Can any photo be colourised?
Most issues, such as dust and scratches, can be fixed but it’s important to note that if the original image is too blurry/pixilated/grainy or at too low a resolution, then often not much can be done to improve it. If I think that’s the case I’ll let you know straight away at no cost. The basic rule is: the better the original photo is, the better the results.
Wait - I can get this done for free, right?
Yes, there are various websites that allow you to upload a black and white photograph and it will colourise it using AI technology. The technology is very impressive, and many of these websites will do it for free (at least for a few uploads before requiring sign up and/or payment). However, as you can see, the results are not as satisfying as a carefully-crafted, restored and and hand-coloured enhancement. The difference is in the detail! Automated AI sites will mostly recognise sky, trees, grass, and skin tones but rarely account for lighting conditions and atmosphere - and clothes are almost always blue or grey.
Why do it by hand when AI is so quick?
AI is indeed a powerful tool and becoming increasingly sophisticated. I do occasionally use it, particularly if the original photograph is poor quality or lacking in detail and clarity. But more often than not, the colour choices are unsatisfying. In the case of the photo below, I did colour a version of the enhanced photo but ultimately decided that a tinted monochrome was more appealing once the photograph itself was improved.
So what’s the cost?
Naturally no two photos are alike, so it is not possible to provide a flat fee for photo restoration services. The cost of colourising is based upon the time required, which is dependant upon the amount of detail and subject matter in the photo, as well as the amount of damage and deterioration that needs repaired. Most photos take anywhere from one to four hours to complete. Please get in touch to discuss costs.
Try to get your photograph scanned. It should be at a minimum resolution of 300dpi.
If it has to be photographed, then it’s best to follow these basic rules:
1. Do not use a smartphone (if possible use a good-quality camera)
2. Always photograph in natural daylight (don't use the camera flash)
3. Use a tripod or rest the camera on a solid surface to avoid any shake or blur in you picture.
For a quote, just email vangillmedia [at] me.com. If possible, attach the image to your email.
More examples from my own collection:
Above is an example of photograph with more emphasis on image enhancement, adding more detail to faces etc. A time-consuming process, but it can be worth it!
An old school photo C. 1953
Family portrait C. 1902
Detail of the stages of restoration...