Hamilton Color Lab

The Professional's Choice for digitial imaging


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Enlarging Old Photographs

Many times customers come into the photo lab with a very small, old photograph and would like us to scan and print a large portrait. Sometimes this is possible, it very much depends on the quality of the original photo.

Portrait photographs from the early 1900’s were taken with very high quality cameras and the result was extremely high quality photography. Photographers took a great deal of time and care to assure their photographs were in focus, sharp and clear with proper lighting. Nothing like today where most people just point a phone at someone and say “Smile”

Below was a project which originated from a 1 1/2″ photo proof from 1918 and resulted in a large 20×24″ enlargement.

Early 1900's Vintage portrait

Scanner quality is key in reproducing large prints from small photographs, we use only professional scanners with high dmax values to capture all the information and detail, without noise or distortion. Detail in the original photo needs to exist first.

Detail in vintage photo scan

As you can see the detail in the eye above is phenomenal, detail right down to the eyelashes which couldn’t be seen in the original small contact proof print. The original is about  the size of my thumb and in very good condition. Some photo editing and Photoshop work was needed on the face to erase minor smudges, but for the most part it was a very clean photo.

For scanning and restoration of your old vintage photos or create better than original prints, from negatives, or slides bring them to Hamilton Color Lab at 120th & I Street in Omaha, NE.


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Negatives and Slides? Do They Still Exist?

Do people still print photos from negatives and slides? I know it sounds out of date, vintage and not worth the trouble. Although very few people still use film cameras there are still negatives and slides in boxes ready to be discovered. Every week we have customers bring us vintage negatives, either from their 35 mm film, or negatives from the 1940’s and have us reprint their families memories.

Hamilton Color Lab can make wonderful prints from negatives and the color from slide prints are authentic and amazing in their clarity and color. We still print on silver halide Fuji Lustre paper, which is a true photography process, for the best results, and our technician is a perfectionist when it comes to getting the best results from your prints.

Slides_WHT_0811

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Your family memories stay in house, we do not ship them out to an off site lab across the country. So you can be assured your family treasures will be safe and handled with care.

To our knowledge,  we are the only photo “wet” processing lab in Omaha that still prints photographs on traditional silver halide paper. This is the same type of paper and RA4 silver based photo processing used for over a hundred years to print your grandparents photos. Many other area photo printers have gone to a dry ink process. Based on what we have seen, and the customers coming in the door, many are not happy.

There is a reason why professional photographers get their clients photographs printed using the traditional wet chemistry. Prints are sharper, last longer, more durable, and are water resistant.

We can print the following negative sizes and prints, from most medium format cameras, including the 110/220 camera with photographic results that will last for many more generations.

  • 6×4.5cm  (or 645 film)
  • 6×6 cm (2.25 x 2.25 inches)
  • 6×9 cm  (2.25 ” x 3.25inches)
  • 6×7  cm (typically called 2×3″ film)
  • 135F (24 x 36 mm)
  • Standard 35mm

Think of it this way. You have found a valuable treasure in vintage negatives, you want to save these prints for your children and their children to preserve family history. Wouldn’t you want to print them on the best paper to preserve them as best as possible?

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Photo Archiving, A Better Solution

In almost every closet or basement there is a box of old vintage photographs from years ago taken with film that document family history, birthdays, wedding  and genealogy through photographs. Many photos are stored in albums, some in shoe boxes, many are yellowing with age and the images are slowly disappearing.

The challenge is how to preserve and archive these photographs for future generations. Your photos don’t have to disappear and fade away. Stop the deterioration now before it’s too late.

At Hamilton Color Lab we are experts and pros at digitizing photographs. We take the process a few steps further than a home flat bed scanner or a “one-hour” photo lab where quality can be less than desired.

Hamilton Color Lab scans photos at a high resolution of 400 dpi to archive your photos and preserve them for generations

Although technology has improved over the year home scanners still have their limitations, especially when reading  density and shading gradients in the  blacks and whites. This becomes important in photos where detail is important. For example detail on a wedding dress, or black pants disappear with over-the-counter consumer scanners.

Self service consumer scanners found in department stores and chain pharmacies are even worse. We have seen the results of many disappointed customer who bring in digital files with  poor color, scanner noise, low resolution and the ability to only print small sizes.

However with our state of the art scanning process, detail is preserved. Our scanners are calibrated for color, contrast and just the right amount of sharpness to fool your aunt that the copy isn’t the original. You’ve heard the saying “Is it live, or is it Memorex?” Well, a Hamilton photo scan is so close to the original you might have a hard time telling the two apart.

So bring in your 4×6, 3.5×5, photos, and even your larger prints up to 8×10 in size. All we ask is they are sorted by size and facing in the same direction.

Mention this article for a 10% discount on our already low prices.

For a limited time we are offering an archive scan and print for only $1.00 (Qty 250+)

What you will receive

  • Professionally scanning process
  • High resolution digital  400 dpi JPG images (CD or provided USB drive)
  • Printable to 11×14
  • Images ideal for cropping and enlarging
  • Fine detail, noiseless images
  • Archival 4×6 photo processed prints
  • Silver halide archival photo paper
  • Archival acid-free sleeves to protect images for generations

We recommend to back up your photo files onto your computer or other storage device and place the original discs in a secure safe place away from heat and humidity. With the backed up digitized photos you can them either create slide shows, photo books, or any myriad of photo editing and digital scrap booking projects.

A Few FAQs about Hamilton Color Lab

  1. All photos are scanned in house by qualified technicians who care about your memories (we do NOT ship to a fulfillment center)
  2. Located in Omaha Nebraska at 120th & I Street (4305 South 120th St to be exact)
  3. Have been in business for over 40 years and the same location since 1990
  4. Same owner, family business run by Dave Hamilton
  5. All photos are printed in house on a range of calibrated printers
  6. One of the few photo printers that still print on silver halide paper with true photography chemistry
  7. We answer our own phones, care about our customers, and love bacon (did I say that?) Yes, we can be bribed with bacon or chocolate.
  8.  We accept not only local orders but you can upload digital prints to our website, or send us your (very carefully packaged) photos for scanning.

If you have any questions about our services please feel free to call us at 402-330-1600


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Restoring a Family Legacy

One of the most rewarding aspects we enjoy at Hamilton Color Lab is restoring family photographs that have a family legacy. Although photos come in on a regular basis with precious memories attached, some are more special than others.

World War I reproduction of USS Virginia

Earlier this month Deborah brought in old photos of her father and the picture of the battleship he served on, the USS Virginia from during 1918. The photo was in the original frame, stuck to the broken glass, and badly faded and discolored. She wanted to see if we could some how preserve the image before it faded away to just a memory.

This was only part of the story. Along with the photo of the carrier was two portraits of her father who served on ship and a small Bible he carried with him during World War I and World War II. Both Fred and the Bible survived Berlin and action in France.

Upon discharge, Fred Chandler Turner he gave the Bible to his son who carried it in World War II  His grandson later carried it with him during service El Salvador.

Deborah wanted to know if  we could also scan the portraits and the pages of the Bible and put together a collage so it could all be framed in a shadow box? By this time I had goosebumps at the story and so did Dave Hamilton, the owner. Considering the condition of the print, with the glass will attached,  returning the photo back to its original condition would not be easy. But we wanted to try.

The challenging part was to create a digital capture of the USS Virginia and compensate for the glare of the glass on one side and the photo on the other and keep the same tone across the whole image. With our controlled studio lighting, some Photoshop magic, and some killer graphic design skill we were able to accomplish the hardest part.

Family HIstorical Bible from WWI

The portraits and pages from the Bible we scanned on our Eversmart Scitex Pro Scanner, that was the easy part. We were able to pick up the subtle detail in portraits and the texture in the cover of the Bible. The result was a reproduction so close to the original it brought tears to her eyes.

That is when we go home at night feeling a great amount of job satisfaction, knowing we have had an impact on the lives of others and preserved a piece of history for future generations. Thank you Debbie for trusting us with such a treasure, it has been an honor.

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To bring your old photos back to life, or create better than original scanned prints from your vintage prints, negatives, or slides bring them to our location at 120th & I Street in Omaha, NE.