Photo preservation / blog.


Protecting and preserving old photographs.

  • Photographs should not be stored in Attics or garages. Variation in temperature results in cracks in the emulsion.
  • Keep photographs out of direct sunlight. All photographs will fade in time if exposed to sunlight.
  • It is important not to touch photographs on the emulsion side as oils and acids on the fingers can damage the photographic emulsion.
  • Copy/ scan photographs to preserve the image. If the original is lost, at least there is the copy.
  • Do not put sticky tape on old photographs. It can be impossible to remove without damage and the glue can also affect the emulsion.
  • Avoid laminating old photographs.
  • Do not attempt to clean photographs by wiping with a wet sponge. This can cause the emulsion to swell and come away from it’s bas

The Family photo album (3)

Photo restoration Melbourne

Although we take more photos than ever before, the family photo album has

become a thing of the past for many families. Hundreds, sometimes thousands of images of

family and friends are often only stored on mobile phone memory.

Even if they are stored to the cloud backup, it is never the same as holding original photos in your hands. 

I often see old photo albums, sometimes with hand written notes and names, which are a permanent record

for the future. The most a digital file offers is the date and sometimes not even that.

It is a sad reality of modern life that

images have become so ephemeral, especially the candid, fun photos, such as Christmas and holidays.

It is always a good idea to have hard copies made of the more important photos and a

traditional photo album is one way of doing this.

Another option some people consider, is to have entire pages of existing photo albums

scanned. These high res.

scans can be preserved on Discs, hard drives or printed to be kept as a permanent record .

Multiple copies can be made for various family members at a lower cost than scanning

individual photographs.

Photo restoration Melbourne.
An old photograph album from the 1890’s. These housed cartes de viste (CDV’s) and cabinet cards.
Photo restoration Melbourne
An old photo album, reproduced as a photo book, with copies of each page (including notes) and a copy of the original cover.


Colour Print Fading.

Photo restoration Melbourne

It is worth noting that since the 1980’s technology for colour print stability has greatly improved. Prior to this the chemical reactions in colour photographs cause fading within a few decades. This can often be digitally retouched and reproduced back to an acceptable condition. One of the main problems is loss of detail if the fading has gone too far. With modern archival inkjet prints, colour prints should last a lifetime and longer if stored in cool, dry conditions. Original faded colour photographs cannot be successfully restored, only reproduced and restored. Colour transparencies (slides) made before the 1980’s, will fade even if kept in the dark. However they are much less susceptible to fading than prints.



Photo restoration Melbourne

Otherwise known as oxidative-reductive deterioration, this is similar to tarnishing on silverware and is a complex chemical reaction. It can be exacerbated by heat and excessive humidity. Surface cleaning can reduce the effect but you must be very careful!

The best result is obtained by copying with a camera using a polarising filter to reduce flare. This technique cannot be achieved with a scanner.

“Researching, preserving and restoring old photographs”.

I give regular talks on this interesting subject.

The next talk is at the Camberwell Library on 13th August 2019.

Other dates are:

1st October 2019 at the Kingston Library,

9th October 2019 at the Stonnington History Centre,

24th October 2019 at the Mornington Library.

An Ambrotype

Historical Images

The state library of victoria has a large collection of historical images that can be downloaded from its website,   These are important as we are rapidly losing much of our architechtural heritage to modern development. Also they provide an important reference for how previous generations lived.

Photo restoration Melbourne
Painting of Melbourne town hall by Jacues Carabain 1889.

To discuss your photo restoration project, and for a free quote, call-

03 9885 9586 – 0409 175 604