Welcome to Old Photo Specialists (since 1971)!
Our Goal – To integrate genealogy and interior design with archival quality visual images on display that do not fade and are water resistant. All work completed by us in done in our studio! We do not outsource anything from start to finish, ensuring to all of our customers the highest quality product possible.
Old Photo Specialist was founded in Greensboro, N.C. 1971 by William Heroy, a biomedical engineering graduate of Duke University. We have been in our current location at 320 S. Elm St since 1977 operating first as a photo restoration studio, second as a commercial and portrait studio, and last as a vendor and restorer of antique frames. We are well known locally and in the surrounding area for quality, archival products, with a strong emphasis on historical accuracy and pigment printing (referred to as giclee’). OPS spends a great deal of time repairing the smallest of details. Though the vast majority of our work is concerned with old photos (made between 1840 and 1950), we often work with modern photos as well. Our specialty and favorites are the medium to large size convex oval and flat prints (that often look like pastel drawings), panoramic photos, and photos predating 1950; however, we are experienced in restoring faded color prints and cracked or damaged photos (documents, artwork) as well. Also, you will find that we maintain a stock of original oval frames and are able to repair older oval and ornate flat frames-and we often recreate small photos into large ones to fit into these frames.
All delivered reproductions include a lifetime warranty against fading and water damage (we lacquer finish all reprints for extra longevity). It must be stated here that our favorite items to work on are the large antique oval photographs (they come in many sizes and shapes) and the panoramic photos form WW1, WW2, the Spanish American War, and various family reunions and special events. Do not attempt to open a panoramic that has been rolled up as years of being in tubes have made the emulsions brittle. Unrolling the photo may result in permanent damage to the original. Also, improper removal of a large convex prints from the frame can also result in damage to the print as well as the glass, which is very expensive to replace.
Our staff includes:
William Heroy – Photo restoration, studio photography
Anna Heroy – Office manager, accounting, newsletter
Mary Joyce Masters – Customer service, photo assistant
Sarah Tatum – Photo restoration, location photography-events (bus/personal)
Marvin Israel/Ken Causey/Ransome Coleman – Computers and internet services
Commercial, Advertising photography
Anyone who has ever worked with us knows the quality of our work. Our hourly rate is the same for photography as it is for Photoshop services. What matters most to the end user is both the speed and quality of each service and the final files ready for internet display or printing. We have many samples and references at our studio.
Hourly rate only (minimum 1 hour) …………………….. $150/hr
(Location photography- extra/ price depends on the assignment)
We specialize in 1-2 person studio photography; head shots for display and publication, and certain special assignments. Factors that affect a successful portrait session include health, choice of apparel, time of day of session, attitude and concentration, as well as a preconception of what the portrait should look like. The last item reflects input from the subject; for example, should the subject face left to right (vice-versa) as might be dictated by a format for printing; profile vs straight on; smile vs. serious for an expression; and so on- always ask questions prior to date of photo shoot.
Advanced (old photos only)
If you are considering our services, please note the following:
- OPS needs access to the earliest printing of the photographs to be worked on for us to do our best work. Making a proper scan (or the use of cameras for larger items) is essential since originals contain chemical information that is usually lost once a scan is made that “skips” over that detail. Most shops then make “color copies” that can easily result in the long term destruction of the image once they are exposed to prolonged sunlight. We do not need to keep the original once the correct scan has been made. Serious genealogists need to store all photographic originals in a safe, dry place.
- OPS does not have separate pricing for component restoration stages- one for the scanning process, one computer restoration (known as Photoshop and may be subject to time spent (watch this one)), and finally one for the printing. We combine all three processes are into one price (additional charges for more serious restorations are quoted in advance and do not exceed the quoted amount). All work is done in our shop- never out sourced. We only make giclee’ prints which are lacquer finished after being allowed to dry over night.
- In the case of restoring color prints, it is important to understand that UV light which is a natural component of sunlight is responsible for breaking down the chemical compounds that give reflected light, or the color you see, resulting in “fading” or loss of color. The software in many of today’s programs is able to recover much of this loss, the rest is done by us. Prints that are severely damaged or have been copied already generally do not recover well.
- The older the photo is, the better it is made. Technology, in this industry, for the last 60+ years, industry has focused on more profit for manufactures, not better material quality for consumers. The introduction of giclee’ (or pigment printing) in the mid 2000s has been revolutionary for serious genealogists. There is finally a product that allows both maximum image quality and archival resistance to both water and sunlight. Combined with lacquer finishing, prints can be displayed without glass without fear of environmental destruction or glare.
- We cannot emphasize enough the quality of giclee’ printing- I have seen so many photos copied to low quality color paper that are no longer recoverable- always know where your originals are. Our new portrait work is printed only on giclee’ papers which I feel stand the strongest chance to last for many decades to enjoy.
- There is so much more we can say about the restoration and re-printing process, but suffice to say that without an understanding on how things are made (which is the state most of us are in), how do you know what will last? We have worked with old photos since the late 1960’s and have worked with a great number of photos over many years and can finally say that under the right circumstances, the preservation and enhancement of all photos has never been better.
Video by Tony Wu, intern April-May 2017
OPS has done business with photo both nationwide and internationally. Modern transportation services have made us more secure in these transactions. Here are a few of the letters people have sent us:
Bill and Anna,
Thank you for preserving the visual portion of the family tree. Truly love the photos, they’re great! I’ve got another scheduled to do in the near future. Thanks again for your patience and professionalism.
Sincerely, John Atkins
Just wanted to send you a quick email! I took the photos you did for me to my Grandmother’s last weekend and she started to cry. She was so happy to see them look that good. She was totally blown away. It was an amazing experience. I’ve been by to see her again this weekend and she’s been bragging all over the nursing home about them. Having people come see them and took a photo of them to show others as well. Thank you again for being so awesome at what you do! I’ll be back again soon!
I can’t thank you enough for the wonderful job you’ve done in copying and in some instances enhancing my family’s pictures from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Also, the creative work on my Christmas cards has made me something of a celebrity. People tell me they still display the cards from past years.
Sincerely, G.S. Crihfield
Thank you for all your help with our family’s photos. They look terrific! You’re a magician – the Aiken County Historical Museum and the veterans of Company C are really going to enjoy the photos you made –
Gratefully, Mrs. Mary R. Welch
Because of the increased internet presence, our workload from out-of-state has increased dramatically. When shipping old photos to our studio, please pack extremely carefully and insure your package. Do not hesitate to call us for packing recommendations. We have not had any trouble with shipping to date.