Questions and contact
Question 1: Do you treat all photos, negatives and
Answer: Yes, I do but there are a few reservations. The content of the photo has to be legal (you and I know what I mean by that) and you state by sending me a picture for restoration that you own the copyright to the photo but if I can see that is clearly not the case I'll get back to you and will refuse to restore the picture, just good friends. By the way for all the pictures that have been made by photographers and that are ordered by the client (either you or a long gone relative) the copyright lies firmly by the client (at least under Dutch copyright law), so no worries there. Postcards are quit a different matter. Ancient copyrights might still exist (70 years after the death of the photographer), but most of these are stamped in the back or on the picture itself, and are easily recognizable. But I will not restore these unless of course you are the photographer in question or related to him or her.
Question 2: What happens when
I loose a picture I'm supposed to restore?
Answer: I would be devastated, but that will not happen to me that quickly. In the US I could defer these issues to the client but living in the old world that does not stick so in fact I'm insured but insurance can never compensate emotional losses and paying damages is not what I want to do so I keep track of all pictures during the whole scanning and restoration proves. The KPN (the Dutch postal service) works rather perfect but of course I can't be held accountable for the quality of there services. So if you value your pictures send them via insured mail but don't expect wonders since most photos have only emotional value which is hard to compensate. If they have physical value as well, you should not restore them digital anyway.
Question 3: How do I send my photos to you?
Answer: Very well wrapped. But pleas in such a way that I can open the packaging without damaging it. That saves me a lot of (unpaid) work and it saves you the cost of new packaging material. I have head success using a bubble envelope and then stuffing the photos between to hard cardboards into a totally unfoldable entity. I have worked at KPN postal services (as an IT engineer) and I can assure you, postage handling is no delicate matter although they are not in the business of destroying mail as the former USSR mail service did back in the 80th, when they managed to fold even a very well packaged photo my dad send to a exhibition in Moscow. BTW of course you can write art, handle with care and breakable goods on your package but rest assured that is no guarantee. The Dutch postal service knows its own nature and provides special package boxes. If I'm not convinced about your work I will use on of these. If pictures are under A5 it will work. An alternative is using cardboard shipping rolls. That means rolling up a print. Even more delicate matter like negatives, please package them well (they are small so making a sturdy bubble wrap envelope for them should be easy.
Question 4: Can I deliver the pictures in person or do come to collect
Answer: Sure you can, if you have the inclination to travel to Holland I will of
course greet you to a cup of coffee. If you are a large enough institutional
customer I would be willing to make the trip to anywhere on the globe. It is
just a matter of making a business case. So to fetch a single picture for
restoration, no I won't fly to the States. But if mr. Gates calls and makes it
worthwhile for me, I'll be on the first plane to Redmond :-).
Question 5: Can I scan the pictures myself and send them to you via mail or CD?
Answer: Sure you can, if you have the inclination to travel to Holland I will of course greet you to a cup of coffee. If you are a large enough institutional customer I would be willing to make the trip to anywhere on the globe. It is just a matter of making a business case. So to fetch a single picture for restoration, no I won't fly to the States. But if Mr. Gates calls and makes it worthwhile for me, I'll be on the first plane to Redmond :-).
Question 6: How fast do you return you finished work?
Answer: I will try to work on an ASAP basis since work lying on the shelf is nice to have but it does not pay the bills. I schedule my work based on the time it will take me, and the order that work arrives at my doorstep (First In First Out). I will send you a mail in which I state when your work is scheduled and when you can expect a mail with my work for your approval (or disapproval). If you have personal or work related deadlines I would like to know about it. I usually leave room in my schedule for emergency restorations (funeral cards for instance) and I can use that time if no emergencies pop up.
Question 7: I have found your contact form and would like to call you, why don't I get your phonenumber directly from this site?
Answer: Restoring pictures is a matter of concentration and I work alone. If I would have to answer the phone 4 times and hour thing turn unmanageable for me. E-mail I can answer when I'm ready for it and I can also call you back if the need arises. I will have to foot the phone bill that way. But in principle I like to manage my affairs via mail. Written communication reduces the possibilities for misunderstanding and it leaves a permanent record at your place and mine.
Question 8: What do I receive from you?
Answer: I deliver a .jpg (compressed) and a .tif (uncompressed). Both files are 8 bit (24 for three colors) files. I scan 16 (48) bit and perform all color and contrast manipulations in the 16 bit domain but in the end I only deliver 8 bit files meant for viewing on a monitor (the .jpg) or for print (the .tif). I don't know of any monitor that can display more then 16.7 million colors (256 x 256 x 256) and I know no printer that can handle 16 bit files without reducing them to 8 bit first. 16 bit sounds nice but is only needed to make color and contrast changes and after these have been optimized all the work can be performed on 8 bit files just as well. If I have the final word I would like to convince you to let me handle the printing as well because I can then control the quality of the final print as well. A few tests wit different commercial consumer and professional photo-labs have made me aware of the large differences between the good, the bad and the downright ugly in this business. If I work with photo labs like Grieger I trust them to work at higher standards then I can manage.
Question 9: What color profile do your files have?
Answer: My .jpg's are mostly for onscreen use and will be fitted with an sRGB color profile which is okay for most monitors. The .tif files will be primarily for printing and are therefor fitted with a Adobe98 RGB profile. In fact this also is true for black and whites which are delivered as color files in which all pixels have an equal amount of red, green and blue.
Question 10: Talking about color profiles do you work with calibrated equipment?
Answer: My flatbed scanner has been profiled for both slides and negatives and for pictures. Silverfast adapts itself to different films and emulsions. My printer works with paper specific color profiles for Ilford and Hahnemühle papers and these are also used for soft proofing. The 35mm scanner has been factory calibrated.
Question 11: I can see a difference between the printed files and the pictures
presented on my monitor?
Answer: That is very well possible since most screens (especially the LED screens used in today’s laptops) are totally unsuited for watching photos (not my fault) due to the very limited vertical viewing angle of those screens. If you calibrate a screen like that with a ColorMonkey or similar equipment (if that turns out to be possible) you only have to slightly change your viewing angle and the photo turn out a lot brighter if you look from above or a lot darker if you look from below. Personally I use an old non glare monitor (looking directly at the surface of the LCD) which I have calibrated so that when I use soft proofing the colors of the photo on screen match those that my printer will produce. The minimal differences that always remain are due to the back light versus indirect lighting of a picture on screen versus in print. That cannot be helped.
Question 12: Which equipment do you use?
Answer: Scanning photos, and medium or large format negatives including glass negatives is done using an Epson V750 pro ® scanner. A behemoth of a machine. It is run using SilverFast ® as scan software which improves the quality of the scanner because SilverFast ® has extensive possibilties regarding color and contrast correction and dust reduction. Where most photo restorer start their process when they have the picture loaded in Photoshop ® I start my restoration process in SilverFast ®. Which means I spend more time in the scanning phase of the process in order to extract all information from the photo or the negative/slide. Scanning 35mm film is done using a Nikon Coolscan scanner. My printer is an Epson A3+ UltraChrome K3 printer. To me it is the only printer that can print true black and white. It uses not 4 but 8 different colors (black, light black, light light black, light cyan, light magenta, yellow, cyan and magenta). For non-gloss papers it uses a special Matt-black.
Question 13: Which software do you use?
Answer: The software I need to solve your specific photographic problem. I'm quite willing to invest especially for your picture if I think or know it will expand my potential. But if I can solve my problems using Open Source software I will do that. You don't buy software, you buy an end result. So my software can change according to your specific problem.
Question 14: Who build your website?
AntwooAnswer: I have done that myself using mostly Microsoft Visual Web Developer and
Notepad. CGI scripts are from my provider.
Question 16: Can I use anonynous FTP?
Answer: Not yet, but I'm, working on a personal Linux FTP host. Also my provider may be of some assistance. For now burning a CD and using traditional mail is your best option. Do test whether the CD is readable before you send it to me (but that figures doesn't it). Sending may take a few days but hey, your work has to be scheduled in anyway..
Question 16: Do you do emergencies?
Answer: If you can send me a picture or file as fast as possible I can take some time out of my schedule (it always leaves a little room for emergencies anyway). You have to convince me of the urgency of course. Examples of emergencies are funeral cards, the jobs that have true and tight deadlines. It does not cost extra, but no cure no pay is not on offer when doing emergencies (of course not since you have no option not to accepts I may have to cut corners to get a job done).
Question 17: Are you legitemate?
Answer: Yes, I'm operating under Dutch law and have an (obligatory) chamber of
commerce membership and a VAT-number.