What to Do With Damaged Vintage Photos

Organizing photos may be the most important organizing project you’ll ever work on. In every family collection, there’s at least one really great photo that has been damaged. Find and restore a special vintage photo for a great family present and a sense of accomplishment. Here’s what to do with damaged vintage photos.

What to Do With Damaged Vintage Photos

When I asked if I could tell this story, the client said, yes, please! We started with a large photo (about two feet square) that had been tightly rolled for decades. Rolling was very space efficient, but damaging.

what to do with damaged photos


It was so tightly rolled that there was no way to unroll it without tearing in the middle, right across the subject of the photo. You can also see ripples throughout the photo from the handling and rolling through the years.

vintage photo restoration-before


If you are damaging your vintage photos when handling them, stop and get professional help rather than causing more damage.

In our office, we humidified the photo to get it to relax, so we could unroll it. Then we scanned it digitally, getting the best scan possible, despite the damage.

vintage photo restoration-after

The final step was to digitally restore the photo. Our team of designers love restoring photos. We can restore specific areas, as we did in this photo, and enhance the entire photo making it look better than the original print. Some photos need just a touch, and some need extensive processing. Restoring photos is more artistry than you might think. With the right software and skills, the results are amazing, especially when you think an important photo has been damaged forever. Here are a few more examples of photo restoration projects.

Now this photo, restored, properly named and dated, can be shared digitally with the whole family AND can be printed in an easy-to-handle 8×10 format that’s perfect for gift-giving.

Restoring badly damaged vintage photos isn’t a DIY project. Leave this to the pros for your very favorite and most important photos. You’ll be glad you did.