SPRINGVILLE -- Is your family portrait missing that one brother or sister who lives far away?

A Springville photo lab can now add that person to your photo with more success than ever before.Snelson PhotoColor Lab and Imaging Center, 80 W. Center, has invested in a new state-of-the-art digital photo retouching system that expands and improves the lab's ability to manipulate photographs.

With its new Repri system, the Snelson lab can more successfully add people to or remove people from a photo, repair damaged photos, remove flaws and create new backgrounds. It is now one of only two photo labs in Utah and the only lab in Utah County offering the system to its customers.

"It's designed specifically for photographic retouching," said Mike Snelson, president of the Snelson lab. The Springville lab sent three employees to Minneapolis, Minn., to learn how to operate and maintain the new system.

The key to the Repri system is its ability to calibrate all the different pieces of equipment involved in the retouching process, including the scanner, computer monitor and output device, Snelson said.

Although the Snelson lab has used other software for several years to do photo retouching, it has never had the success that this new system provides, he said.

When manipulating photos on the computer, the final results can vary greatly from what is shown on the computer screen. However, with the Repri system, the finished product is extremely accurate to what is represented on the computer monitor, Snelson said. The lab can expose the finished product onto a negative or directly onto photographic paper.

Another benefit is the Repri system's ability to multitask -- that is, it can perform several tasks at once, such as outputting one item while another is being worked on. This allows the lab to get work done faster for customers. The Repri system also has improved high-end negative scanning capabilities as well as digital film recording.

So far, the lab has been using the system mostly for work such as swapping heads in photos, opening closed eyes and adding and removing people. It has also been doing a lot of photo restoration; in one instance, half of a man's face that had been torn off was reconstructed.

"We can give a face lift a lot cheaper than a doctor can," Snelson said.

Prices for the service can range greatly, depending on what the customer wants. Snelson estimated costs at about $20 for simple, basic retouching to more than $100 for complex manipulation of photos. So far, charges to customers using the service have averaged about $50 to $60, he said.

Demand from photographers was one reason the Snelson lab purchased the system. Some customers were taking their business elsewhere.

"It was more of a customer retention program than anything else," Snelson said, although he hopes the new system will attract new business as well. The Springville lab obtained the Repri system in late October.

For more information, call the Snelson lab at 489-3218.