Let Four Corners Gallery restore your beloved family photos and historic documents in time for the holidays

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Restored documents and historic photos are perfect holiday gifts. Photo by Lauren Bedford for Bham Now

Families cling tightly to traditions and old stories, especially around the holidays. What if you could restore your family’s stories and old photos to their original glory? That would make for a holiday to remember as you reminisce on the good times of the past. Four Corners Gallery is here to help.

What is Photo and Document Restoration?

Four Corners excels in digital photo restoration and vintage hand-tinting. Photo via Four Corners Gallery

There are many different restoration styles and processes depending on customer preference, what type of paper the restoration team will be dealing with, and so on. However, the most common types of restoration that pass through Four Corners are photos (both old and new) and historic documents.

There are two different types of restoration: physical and digital. With physical restorations, the team restores the original document or photo. This means they clean up the paper, remove unsightly images and all other restoration processes that need to be done. With digital restorations, the original is scanned into the computer and repaired digitally. In this case, the original photo or document stays in its original state.

With all photos and documents, the team will first consult with the client to find out what they are hoping to accomplish with a restoration. For example, some clients want to keep the “vintage-y” look of the print, and to simply bring it back to life. Some would like to make the vintage print look brand new, as if it were just printed. Some clients want their pieces framed, and some don’t. And so on. As the team at Four Corners told me, the consultation is the most important aspect of the process with special photos and documents.

Old Photos

With old photos, the professional team at Four Corners will assess the piece and determine what kind of paper the original photo was printed on and what kind of conditions it has been housed in. While many are used to older photos having a yellowish tint, they don’t realize that the paper is actually damaged because of its environment. Sunlight, direct and indirect, mishandling, storing in cardboard and cigarette smoke are only some of the environmental factors that can contribute to the degradation of a photograph.

Family Heirlooms

The story of the woman in the bright red suit is a love story for the ages, and a family’s true story! Photo via Four Corners Gallery

One woman found the black-and-white photo (above left) of her parents shortly after finding a sweet story her father had dedicated to her mother for Valentine’s Day. The story was published in the local church bulletin and was called “A Story for Valentine’s Day.” The story opens like so:

It was Sunday morning, February 10, 2002. I was ready to go to church when my wife walked into the room wearing a bright red suit…

The story goes on to describe their love story. The daughter loved the story so much that she took the photo to Four Corners and asked Leah Karol, the Photo Restoration Specialist, to color the photograph to evoke the feeling of the red suit. Karol took such care in this process that she let the woman color-match the red to the color that most resembled the suit. She also did extensive research to ensure the military jacket colors were correct so that the photo would be as historically accurate as possible.

Newer Photos 

Leah made my amateur photos transform! 

One of Cissell’s photos from Scotland, before and after Karol’s expert restoration. Photo by Melissa Cissell

Everyone is a photographer nowadays, thanks to those smart phones in our pockets. However, some photos just don’t turn out the way you want them too. For inexperienced photographers who don’t understand camera mechanics, a photo can turn out much too dark or have any other number of issues. The good news? That doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed. Karol at Four Corners is a masterful Photo Restoration Specialist. She worked on a series of photos for a client, Melissa Cissell, who had taken her digital camera with her on a trip to Scotland. When she took a look at the photos, they just didn’t capture what Cissel had seen on her trip. 

The forests in Scotland are just magical and it’s hard to capture that beauty with a camera phone or a point-and-shoot camera. Leah made them look like a work of art. 



The document restoration team at Four Corners and the professionals that they work with are amazing. When it comes to documents, it is extremely important to be precise and accurate. Oftentimes, the documents have been in adverse environments such as a fire, or they were not printed on acid-free paper, which causes them to degrade quickly. In other cases, the paper is ripped or the ink is wearing off. Four Corners deals with all types of document restoration, so they are your go-to when you find yourself in need.

This document from a Holy Communion service was not stored properly and was showing age. Photo by Four Corners Gallery

Original Paper Restoration

In this example, the document was victim to improper handling, storage and age. The team was able to restore the original paper and mat it onto another piece of paper to keep the document stable. This way, the document’s authenticity is preserved, but it is in much better shape.

Art Restoration (Original Paper)

This piece of pen-and-ink art from 1788 was unfortunately in a house fire. However, the restoration team was able to clean, deacidify and press the paper and bring it back to life! The difference is amazing — the restoration returns the art to its original brilliance.

No Need To Shop

Remember, there is no need to go out and buy something new for the perfect holiday gift. Simply opening up your keepsake box or your old family album may present you with the perfect gift — it may just need a little TLC. Let Four Corners help you restore it to its former glory!

Find out how Four Corners can help you with all your holiday gift needs!

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Lauren Bedford
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