Digital Photo Restoration

Old image repaired in Photoshop by Robert Berdan

Above shows a damaged photo and on the left the image after digital repair.

Fixing old photos is something I enjoy doing and I have been doing it for 20 years. I like to bring old photos back to life and in some sense it also exposes me to some of the history of photography. The basic process is that I make a high resolution scan of the image or take a photograph on a 36 Mega pixel camera of large images I can't scan and then I digitally repair them in Photoshop. Scanning takes about 5 minutes per image and digital repair usually takes between 5 minutes to an hour or two. Only really damaged photos might take more then an hour. I can't perform miracles like put someones face back that has completed faded, but I can make old, faded and damaged images look new again. I can colour or hand-paint old black and white photos, provide black and white, sepia or coloured images. I can even convert the photos so they simulate a water colour or oil painting. I disturb the original image as little as possible . I am often asked to provide prints, I can, but frankly its cheaper to take the digital files to your favourite print shop (I recommend London Drugs).

Quotes & Estimates

In order to tell you how much it costs to fix a particular photo I need to see the image. In some instance if you can send 300 dpi or higher resolution scans I can work with them, but generally I need to scan or re-photograph the images and I can give you better results if I can work from the original print. Generally, the images can cost from about $10 to $200 to repair depending on the size of the image, and the amount of damage - but you will never get any surprises I will tell you before we start. I generally remove images from frames if possible. Images that are burned onto glass or that have become glued to the glass can sometimes be separated, if not I scan through the glass.

Series of digitally repaired images, black and white, sepia and hand-coloured by Robert Bedan

The original photo on the left was hand painted, I show the BW, sepia and Photoshop coloured versions I created.

You can save some money by bringing a USB stick for me to transfer the files onto, or alternatively I charge $10 to burn the images to a DVD. I usually keep a copy of your images in case you lose the files unless you specifically ask me to delete them. If you have a lot of images to repair I can offer you a discount. Often I can have the images repaired in 24-48 hours.

Little girl digitally repaired photo by Robert Berdan

Before and after photos - the image above took me about 30 minutes to repair.

I can't repair all images, color prints soaked in water often result in the dyes being washed away, I can't return a face that's not there. I can replace an arm, ear, eye, etc in some cases. I can remove the background and alter the images in many circumstances and I can add folks. By scanning the images at high resolution I can make an 8 x10 inch photo from a wallet size photo. If the image is blurry, I can sharpen it a bit - but there are limits. Some folks ask if I can return the color - in some cases if there is still a hint I can bring it back (see below). Alternatively I can digitally paint some colours in. In all instances I provide you with the digital files which you can share, or have printed. I also provide low resolution .jpg files at no extra charge which you can email, post on the web or upload to a social media sharing site.

Diigitally repaired photos of solidier black and white, sepia and hand coloured by Robert Berdan

Repaired photos in black and white, sepia and coloured - hand colouring costs extra because it takes more time.

Graduation pictures with text or overlays on them I don't fix even if you have a letter from the photographer saying its OK. The watermarks are usually placed over the eyes and mouth making it difficult to repair. Most images I can repair even if they are not flat. If you want to repair the images yourself - I have posted a tutorial and movie on how to do it here do it on my other web site. If you have a lot of photos I can train you to repair the images yourself - it just takes time and a little bit of talent, scanner, computer, and Adobe Photoshop. If your photos were damaged in a flood, fire or other catastrophe your insurance company might pay for the repair. I don't fix or work on original prints as this a specialized craft and in most cases beyond the price of most people.

Below are some examples of Before and After repair.

Digital repaired coloured image, sepia and black and white versions by Robert Berdan

In this instance the original was in color on the left, but faded. I was able to restore the original color and make a sepia and BW version from the original.


daguerreotype digitally restored by Robert Berdan

The original photo on the left was a daguerreotype  which was the first commercially successful photographic process (1839-1860) in the history of photography. Named after the inventor, Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre, each daguerreotype is a unique image on a silvered copper plate. The digitally restored image is on the right.

daguerreotype digitally restored by Robert Berdan

Another daguerreotype on the left and restored on the right. The original image was just about an inch in height, whereas the final restored image was 8 x 10 inch. On the left you can see tape residue over the photo.

Old photo digitally restored by Robert Berdan

Left before and right after digital restoration.


Digitally restored image of little girl with arm missing by Robert Berdan

In order to fix the image on the left I had to find a new arm - this was a challenging image to repair.


Old photo form 1950's showing car owners at Texaco by Robert Berdan

Brothers that had all purchased a car in the 1950's from the same dealer were invited to the delaershiop for this group photo . The photo was was stained wrinkled and in poor condition.

Digitally restored photo from 1950s by Robert Berdan

After repair this image was 10 x 15 inches in size and a framed copy was provided to each brother.

Hand coloured photographed digitally restored by Robert Berdan

This old photograph was hand painted on the left and had numerous stains. On the right is the repaired image.

Before and after photoresotraion by Robert Berdan in Calgary, Alberta

Above shows the before and after shot of a photo that I restored for a women's 90th birthday. The cost of photo-restoration is less than you might think. I will give you a fixed price before I begin and I guarantee satisfaction or you don't have to buy the image. Contact me for a quote.

Look for some of the old photographs in your home, pull them out and consider having them digitally repaired, these are just a few samples of what I have worked on over the years. Having old images repaired makes and excellent gift. I would love to see your old images and help your restore them.


(403) 247-2457