Too much restoration?

When you’re restoring a photograph, are you making sure you’re not going too far? O_o Say what? How can you go too far when restoring a photograph? Isn’t it just removing the scratches/tears/mold spots or anything else that has damaged the photo? Bringing it back to how it looked when it first came from the printers and handed to the owner? Half correct.

If you don’t know the story, Louis Daguerre received credit for the famous Daguerreotype. It was found out years later, he stole the idea from someone else – as in the most obvious thing realized was he never talked about how the invention worked (why didn’t anyone think to ask him that simple question???). To elaborate, he was at a party, heard someone talking about this invention, then pushed this person to keep talking until Louis had the information needed to get famous off an invention that wasn’t his. Well photographers got smart and started writing on their photographs “copyright” next to their name on the photograph or the photograph was mounted in a cardboard frame that proved the photograph was taken by that photographer. Have you ever come across photos with these copyrights?


When you’re restoring a photograph that has this, DO NOT remove those tags!!!!! If you remove that tag that is your way of taking claim of the photograph and saying “I took the photograph, it is mine. I can do whatever I want with it.” You can color the tags but you have to leave those there (the numbers you see?  They have to stay too). To those that sell colorized photographs? HINT: Many people buy a photograph when less of its vintage flare is removed. You’d be surprised how many will buy photos because you kept even a small thing like that in the photo.

Another thing I come across with my photographs – the cabinet cards. That tag on the bottom or even the frame; how are you supposed to sell a photograph with that taking up so much space? The customer will get confused – Newsboy was a famous printing company for cabinet cards and customers will either like the vintage aspect, or wonder if Newsboy is part of my business.


Well here’s something I found out – when displaying the photographs on your website you have to keep these card frames. However, when you go to sell the photograph itself for prints, you can remove that frame. As long as you are showing somewhere that the frame exists, you’re fine.

Good luck!




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