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.
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.
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.