RESTORING OLD PHOTOS – Coastal Framing and Design
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©Jen Hutchison Coastal Framing and Design 2024

Passing down family photos and stories to your children through the process of photo restoration, is like handing them a treasure trove of their own history. It fosters a strong sense of identity, connection, and belonging. It’s a beautiful way to share the quirks, adventures and love that define your family, creating a bridge between generations. Restoring old photos is an enjoyable and worthwhile thing to do.

I was recently browsing through our old photo albums and uncovered a trove of family memories that my parents captured with their Box Brownie cameras back in the 50″s.  My father’s craftsmanship in developing the film in his makeshift darkroom, under the stairs, adds a personal touch to each picture.  Box Brownie cameras were popular in the 50’s and 60’s to capture the family photos. Now, I’m on a journey, digitising and restoring old photos, bringing the past into the present. 

Whether it be just one favourite, or a series of photos that can be digitised, we can work with you at restoring your old photos for future generations to enjoy. When restoring old photos, you may like to display and preserve them in the following ways:

  • Print the image as an enlargement and frame in either a custom frame or a ready made frame 
  • Create a photo book of images (custom pricing) 
  • Let us create a photo collage to print and frame
  • Mix the old photo reproductions with new family members to create a photo gallery wall for your home.


Photos that are worth preserving through digital reproduction are:

  • Wedding photos
  • Christening photos
  • Family photos 
  • Baby photos
  • Old family homes
  • Holiday places 
  • Parents or grandparents honeymoon
  • Beach holidays of days gone by
  • Old family cars and motorbikes
  • Hand Coloured photos of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.  

This is a collection of photos found in my Dad’s photo album dating back to the 1920’s. They feature Mum and Dad in their early married life. I’m making a digital collage of these photos to print and frame. I’ve added text to describe the place and time.

I love this photo: This photo from the above collection has been digitised through scanning. It’s my Mum and Dad on the beach at Rosebud, Victoria on their honeymoon in 1953. I’ve added a sepia colour (light brown) and edited out spots and a large crease. I’ve used light adjustments to make their faces clearer. I also defined the handbag and the picnic basket through contrast adjustments. The phot was enlarged from the small size to a standard 5″ x 7″. I’ve popped it into a small ready made oak frame.


Armed with modern technology, our specialist photo editors can scan the photo in a high resolution and upload it into a photo editing program, such as Photoshop.  The photo is now a digitised copy. 

From here the image can be cropped, have unwanted creases and lines taken out, have spots removed, or have the torn edges smoothed over. 

We can also change the tone or colour, add or minimise light, add filters such as sepia, black and white or colour tones. 

Other finer adjustments can be made with added sharpness, clarity and definition.

Of course, there are some photos that are beyond restoring, but it’s worth bringing them for an appraisal. 

This photo of me taken in the late 50’s is a hand- painted photo. Left: before – Right – after.

These types of photos are very precious as they are taken before colour film was invented.  The photographer would then hand paint and embellish the printed photo to mirror the real life subject. I have stored the original away from light, air and moisture and have digitally reproduced it with added photo editing.  I also enlarged the printed photo from the original 8” x 6” to a 10” x 8” – to showcase a slightly feature stand up photo in its frame.

In some cases, an old photo is in perfect condition and simply scanning it and enlarging it to frame in a large frame can bring the story alive in a family photo wall of interesting photos. 

In some cases, it may be preferable to custom framing the original photo as this can preserve it for many more years to come.  The important thing is to prevent air, moisture and light from deteriorating the photo so quality, conservation framing products are used: Cotton Rag Mat boards, museum or standard conservation glass are required. The original photos need to be stored away from light, moisture, insects and air to prevent damage, such as fading, mould and ‘nibbles’in the paper.



Rex has recently celebrated a milestone birthday and his family members emailed through a stunning collection of photos that they had digitised and emailed through to me. (This was simply done by taking a photo of the photo with a good smartphone). I used these photos to create a slide show for his birthday celebration. From here, I’m designing an e-book for the future generations to enjoy as these photos are rare, and in relatively good condition.


If you are lucky enough to have old photos of your family, we’d love to assist you with your photo project. These photos, when showcased around your home, create a space of history, belonging and start conversations that weave the fabric of family in your children.

Please bring your photos in for an appraisal to see what we can do with them. When custom framing your family memories, you can experience a great sense of achievement, belonging and satisfaction. Your children and Grandchildren can enjoy sharing the family history over and over again.


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Coastal Framing and Design