DO YOU NEED AN EXPENSIVE SCANNER?

graphic vintage item

Scanning a photo is something plenty of people are familiar with these days, and truth is for general photo restoration purposes most of the flatbed scanners you can find commercially can do an acceptable job. 

Indeed technology can make a difference when scanning a photo or a negative, but as long as you use best practices and some common sense, your home scanner can become a powerful tool to convert your photos to a digital format without spending thousands of dollars. 

We have indetified and listed a few tips that will help you getting the most out of this process and the best value out of your home scanner.

 

Flatbed scanner for photo restoration
Magnifier over fingerprint on scanner glass

1. CLEAN SCANNER SURFACES

This has plenty of common sense, but you will be surprised how often something this simple is overlooked, 

It is important to understand that when scanning a photo in high resolution, we will magnifying artifacts, fingerprints and particles laying on your scanner glass, therefore maintaining your scanner clean, can make a difference and contribute positively on the final quality of your digital capture.

Preparation is a critical step to achieve a good outcome, so it is always good practice to clean these areas with the manufacturer ‘s recommended tools, chemicals and methods before digitally-capturing any image. (alcohol-based products are not recommended)

The objective of this is to minimise the amount foreign elements to facilitate the photo editing, remember that best results come from a good preparation. 

 

2. HIGH-RESOLUTION IS CRITICAL

The more information we obtain from the original photo the better for the restoration or photo enhancement process;  even if you do not see it directly there is plenty of information in a faded or decouloured photo that can help you, so set up your scanner for the highest-resolution possible regardless if the file size appears to be too large.  

It is important to understand the purpose of the photo and the final destination where is going to be used,  based on this you can decide before engaging works the level of restoration required. 

Print and web drastically differ in resolution requirements, being web specially much more easy to handle, at Yesterdays we can provide you with guidance and professional scanning services with a resolution up to 12800 dpi, large format and negative film scanning.

  • Scan photos at 16-Bit Ideally
  • Set scan resolution to a minimum of 600 dpi (ideally higher)
  • Scan your photo as TIFF (uncompressed)
Flatbed scanner for photo restoration
Scan your photos in colour even If they are in grayscale, a can full of coloured pencils suggests this

3. ALWAYS SCAN IN COLOUR

Even when digitalising a photo that its originally in black and white, set your scanner to capture the image in colour, this is particulary useful when editing photos that have been stained or have some colour casting due to the pass of time, UV rays or deterioration of the paper or stock they where printed on.

Photoshop is extremely powerful and can give you control of the different colour channels within a photo, this means that even the slightest colour variations or casts can be manipulated and rectified, by obtaining colour information from the source you will have much more control and fidelity, and can save you or our specialists a ton of time. 

 

4. STRAIGHT UP YOUR PHOTOS

The closer you scan your image to a 90-degree angle the better, this will help technically and will ease the restoration workflow for you or our restoration specialists, 

Although straightening images is an easy process in photoshop, there are further benefits by scanning your photos in a 90-degree angle and it is the control of the reflection of light within the texture of the paper or stock the photo has been developed on.  

 

 

Scan your old photos as straight as possible
Old photo scanning services, flatbed scanning in high resolution

5. PRO-TIP!

A professional tip is to scan your photo 4 times, by rotating the photography to 90, 180, 270, and 360 degreee and scanning it using the same scanner setup, you will achieve an extra set of detail, this is particulary helpful to remove or minimise the textures inherited from the original paper or stock as it reduces considerably the glare caused by the reflection of the scanner light when bouncing on the paper texture.

Once scanned you can use photoshop to align the layers and get the most of the photo using different blending modes to add up or subtract pixels and color information.

Note: be aware that when dealing with some type of textures a different technique of post-processing named FFT (Fast-fourier transform) can help you achieving amazing results in record time.

 

Recommended Posts