Read this, and you'll learn...
Ready? Grab a hot beverage (or a cold beer), and let's go!
Oh, you're not a graphic designer? You don't have $1200 to buy Photoshop?
But remember, these photos are your only copy. If you are going to take the time to archive them digitally you may as well do it right the first time. And if you learn how to fix ONE photo, then the rest will be easy.
And I'll be right beside you, showing you how. Even if you have never opened GIMP, I try to make my tips as easy to use as possible.
Anyway, enough talking. Let's get to work...
Before you scan your first photo, you'll need to setup your scanner correctly. This is the easy part. Load your photos (see your manual on how to do this), and hit the "Preview" button.
Now, all I want you to do is to get a "natural photo scan".
What's a natural photo scan? And why get one?
A natural scan is where you DO NOT use any of your scanner's features. So no Dust Removal, no Color Fix, no Digital ICE.
You want your scanner to scan as much DETAIL as possible. Yes, this means everything like dust, scratches, faded colours, minute debris. All of it.
Detail is VERY important. When you put your photo scan on your HDTV, you want to see the colour of your grandmothers eyes.
And when you use features like Dust Removal and Color fix, it will REMOVE detail. It will mess up the colour of your grandmothers eyes, and make them look less sharp. Digital ICE doesn't know the difference between a dust speck and the whites of a person's eye.
Here's a quick snap-shot of how I setup my scanner's software:
So, leave those enhance buttons alone. Just setup your scanner's resolution and get as a natural photo scan as you can.
You may have heard of Digital Ice. Well, Digital Ice actually does not work on photo scans. Your scanner may have something else to remove dust and scratches, but NOT use it. It will take away detail.
Here is a photo scan with dust removal used, and one where no dust removal was used...
You lose detail when you rely on you scanner to remove dust and scratches.
The best way to remove dust and scratches is to do it manually. This way you only take away the what you want and not detail. Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to remove dust and scratches from your photo scans...
You know, even if you have a brand new photo, when you scan it, it's also going to scan "colour cast". Look at your photo. You'll notice it has a shine or gloss to it.
When you scan your photo, your scanner is also going to scan that gloss. This is colour cast: the glossy, shiny, hazy look that makes your photo scan look faded.
So even if you have a photo that's only 2 years old, it'll look faded. Here is what I mean...
Colour cast will make your photo scans look faded (left image).
So how do you get the colours back to their original luster? Check out...
The exposure is how dark or light your digital photo is. Another problem with scanning is sometimes it will make your photo scan too dark or too light. Have look...
Here is an under exposed photo scan (left) and the same scan fixed (right).
Here is an under exposed photo scan (left) with the same scan fixed (right).
Make sure you do this step AFTER you fix the colour. If you fix exposure first, and then try to fix the colour, your exposure might go all out of whack.
And you can skip this step. If you feel your exposure is not too dark too bright then skip it. After a few edits you will get a hang of it and you will be able to use your own discretion. Here is how to fix exposure...
Which of these scanning troubles do you want to overcome?
Hey, my name is Konrad. I've been scanning professionally since 2005. I've helped multi-billion dollar companies, pro sports teams, pro photographers, artists, museums, book publishers, etc. I've scanned over 930,000 slides, negatives, photos.
The reason I'm telling you this is because no matter what challenge or frustration you're having, I know exactly what you're going through. So, to help you RIGHT NOW, I've put together a super simple scanning guide to get you started.