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How We Choose Our Images

How We Choose Our Images

We do our best to curate a varied collection of images, hoping to reach as wide of an audience as possible. Everyone has unique interests and preferences, and we do what we can to make sure anyone can find something they love in our collection. We know how important it is to decorate your home with things you love, and we aim to provide plenty of options for anyone needing to decorate their home or office. 

Subject Matter 

The first thing we consider when selecting images is subject matter. We’ve put together a variety of collections, sorting our images into easy to browse categories to help you find what you need. Some of our special interest collections include automobiles, ships, and destinations. These collections are our starting point when looking for new images.

A couple with a dog in front of their Ford vehicle at the Lincoln Memorial

Broad Appeal 

Ultimately, our goal is to find images that can appeal to as many people as possible. When searching for images of different cities, we are looking for images of locations or landmarks that are recognizable and well known. 

There are endless photos from any city of individual homes, which, while they may be beautiful homes and images, do not appeal to a general audience. In general, only those with a connection to that specific home would be interested in a vintage image of it, so we generally pass on these types of image, looking instead for images of well known and well loved locales. 

Hobbies 

Hobbies and interests are a frequent starting point in our search for vintage images. Images related to different sports and activities are readily available, allowing us to continue to expand our collections to include additional interests and hobbies. 

Brooklyn Bridge Promenade

Popular Locations

Another of our most common search topics is popular locations. These include major cities, as well as popular destinations such as National Parks. These locations hold importance for countless people, whether it’s somewhere they grew up, or found a connection to while on a vacation. 

Quality of Composition

When searching for new images to add to our collection, we’re not only looking at subject matter, but also the composition of the photographs. As is true of modern photography as well, not all vintage photographs are created equal. We’re looking for photographs with a nice composition and framing, and will pass on a photograph if the subject matter isn’t highlighted well. 

File Size & Quality 

In order to create the highest quality prints possible, it’s important to take file size and quality into consideration. We can only work within what is available to us, and when searching through archives it is common to find images that have been scanned at a range of resolutions and file sizes. We need to prioritize file quality in our image selection process, so even if an image is beautiful, if the file is very small and of poor quality, we won’t be able to use it. 

Resolution Requirements

When making prints, ideal image resolution is between 200-300 DPI at print size. When looking for images to add to our collection we are looking for images that are a high enough resolution to maintain quality at a range of different sizes. Some images are scanned in at a lower resolution, which would limit our printing ability of that image. 

Ferris Wheel at Vermont State Fair

Print Size Options

All of our images are available in a range of sizes, and this range is ultimately dictated by the file size and resolution of the image. When browsing our collection, you’ll notice that some images are available at large as 40”x50”, while some images are only available up to around 20”x30”. This is due to the varying file sizes of the images available to us. While we want to offer as wide of a range of sizes as possible, we don’t compromise quality to do so, and so some of our images simply cannot be printed at larger sizes.

Image Quality

The overall image quality is another important factor in choosing images. An image may be lovely, but if it is simply out of focus, there is nothing we can do to fix this, and we don’t want to offer subpar prints of an out of focus image. 

Required Restoration

The amount of restoration required for an image, and whether or not that restoration is even possible, is often the deciding factor on whether or not we select an image. Some images, despite being many decades old, have managed to avoid any major damage/dust buildup, while others have not fared as well. Often this comes down to how the original negatives/plates were stored and handled during their lifetime. 

Images we Fix vs. Images we Skip

When considering an image, we have to decide if the restoration requirements are reasonable, or if the image should be passed on. Most damage and dirt is easily fixable by our skilled staff, so it’s not common for us to pass on an image due to damage, but sometimes it can’t be avoided. 

Unfixable Damage 

Generally, the only time we would pass on a photograph because of the level of damage would be if the damage is simply not fixable. This could be a huge area of the photograph either missing or obscured in some way, or damage being centralized on key parts of an image, such as people’s faces, where there is no real way to accurately restore that damage. If you are interested in the specifics of digital restoration, you can check out our article on the subject here.

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