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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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.