enos and his boys - digital photo repair by jack

Photo Restoration and Photo Conservation.  So, What's The Difference?

In a time where photos can instantly be uploaded for the world to see on various social media platforms; we hardly ever stop to think how lucky we are to be surrounded by such technology. Digital photography has made it all the more easier for us all to document our lives and produce high quality images. However, in this process, it has taken the experience of photography away from us which many of our elder generations have enjoyed.

Sure, we may reminisce about our childhood photos and think how wonderful it is that we don’t have to worry about prints and maintenance. But we don’t realize how much we miss out on by not taking the time to value these captured moments in history. And not utilizing our sources to maintain the beauty of said captured moments.

Thankfully though, technology has stayed kind to its predeceasing counterpart and has given us ways to preserve and restore the images we love and cherish.

Modes of Photo Restoration

There are various methods one can opt for when looking to preserve their pictures. Two of those options are digital photo restoration (repair or "picture editing"), and non-digital conservation.

Now, if you’ve been researching about your choices, you may have heard these two phrases mentioned. So for your convenience, we are going to give you some details on what each of these services entail.

But first, we must set the basic guidelines so you can understand the difference between each technique.

Non-Digital Conservation and Digital Restoration

Each technique works to minimize any further effects of photo deterioration.

With digital photo repair (or restoration), any changes made to the image are done in such a way that the original photo remains unchanged. The picture is scanned and any changes made to the image are then added to the scanned print.

With non-digital photo conservation, changes are made on the photograph itself permanently.  


Photo restoration is all about obtaining an aesthetically pleasing result by improving the image through digital means. Since the main goal of restoration is to maintain the image in its most natural state, the original photo is not affected by the process in any way. As such, it can be used again for other projects or purposes.  The original damaged photo or piece of artwork is only touched during the scanning process.  That is, unless you happen to be a crazy person or you enjoy pretending to be a fax machine, but that's not important right now. :)

The process of photo restoration starts by having the image scanned and then setting it aside in a protective bag to seal it from any environmental elements. Next, the restoration process starts by improving the image’s contrast, color, sharpness, brightness and other aspects that may make it aesthetically appealing. The result would be an attractive quality image that would be an exact copy of your old picture, except monumentally improved, whereas your original image would remain untouched and unspoiled.

Non-Digital Photo Conservation

As a photo improvement technique, non-digital photo conservation is not for a preferable option because of its permanent effects. In this technique, all changes are applied directly on the original photo itself. The process freezes the photo in its original state and slows down the deterioration process as much as possible, so that it can be maintained for the years to come.

Though this may seem like a beneficial process, a problem that may cause your photos to become permanently altered would be due to the professional handling them. Only a competent artist would be able to apply the right techniques to the picture so that it does not deteriorate any further. In addition, since this service can be fairly expensive, you may not be able to find such an expert in your range to begin with. Thus, your search for a professional may delay the attention your photograph may need.

Photo Repair, Restoration, or Conservation - the Bottom Line

Non-digital conservation hinders any further destruction of your images. Photo restoration improves and adds to the original image without applying any physical techniques to it.

If your picture is already fragile enough and fading, digital photo repair and restoration may work as a better technique which would keep your photos and memories safe from harm. If your image is already too damaged to be repaired or edited, you may choose to search for the latter option.

Just be sure to have your images scanned, even before you send your picture for services so that you have a backup for caution.

The Best Photo Restoration in Houston is Heritage Photo Restoration and Genealogy

If you would like to know more about our services and how photo restoration can work as the best option for your images, contact us or call us at 281–940–5870 for further information.