the photo restorer would carefully retouch the negative removing all visible signs of damages and imperfections by applying special retouching tools and pencils. After the negative was retouched it would be printed on photo paper, this producing a restored duplicate of the original photograph.

Nowadays, instead of making a negative from the original photograph a digital file is created by scanning the photograph with a high quality photo scanner. After the digital file is retouched the restored image is printed on specially designed paper of higher quality and longevity then most of old fashion photo papers.

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Can you enlarge a small wallet or passport size photograph?

Yes. With high resolution scanning and careful retouching and restoration a passport size or wallet size photograph can be enlarger to 4x6 or 5x7 size. Making a photograph much larger may result in loss of detail sharpness.

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How do I protect photographs and documents from fading?

To prolong the life of your photographs or documents and prevent additional damage, store your originals in archival acid-free envelopes and boxes that can be purchased at most art or frame shops.

Keep them where temperature and humidity will be consistent and avoid storage in garages, attics, and basements or near fireplaces and windows. Display the photographs or documents only in frames that are covered with UV protective glass. Keep them away from exposure to direct sunlight, fluorescent light. If your photographs or documents are mounted in frames, do not use chemical cleaners or solvents on the protective glass or the frame.

Chemicals may penetrate the openings between the glass and the frame and cause damage. Use only clean rags or paper towels with water to clean frames and glass. If a frame or a glass is damaged take it to a professional framing shop for repair, specifying the use of archival materials such as natural pH neutral mats and boards and UV protective glass.

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How long do the digital prints last?

All photographs and documents restored by Sebastian Wintermute are printed on fine art archival papers using specially formulated inks. With proper care and display photo prints may last for over 150 years. If your restored photograph or document does become damaged, a new print made from an archived digital file by without the cost of the original restoration. The digital copies of your original and restored images on recorded on an archival CD or DVD, unless physically damaged, can be viewed and copied without any loss of quality up to 200 years.

All photographs and documents restored by Sebastian Wintermute are printed on fine art archival papers using specially formulated inks. With proper care and display, you can expect up to a 150-year life span, which will guaranty that many more generations in your family will enjoy viewing those images and learning about your family legacy. If your restored photograph or document does become damaged you can always order a new print made from an archived digital file without having to pay again for restoration of the original.

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How safe is it to mail my photograph or documents?

Please send all packages via FedEx or UPS.
US Postal Service proved to be less than reliable and insurance money is no compensation for damage or loss of such valuable items.

  • Place all photographs or documents into individual envelopes separated by sturdy cardboard.
  • Request the shipping bill and a tracking number.
  • Do not send framed photographs or documents due to the risk of glass breaking.
  • Specify insurance coverage and direct signature for your parcels.
  • Place highly visible notes outside requesting careful handling.

Sebastian Wintermute will not be liable for any items lost or damaged in transport and reserves the right to refuse work or to change estimates in such situations.

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Do you keep digital copies of photographs and for how long?

All digital files are kept for the period of no less than 3 years.

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