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Digitise your negatives & transparencies


High quality photo negative scanning service

Negative film strip

Have you ever stumbled upon old negatives hidden away in a shoebox, longing to unlock the stories they hold? With our expertise, those cherished memories can be transformed into timeless digital treasures. Step into the world of nostalgia and relive memories with our cutting-edge film and transparencies digitisation services


The biggest benefit of photo negative or negative film scanning is that there is not paper texture to edit, when scanning an old photo it is likely that you encounter different textures such as honeycomb or rugged surfaces.

During several periods in history textured papers were quite popular, however today restorers can suffer the consequences of this past trend specially with the “satin photo paper”.

When a textured photo is scanned, a series of repetitive light and shadow patterns are inherited, these can be reduced by the scanner native algorithm or by simply blending four scans of the same photo with a 90 degree rotation and blending together, however paper texture removal from a photo is always a big challenge.

Therefore texture might require to be digitally removed, softened or replicated, a process that is usually challenging, time consuming, and possibly destructive to the image. 

Good news are: When scanning negatives and slides paper texture isn’t a problem anymore.

Advanced techniques, algorithms for image processing and photoshop plugins are available to supress periodic patterns, remove or minimise the paper texture of an old photo, by separating frequencies with methods such as FFT (fast fourier transform) however the deterioration of an old photo could complicate the process as it will confuse the algorithm in some instances. 

Visit our photography scanning tips page to know more about image digitising or check our transparencies scanner recommendation if you want to digitise these at home



Old photo paper texture pattern
Repetitive patterns from textured photographic paper can be avoided when scanning photo negatives


Photo Negatives are made out of a transparent material, such as plastic or glass, therefore scratches are quite often the issue to address followed by mould and temperature deformation.  

Photo negatives provide lot of flexibility when digitalising your photos, this means that it is preferable to work from negatives rather than the actual photo.

Bad news are, photo negatives are often more likely to suffer physical damage if not preserved in a good environment, meaning that sometimes the original photos could be a much better input source.

So it is worthy to have a good look around before commencing the restoration process and decide which source provides the best input for the photo restorer and for the project itself.

In some instances, scanning both prints and negatives together to build up photo-hybrids can help to achieving good results, as both might provide information the other source is missing.

Detail of a photo negative with scratches on its surface
Cleaning negative film might result in scratches, thus it's crucial to minimise friction between dust particles and the transparencies surface.

How to Scan Photo Negatives?

Scanning negatives the right way

1. Prepare your negatives for scanning: 

Before a digital photo restoration can be performed, the original photo negative needs to be scanned properly. This is a crucial step and critical to achieve good results, since it ultimately determines the quality of your restored photo.

Regardless, you will need to either send the negatives off for professional drum scanning, or have a film negative capable scanner. And remember at Yesterday’s photo we can help!

However, please be careful not to damage the surface of your negatives as this could deteriorate the film. Instead, be gentle and start by cleaning with a compressed air duster prior to employing any other cleaning method. (However, keep in mind that some users face condensation issues with air dusters.) To cut a long tale short, by using this technique, your scans with reduce the need for digital dust and scratch removal.

Negative film shows signs of deterioration due to scratches and dust
Photo restoration loupe magnifier, item to perform an old photo damage assessment

3. Know your Dpi’s

The greater the amount of Dots per inch (dpi), the more the detail your scanner will be able to capture, the only downside to this rule is the size of the output file, as more pixels per inch mean more Megabytes of information, specially when dealing with uncompressed formats as TIFF. 

A standard of 300 dpi is recommended when printing most photographs, however when we are talking about old photo restoration and specially when enlarging a photograph a higher density of pixels its absolutely necessary, have in mind that there is a limit on how much information is carried out by a negative, slide or print, specially when deteriorated by external factors

Epson-V850 pro flatbed scanner

4. But how to get a good quality scan using your home scanner?

Some home scanners will provided you with amazing features and can do a fair job, 

We usually recommend scanning at 600 to 1600 dpi at least and in colour (regardless if the source photo is in black and white) but it all depends of the purpose of the scan and your tech resources,

To identify the required resolution and what is appropriate for your project, you need to determine output physical size, desirable file size range, proximity to the viewer, printing material, or display resolution. (HD, Full HD, 4k) 

Have in mind that prints always require a higher resolution than a display and that reducing the resolution and size of a photo is much easier than increasing it.

You could be tempted to utilise low-resolution/fast settings while just scanning for social media. Despite the fact that this is practical if you want a photo right away, it is detrimental if you wish to preserve a family genealogy item. Instead, keep in mind that your scan today might be the heirloom of tomorrow.



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