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My New Photo Restoration Business

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Old 05-04-2002, 07:11 AM
Gerry Monaghan Gerry Monaghan is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Montour Falls NY
Posts: 51
150 year print life estimates are tricky

Hi Tom et al.
Yes, it is interesting to hear of all this research into print life being made by all of these manufacturers. Even the Willheim Institute claims are based on such a narrow band of criteria. I believe it is something like 450 lumens at 70ºf. From what I am told, 450 lumens is something akin to a 15 watt lightbulb. Anything more than that degrades the printlife considerably. Again, any time the print spends over 70ºf also speeds up degradation. If the print spends a few weeks in a room which gets in the 90's, the years come ticking off the life expectancy by the week.

I think, if nothing else, I intend to educate my client on this matter, and hopefully, they will see that the prints from my new Epson 2200 are of a very high quality, that can be enjoyed for their lifetime. I agree with Mr. Conway that offering clients the ability to get negatives made which can be taken into a traditional darkroom for real museum quality prints is going to be my top tier of services offered. After that, I am going to offer the pigmented ink prints (I am waiting for the release of the 2200 in July). Then, as a third tier, I will offer the Fuji Crystal Archival Prints (25 year prints) and the Kodak Poly & Illford Multigrade B&W prints.

I have been spending some time on the Kodak Website. They are making a great effort to promote the concept of "Darkfastness" in this discussion. This refers to the effects of nonlight environmental degradation on photo prints. I see it as them cutting themselves slack at every chance. I can't say I blame them, they have lowered the quality bar so much in terms of what they market to the popular culture as a photograph, that they are just covering their butts.

Thanks for the feedback, it is soooo helpful.

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Old 02-01-2005, 10:10 PM
CJ Max CJ Max is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Pearland, Texas, U.S.A.
Posts: 67
Personally speaking...

My biggest concern is that all of the archivability ratings are based on
such ridiculous standards. I mean, who is going to keep a photo in the
light of a 15 watt bulb at 70º F. What is a 50 year print worth in real
life. Do sentimental picture owners really care? Or do they just want to
know their restored photo is as good as any RC Color print from the
1970s on?



Personally speaking I can assure you that archival quality is verrrrrry important.

I've been researching our Johnston family for 26 years now. Early on I found out that 1, possibly 2, fires had destroyed the first homestead consuming the family bible, photos and legal documents. 26 years of searching all across and up and down North America produced only 1 image with a second generation Johnston, my ggrandfather. No one could come up with anything else. Last week a distant and heretofore unknown cousin contacted me about a Johnston family album that she had discovered in her Grandmother's effects. Writing on the backs of some of the tintypes verified that they were our family and that many of the images were from the 1870's. 2 images, those of my gggrandparents had evidently been displayed at one time. They were much more noticeably faded and will require more retouching. How I wish that they had been done on a more archival material; however, even after over 130 years I'm ecstatic about at least having something to work with.

I've always "sold" the archival qualities of my portraits because most everyone has faded color photographs, and they are disappointed that they have faded. Now I've got even more reason to do so - about 40 more images worth. I'll guarantee you though that my gggrandparents didn't even give it a thought as they sat for their portraits. Thank goodness her daughter, and her daughter and her daughter kept the images "sealed" from the light in a family album for most of those 130+ years. With color historically being so fragile, archival becomes even more important, IMO.

Just my 2 cents worth.

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Old 10-16-2005, 07:19 PM
Nuna Nuna is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 6
Thumbs down G00d luck Gerry

Hi Gerry, You should post something for us all to see never know, you could get a start on your Business in RetouchPro........Good luck
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Old 04-06-2006, 04:58 PM
Sheri Medford Sheri Medford is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 35
I am just getting started with photo retouch and I don't know anything about printing photographs really. I was mostly in graphics the last 20 years and just before deciding to learn to be a retoucher as well, I bought an OKI Color Laser Printer C5200. Is this a problem? Everyone is talking about Epson Inkjets so far, does this mean you can't get a good photo print from a wonderful color laser printer? Is there anyway I can? I have glossy laser paper and the prints don't look so good, but mostly I notice the blacks/grays print too brown, so that must be a calibration problem (I have yet to look into that). But the tone, sharpness and detail, can a laser do it or do I need a Epson inkjet? I have an Epson Stylus C82, just need to get more ink....or should I bother, do I need a newer printer? I am on a zero budget due to a survival lifestye at this time. Is there anyway to be able to print with what I have or what is the cheapest soulution for me.

This is the part that I find hard to learn and feel overwelmed by. Any help would be appreciated, even a different paper. I have a HammerMill OfficeOne Business Gloss. I do have three sample packs of techniSource coated, cast-coated digital papers.?????
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Old 05-21-2006, 09:33 PM
happyheart happyheart is offline
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Royal Palm Beach, FL
Posts: 7
I too am considering starting a restoration business and find this discussion VERY interesting. I am at the other end, 58 yrs old, not wanting to do the corporate thing any longer, and looking for something that I could do from home or a small store. I heard about the Epson printers once before at a Ben Wilmore seminar. How are they better than say the newer HP inkjets, like the 8450 using the Vivera inks? HP is quoting Photo life of 100 years with these new inks. The repro quality of a photo is pretty impressive when viewed. What kind of cost is associated with the Epsons? I know I will need to buy some equipment (although I am a computer nut and have computer, scanner, digital SLR, Photoshop CS2), but what level of scanner and printer are acceptable for this type of work?
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Old 05-22-2006, 10:04 AM
emarts emarts is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Northern, NJ
Posts: 135
I have an old EPson printer I use for proofs or one-offs. It's a great printer. But I generally like to get my prints made from Very reasonable rates an the quality is outstanding.
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Old 07-16-2006, 11:18 PM
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AdamZx3 AdamZx3 is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: NE Ohio
Posts: 194
I just recieved my sample prints from HP for their designjet 90 series printers that one prints up to a 18" wide print and can use rolls with an attachment. I was very impressed with the quality of the prints they seemed to top any inkjet i've ever seen, and seem to have finer detail than the local printers (fuji printers at walgreens etc.) but for 998 its outa my price range for just home use.

for another couple hundred you can get the 24" version, and for some less they have a 13x19 version I belive the designjet 30, and should use the same inkset as the big boys (hp 84/85)

hope this helps, theres some many printers to look at out there!!
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Old 07-17-2006, 06:09 AM
montera montera is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 11
My way..

I've done this (retouching mainly old photos)for 6 months now, done it for 7years as a hobby. Not a gold mine but I eat daily. Started with Canon S9000 and Epson Perfection 2450, after 6 weeks upgraded to HP Designjet 130 and Epson V700. I think the DJ 130 is the best thing it's reliable and versatile from postcards to posters. I do color and B&W on Premiun Plus Photo Satin. For customers I "promise" over 80 years longevity and give the WIR document or www-address to see the specs. This is my new life after 30 years in chemical laboratory at the age of 54 I see almost nothing but sunshine at the horizon.
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Old 07-26-2006, 05:19 PM
Katfalls Katfalls is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Michigan, USA
Posts: 3
Smile paper recommendation from a pro

If you want to use a really great inkjet paper for restoration work try the hahnemuhle rag. It resembles the old ektalure g in surface texture, it is very rich. I use if for b/w and color restoration work . . .even use if for 'giclee' art renditions. I use the epson 2200, a great little printer and also the epson 7600. I like the ultrachrome inks for print stability and print shield for a light coat of protection. You can order the paper and/or coating from and other places. Inkjetartsupplies is another one . . .
The greatest culprit today for image deterioration is air pollution!
If anyone is interested in a class on photo restoration I would consider giving one. Have been in the bus. for 37 years, came up through the ranks of hand retouching to digital imaging. I love digital imaging, use the pc platform.
My website is:
Hope I helped you!
Kathy Falls, PPA Certified E.I.,CPPS, CPP, Master Artist, Master Electronic Imaging, Cr.Ph., APAG Laurel
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Old 04-20-2009, 01:01 PM
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timmy1729 timmy1729 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 71
Re: My New Photo Restoration Business

Hello everyone!
I too am considering starting a photo retouching business, except much farther down the road. I can't offer anything new except to tell you my thoughts. I am just learning Photoshop/Illustrator and GIMP/Inkscape right now. I love fixing old family pictures. I think doing that would be as close to a perfect job for me as can be. How cool would it be to take your laptop to the park and work in the park, or work on the beach, or at home in your PJ's over a bowl of Cheerios? Even when I do start retouching for money, I think I will still wait a while until printers become a little better before I offer prints.
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